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A life elsewhere for children

Although its “Exoplanètes” exhibition is aimed to a wide audience, the Natural History Museum of Geneva is also targeting children by offering them exhibition-related activities. As a partner of “exoplanets” the NCCR PlanetS is therefore organizing activities for children entitled “could we live elsewhere” every Wednesday afternoon in August and September.

A nine years old boy is changing the brightness of a "star" (bulb) to vary the temperature at the surface of the "planet" (temperature sensor). (Photo: zvg)

A nine year old boy is changing the brightness of a “star” (bulb) to vary the temperature at the surface of the “planet” (temperature sensor). (Photo: zvg)

As a first approach, the aim is to show children that a habitable zone exists around the stars. For this purpose, the museum built an apparatus made of a large dimmable lamp representing a star and a planet placed on a rail, enabling it to move away or closer to the “light star”. A thermometer placed on the planet measures the temperature, showing the influence of the distance and brightness of the star on the location of the habitable zone. This experiment demonstrates the children that the distance between a habitable planet and its star is not necessarily that of the Earth to the Sun.

To illustrate the diversity of habitable planets, a short movie will be screened, showing ten planets where life as we know it would be possible. Pictures of the planets in our own solar system are also displayed showing the diversity of objects that can be found on our doorstep and the adverse conditions which reign there, such as dust storms on Mars, winds of 2000 km/h on Neptune, Venus hell, Europa’s ices, volcanoes on Io, or oil rains on Titan. Other spectacular images are showing Saturn’s rings, Jupiter, Mercury, Pluto, etc. (pb)

http://www.ville-ge.ch/mhng/

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Categories: External Newsletter

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