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Tracking the Summer Solstice

Try this small experiment to observe how the Sun reaches a higher point in the sky as the summer solstice approaches. Just follow these steps:

1. Starting today at 12 noon*, measure the length of a shadow cast by a fixed object (like a flagpole).
2. At noon tomorrow, measure the same shadow again.
3. Continue to measure the shadow each day at noon (weather and weekend interruptions are okay) for a couple of weeks.
4. Are your measurements the same each day or do they differ?
5. If the shadow is shorter each day, does that mean that the Sun is higher in the sky or lower?

*Be sure to make your measurements carefully at the same time each day. 12 noon is best, but other times will work.

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    Planet Mars

    Planet Mars

    by Ann O. Squire

    As one of our closest neighbors in the solar system, Mars has long fascinated people who are interested in space exploration. Readers will find out how we have used advanced technology to explore the surface of Mars and why some scientists think they might one day discover life on the fourth planet from the sun. They will also learn what it is like on Mars’ surface and why scientists are paying such close attention to the planet’s moons.

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    Planet Neptune

    Planet Neptune

    by Ann O. Squire

    Visible through a strong pair of binoculars, Neptune is one of the few planets that is easily seen from the surface of Earth. Readers will discover what it would be like to visit the surface of Neptune and how scientists are working to learn more about this icy planet. They will also discover how the planet was discovered and why its moons and rings are so interesting to scientists.

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