Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lots of Astronomy Sites and Activities

Is your student interested in astronomy?


One place to start: the UW Astronomy Department's Astronomical Links for Everyone.

Stardate "is the public education and outreach arm of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. Our radio program airs daily on almost 300 stations. And our popular bimonthly astronomy magazine is the perfect skywatching companion for anyone interested in astronomical events and space exploration. We also offer astronomy resources to teachers, the media, and the public." Check out the Classroom Activities page.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech has a page for the Spitzer Space Telescope. There are lots of images, animations, and videos. I think it's cool that they have a page of models. Two are paper models: you print out the PDFs then follow the instructions to cut and assemble the models of a space telescope and a rocket. There are also instructions to make a model of the space telescope out of LEGO!

Hubblesite's Explore Astronomy page has a lot of interesting content. It's from the NASA team that created and manages the Hubble Space Telescope.

Amazing Space, "uses the Hubble Space Telescope's discoveries to inspire and educate about the wonders of our universe." The Homework Help page asks kids if they want to:
  • Answer a question?
  • Dig up a definition?
  • Find resources for a project?
  • Write a story?
  • Get the latest scoop on space?
  • Earn extra-credit points?
  • Shed light on another subject?
  • Compare cosmic objects?
  • Study for a test?
  • Debate an idea?
  • Build a model?
. . . And then links to sections that will help them with those tasks.

Tonight's Sky has a movie telling you what constellations to watch for (in the Northern Hemisphere) each month.

Cornell hosts Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer which has information and podcasts.

Activities in Seattle

Astronomy events at the UW
  • The Theodor Jacobson Observatory has free talks on the first and third Wednesdays of the month April-October. If the sky is clear, they open up the roof and let visitors look through the old telescope.
  • The UW Planetarium welcomes "school groups studying astronomy, public groups (astronomy clubs, scouts, etc), and on-campus groups to visit the planetarium on Fridays during the regular University school year."
  • Anyone can go see the sundial on the wall of the UW's Physics Astronomy Building. Learn about it here

The Seattle Sundial Trail has a map and directions to help you visit other sundials here. It also has pictures and explanations of how they work. Like sundials? See the North American Sundial Society site. The Sundial Atlas has different styles of paper sundials, customized to your location. You plug in some information and a program draws a PDF that you then print. Making and comparing a few different sundials could be a good summer project.

Seattle Astronomical Society

The Seattle Astronomical Society hosts public star parties. Members set up their telescopes in a park and anyone who comes can look through them and learn a little about what they're seeing, There's a site at Green Lake and one in Shoreline (Paramount Park, NE 158th and 8th NE). They happen about once a month, weather permitting. The next one is Saturday, May 18.


The American Astronomical Society has a page about Careers in Astronomy. Other pages about careers:

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