Physics and Astronomy

ExtraSolar Systems
Objective Within the past 10 years, astronomers have discovered hundreds of planetary systems around other stars. Many of these extrasolar systems are quite different from ours. For example, gas giants like Jupiter have been discovered closer to their parent stars than Mercury is to the sun. In this event, your team will create a 2D scale model of an actual extrasolar system, and use your model and knowledge of our solar system to answer a few questions.
Purpose To learn about extrasolar planetary systems, and understand the scale of the universe.
Participants Teams of up to six. This event is an open to all students. It is a new event in 2009, celebrating the International Year of Astronomy.
Materials The Judges will supply: Tape Measures, Scissors, Pencils, Compasses, and Coloured Paper. You will be given a card in an envelope with the diameters of the star and its planets, the average distance of each planet from its star, and scales for your model. Your Team must supply: one nonprogrammable calculator.
  1. Each team will be given some space on a flat surface.
  2. All supplies will be in a plastic bag that is given to each team before the timer starts.
  3. An envelope containing extrasolar system data and questions to answer will be given to each team. It is not to be opened until the start of the competition.
  4. A team is considered finished when they have constructed their extrasolar system and answered all the questions.
Judging Each of the following two categories will be scored out of 10 points:
  1. Scale Model For a top score all sizes and positions of extrasolar system objects must be correct to within 0.5 cm.
  2. Questions Each question must be answered correctly with a good explanation to get full points.
The winner will be the team that has the best score based on the 20 point scale. In the event of a tie score the team with the fastest time will be declared the winner.
Source Sarah Gallagher, Department of Physics & Astronomy, The University of Western Ontario.

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