Atmospheric Science – Part 3 – Solar Science

It has become a bit of a tradition for us to open the school year with a solar bag experiment.

Unfurling the Solar Bag

 

The solar bag is rather like a very thin black garbage bag only much much longer.

Solar Bag Filled

 

Once the bag is filled we tie it off and add a string.

DSC_3474

 

Then we wait a few minutes for the air in the bag to heat up.  This year we had a nice conversation about radiant energy and convection while we waited.  We were also careful to observe that we could visibly see the bag had expanded.

Solar Bag in Flight

Eventually the bag was floating high in the sky.

You might notice a lot of clouds in the pictures.  The clouds caused a lot of rise and fall of the solar bag.  In past years, we have done the experiment on clear sunny mornings.  Clear sunny days are certainly best for having the bag flying for a long time, but the cloudy day really illustrated the importance of radiant energy from the sun.

We sourced our bag from Steve Spangler Science. (not an affiliate link)  If you choose to do this experiment make sure to choose a large grassy field and bring along transparent tape and scissors.

Hope you are having a great school year!

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