star colours

Astronomers often refer to the colour of a star, which seems a bit odd because we mostly see stars as white twinkly objects.  However, even with the naked eye, we can look closely at certain stars and detect a hint of colour – just look at this image of the Orion constellation.  As we view him, the left shoulder has a red coloured star, while the right shoulder and right foot appear to be blue.


image: Orion 3008 huge.jpg, Wikipedia

Now click on the image to see the same view at much higher resolution.  In the hi-res photo, look at the stars in the background.  They’re not all white!

What can the colour of a star tell us?

Read more

what to do if the website is busy

You might have noticed that the server has struggled to cope with so many people trying to view the resources as the Physics exams approach.

If you can’t get in, you can still access some of the video files and PDF notes through iTunes.

There are iTunes podcasts set up for Advanced Higher, Higher and National 5 Physics.  Those of you sitting National 5 might also find useful resources in the old Standard Grade and Intermediate 2 podcasts.

Advanced Higher podcast

Higher podcast – includes some past papers

National 5 podcast – includes specimen question paper and the 2014 exam, plus marking instructions

Standard Grade podcast

Intermediate 2 podcast

Subscribe to the appropriate podcast and download the pdf/mp3/mp4 files.  I’ve run some tests and this seems to work even when though the site won’t let you in.

viewing the solar eclipse

We spoke about the eclipse in class today.  It’s really important that you follow advice for watching the eclipse safely to avoid permanent damage to your eyes.

You can buy eclipse viewing glasses online.  They look like this


and only cost a few pounds per pair.  Make sure any glasses you buy have the CE mark on them.

Here is one UK retailer of eclipse viewing glasses who still has them in stock.

Although we’re not in the totality (100%) zone, Thurso is well placed to get a good view.  Here is a simulation for Orkney, our view will be very similar.  Click on the picture to start to animation.