Lesson Plans

Meteor Monitor
Stephen Nicoletti
North Little Rock High School
North Little Rock, Arkansas

In this advanced physics and astronomy lesson, students measure sporadic meteor activity (SMA) with a laptop computer. Students construct dipole antennae, and build, test and wire a full-wave diode rectifier between the dipole antenna and the laptop. A voltage program measures voltage across the rectifier output to detect radio waves scattered off meteor trails. Students use a histograph to verify that they are measuring SMA. SMA is applied to mobile communications equipment, and the "meteor channel" is explained in terms of an ellipsoid. Students use their SMA data to calculate how many words per minute the meteor channel can support as a function of keying speed.

Download Meteor Monitor: meteor.pdf

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October 1, 1999   NSTA Home    Laptop Learning Challenge Home    Contact Us