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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Astrophysics Science Division | Sciences and Exploration

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Shadow Measurements for Schenectady High School

Schenectady Earth Science Flag Dr. Eric Christian of NASA GSFC is in Antarctica for the launch of the balloon-borne instrument, TIGER. These are measurements of the shadow length for a flag that sticks 1.00 meters above the snow.

The accuracy of these measurements is hampered by a couple of things. The edge of the shadow can probably only be determined to about 0.5 cm. Small scale irregularities in the snow surface also might add 0.5 cm of error. Large scale sloping of the ground could affect the overall measurement. The time of measurement is probably within about 3 minutes, although the Nov. 22, 0800 measurement may have been as late as 0812 because of set up problems.

The pictures were really hard to take, because I had to line them up somewhat blind, since neither the optical or digital viewfinders were much good with the sun in the image. And I still haven't found a level place in McMurdo that I can take evening and nighttime measurements from.

Date & Time
Shadow Length
November 22, 2001, 0800 272.1 cm
November 22, 2001, 0900 240.0 cm Shadow Nov 22 0900
November 22, 2001, 1000 208.7 cm Shadow Nov 22 1000
November 22, 2001, 1100 190.8 cm Shadow Nov 22 1100
November 22, 2001, 1300 166.5 cm Shadow Nov 22 1300
November 22, 2001, 1400 163.7 cm
November 22, 2001, 1500 164.7 cm
November 22, 2001, 1600 173.4 cm

Photo of Dr. Christian

Dr. Eric R. Christian
Eric's Featured Scientist Profile
This page was last modified on December 19, 2002