Solar Week - Ask a Question

During solar week you can post questions here for our scientists to answer.
   You do not need to register or sign in to post questions,
   just click on one of the forums below and click "Write a New Post".

   You may want to Meet the scientists who will be answering your questions.
   Check out our new blog and FAQs.


Last post Fri, Oct 12 2007 11:09 AM by Igor Ruderman. 0 replies.
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  • Fri, Oct 12 2007 11:09 AM


    Locked Reply Contact



    How do I ask a good question?


    Here are some ideas on asking a good question:


    ·      TEACHERS, we encourage you to help your students come up with a couple of GREAT class questions rather than a whole bunch of individual questions. Have a lively group discussion -- think of what you've learned from the daily lesson plans and activities. TAKE ONE OR TWO OF YOUR CLASS'S MOST INTERESTING QUESTIONS AND POST THOSE.

    ·      Try to make your question a little more interesting and a little bit different from others. Try to think up something that has not been answered before – OR ask something different on a topic that HAS been answered. For instance, don’t just ask  “How hot is the Sun?” Instead, ask “Are all parts of the Sun the same temperature?”

    ·      Ask questions with “who, what, where, when, how?”

    ·      Use your imagination.

    ·      Look over the message board and ask questions about explanations you didn’t totally understand, for example, “You said an eclipse happens when the moon covers the Sun, but how does the small moon cover the big Sun?”

    ·      Look over the website what questions have already been asked, and don’t ask the same question someone else already has.

    ·      Make sure to use a descriptive subject line. For example if you are posting  a question about the color of sunspots in the Sunspots forum a subject line of just "Sunspots" is not going to be descriptive enough, instead you might want to put down something like "Color of Sunspots".


    How come my question didn’t get answered?


    If your question is similar to one that has already been asked and answered, it may have been deleted or merged with someone else’s question that is very similar. We try not to have too many duplicate questions on the message board.


    The subject of your question may already be well-covered on the website. Go back through the lesson plans of Mon-Fri.


    Your answer may also already be easily available under Facts About the Sun.


    Why do the questions need to be moderated (approved) before it appears on the message board?


    We check your questions out before we let them be posted on the website. This is to stop people from putting up posts that don’t really relate to Solar Week.


    We also try to reduce the repetition on the message board.


    See also: How come my question didn’t get answered?


    Why does it take a while for scientists to answer my question?


    Sometimes that means you asked a really good, hard question! A question that will require a specialist’s answer, and we need to wait for a particular scientist to have time to address it.


    Most scientists are specialists in a certain area. The field of space science is so vast, a scientist can’t possibly keep up with everything in every part of science, so they pick a certain area that fascinates them in which to become an expert. It’s kind of like how some doctors are heart doctors or bone doctors, or how one mechanic is an expert on brakes and another an expert on transmissions. Like the human body, the Sun has different parts — which create different effects – for example, solar flares, space weather or auroras. A scientist may know a great deal about one part of the Sun, such as the latest research on the Corona, and less about the interior of the Sun. So, if your question is a challenging one, be patient and check back.


    Please remember - the scientists are visiting this board on a volunteer basis. They have busy lives full of research and work, and homes, families and other obligations. We’re happy they find the time to come here, because they want kids to be as excited about what they do as they are! They come to the message board as often as they can, but there may be a lag between when you write your question and how soon they can get to it.


    Why are the scientists all (except the special guests) female?


    Oh, you noticed! Do you think you would have noticed if all the scientists were male? Perhaps this could be a good topic for discussion. Well, the answer is, we want more girls to choose science as a major and perhaps even as a career. (We definitely want boys to do this too, but right now there are way fewer girls in science and engineering) and one way to encourage girls is to show them grownup girls (a.k.a., women) who are happy with what they do!


    For more on this topic, read the results of a survey done by the National Science Foundation,  Back to School: Five Myths About Girls and Science.

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