Carbon Stars PTOE

Go outside tonight and look up at the stars. Notice the colors of the stars. Not all of them glow in a yellow color, they can also be red, blue or green. Look closely…..do you see any red ones? Stars that are extremely red in color are known as Carbon Stars. Carbon stars contain more carbon than oxygen in their atmosphere; the carbon and oxygen mix together and make carbon dioxide which causes the red glow.

Making Carbon Dioxide Stars

Here is a fizzy, fun experiment involving carbon dioxide. Imagine it’s a Carbon Star…….

Whatcha need: cooking oil, water, glass jar, food coloing, and effervescent tablets

Fill your jar half way with oil.

Add an almost equal amount of water, but you don’t want to fill the jar to the top or a huge mess will occur. Watch the water settle to the bottom of the jar.


Add 4-6 drops of food coloring. Watch the color float to the bottom of the oil, then break through the oil and sink to the bottom of the jar through the water.

Now for the coolest part, the part that puts the fizz (carbon dioxide) into the fun, drop an effervescent tablet into the jar and watch the carbon dioxide do some magical things……….


Originally, I wanted to show you photos of the red jar to represent the Carbon Star, but the blue photos turned out so cool! Oh, and by the way, this is also a great color mixing experiment! Check out more fun PTOE activites by having a look at the sidebar.

13 responses to “Carbon Stars PTOE”

  1. dottyspots

    What a brilliant idea!

  2. The Magic Onions

    Hi Lisa, what a fun way you teach science! I wish you had been my teacher… I would have aced it. Thanks for sharing as I will teach K this your way… how could you not LOVE science taught in this way!
    I have sorted out the link on my ‘wool tree’ blog and you’ll be able to see how our ‘wool tree’ turned out… 4 weeks on and it still looks LOVELY outside next to our deck. A little less wool from before, but that’s the point, hey… now we know who’s been using it!

  3. Mom and Kiddo

    Excellent. I am definitely doing this with my son. Anything that fizzes is a big hit with him.

  4. jane

    Hey Lisa-Have you tried Mentos in Coca- Cola? …

  5. Mariah@ Playful Learning

    I am so happy to have just discovered your blog! I am looking forward to coming back often…

  6. Such Lovely Freckles

    I love experiments with oil. And this one looks like a blast. Will do it.

  7. Melissa

    I love this– even my 2 yr old would be able to get something from this!

  8. Amber

    Oh that is brilliant. Days look so fun at your house…xx

  9. Sam

    This is fabulous! I can’t wait to do it with my kids. You have wonderful ideas, I’m so glad I found you.

  10. Maggie

    Ooo! My son loves mixing up mad scientist stuff and would love this. If you have an Italian market or import store nearby they sometimes sell bicarbonate fizzies to add to water that don’t have asprin in them. They would be great in this.

  11. Lisa

    It sure is a big hit with kids! It is mesmorizing to watch!

  12. Jane

    This is one of my favorite experiments to do with kids. We did it for a mad scientist birthday party and it was a big hit!

  13. Tara

    That is fun and fizzy!!

    The colors are so cool…