Sun Shadows project: instruction video clip

Watch the short instruction video of the Sun Shadows project made by Koen at the Princess Elisabeth station. It is in Dutch, but don’t worry! We've provided a translation here:


Hi, I am Koen Meirlaen. I’m a teacher and our school won the International Polar Foundation Polar Quest competition. I am in Antarctica to report back to schools on the research being carried out here at the Princess Elisabeth station.

I am doing some research, including this Sun Shadows experiment. By measuring shadows at different times we can learn more about the Earth’s rotation. Would you like to do it?

First, have a look at the EducaPoles website, where you can find information about the project and other cool activities.

Now let’s go and set up the experiment.

Let’s have a look – we need a flat area. It looks good over there.

Experimental set-up

Behind me you can see the Princess Elisabeth Station.

Now we are going to start the Sun Shadows experiment.

I have several poles and flags to define our work area. I have an ice drill to make a hole in the ice and a tape measure to check that the stick protrudes 1 m above the ice.

We need a flat area so that we get a straight shadow – let’s have a look. It’s flat here.

It is important that the stick protrudes exactly 1 m above the surface. When you do this at home or at school, measure it just to check.  

An Italian teacher in Antarctica is also doing this experiment and so are many schools around the world.

We want everyone to do it the same way to make the data comparable.

You can do this at home in your garden, in a park or on the school field or playground.

Sun Shadow Measurement

I am now going to measure how long the shadow is: measure from the bottom of the stick to the end of the shadow. This measures 2 meters 13 centimeters.

Note down the length, the exact time on your watch, the date and the location. If you have one, use a GPS to check the exact coordinates. Do this experiment several times, each time at solar noon, when the Sun is at its highest point.

If you want you can also do it at other times of the day for your interest. But always note all of the data down carefully. Good luck!

To know more about the Sun Shadows project

If you want to participate in the Sun Shadows project, have a look at the site of the Marine Coastal Information System, which contains all relevant information about the project in English.

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