Sunset project: creation of computer and observational network for student educational research
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A pilot project is presented, aimed at creation of an educational network of astronomical observations performed by middle-school, high-school and university students at different geographical latitudes. Project participants are supposed to do their research studies in close link via Internet, to computer-process and compare their observational results contributing to the joint database, to exchange experience and ideas. In the observations, full time t is measured of the solar disc passage through the line of horizon at sunset. From the value of t, geographical latitude φ of the point of observation may be calculated. Observations need no equipment except for the timers measuring seconds, wrist watches will do. That allows to involve unlimited groups of students (middle or high school and university level) and to obtain a big array of experimental data in one observation. Then, statistical procession is performed, mean value of t is determined, observational errors estimated. Computer simulation and animational explanation of the Sun motion seen from the Earth are planned to be performed. Project homepage will be created and updated regularly. Links with the existing educational Internet sites will be established.