Measuring Star Apparent Brightness – SCOPES-DF

Lesson Details

Age Ranges

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DFRobot Edu
DFRobot Edu
Informal educator


When you look up at the night sky, have you ever wondered why some stars are brighter than others? This lesson will teach you how to build a scaled model and visualize the data to understand the relation between brightness(magnitude), distance and luminosity.

Astronomers define star brightness in terms of apparent Magnitude, which depends on:

– Luminosity: how bright it is physically.

– Distance: how far away it is from the earth.

Video reference :

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What You'll Need

1 Wide Cardboard Box

1 Cardboard Sheet

1 Straw 

1 Bottle Cap

2 Wires

1 Arduino Uno with Extension Shield 

1 Ultrasonic Sensor

1 Ambient Light Sensor


220Ω Resisitor 

The Instructions

Build the Model

In this model, a LED represents an individual "Star", the brightness and position can be varied. On the "Earth" side, there is an ambient light sensor to get the light intensity, and an ultrasonic sensor to detect the distance. The model connects to a microcontroller then visualize the data in Mind+.


Make the Base:


Make the Slider and Fix the Sensors: