day and night light & temperature

What time does it get light in the morning? When does it get dark? Is the central heating working? I just had to know, so I took my data logging equipment and started to find out.

What I did

I put a light sensor and a temperature sensor outside a window. These measure the light level and temperature. I put another temperature sensor indoors. I connected the three sensors to a data logger and got it to start recording at midnight. For nearly two days and nights, about 43 hours, the data logger took readings from the sensors. The results are shown on the graph below.

Get my results

The graph shows the readings of two sensors measuring temperature and the light level. Remember that the graph starts at midnight. You will find some of the questions easier if you put these results into your data logging software. Click here to get the data, then import it in your data logging program.

Look at the results

  • There were three sensors – which colour graph line shows the outside temperature, which shows the inside temperature and which shows the light level?Is the heating switching on? Does it switch on before or after day light appears?
  • Do you think the heating is ‘on’ for too long? Is it coming on too early and going off too late? Study the graphs and make some suggestions.
  • Look at the graph of the light level. Why do you think the trace ‘wobbles’ as it does?
  • Which day was warmer and sunnier?
  • At what time of day is the light level greatest? Is this what you might expect?
  • Guess or use your data logging software to work out:
    • What time it gets light in the morning. What time it gets dark.How long is it between when it gets light on the first morning, and when it gets light on the second morning.How long ‘daylight’ lasts for. Apart from the fact that the heating was on, can you say why you think this experiment was done in the winter?
  • Experiment in your own house: How long does it take for the central heating boiler to warm up the house? How long does it take for the house to cool down? Compare the temperatures in the house, near the boiler and outside over a day or so. What will affect your results? For a similar idea see XXXX

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