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December 3-5

Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement

ASP2020: A Virtual Conference

ASP2020: A Virtual Conference
Preliminary Schedule

Click here for the Schedule-at-a-Glance
Astronomy from Home: Informal Learning with Robotic Telescopes
As part of the NASA's Universe of Learning (UoL) program, we have developed Astronomy from Home,, a new web site aimed at life-long astronomy learners and learners in informal education programs. The site includes a wealth of scientific background information on UoL's main scientific themes: History and Origin of the Universe, Other Solar Systems; Other Earths; and Life and Death of Stars, as well as a comprehensive section about Galaxies. In this workshop, we will highlight some of the hands-on web activities on the AfH website, including tutorials and the Exoplanet Finder game. This lively and informative game displays different light curves and asks learners to decide which represent exoplanet transits. We will also engage participants in a hands-on activity that walks through the steps needed to extract the light curves of a variable star from imaging data recorded with small robotic telescopes. Users will be encouraged to go to the AfH website and follow along through a differential photometry tutorial for a Type 1a supernova that uses JS9-4L to measure the supernova's brightness in a series of images. An additional activity displays lightcurves and partial spectra for a collection of Type 1a supernovae, and allows the learner to measure the peak brightnesses and redshifts for each. These data are then plotted and the slope of the best fit line is used to find a value for the Hubble Constant. The Hubble Constant is then used to calculate an approximate age for the Universe. If time permits, we will also walk through other sections of the AfH website that provide scientific background and additional hands-on activities.

This presentation is based on work supported by the NASA's Universe of Learning program under award number NNX16AC65A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Conference Strand: Public Engagement in Informal Settings