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This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals a small region inside the massive globular cluster Omega Centauri, which boasts nearly 10 million stars. This colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of the cluster is one of the... (View More) first images taken by the new Wide Field Camera 3. In the accompanying educational activity, In Search of ... Stellar Evolution, students investigate stellar evolution through a level 1 inquiry activity using the images and text from the lithograph and other resources. A level 1 inquiry activity can help prepare students to become independent thinkers. (View Less)
This is a DVD about asteroids and impacts in the solar system. Learners can watch a 7-minute video of the "lifetime" of a meteor. The narrated, subtitled program includes images of impact craters on planets and asteroids, visualizations of the... (View More) Asteroid Belt, animations of collisions between asteroids, an explanation of how collisions between asteroids can create fragments that reach Earth as a meteorite, visualizations of resonances in the asteroid belt, the perturbation of an asteroid fragment toward Earth, an explanation of how meteors that impact Earth might have obtained high and low impact velocities, and visualizations of the range of outcomes from impacts by meteors with different velocities and sizes. The goal is to provide engaging and scientifically accurate animations and images of impact processes in the solar system. The program is specifically designed to dispel commonly-held misconceptions and improve general understanding of solar system science among student's grades 5-12, as well as a broad lay audience. In addition to the 7-minute stand-alone video, the DVD also contains two interactives for Windows® and Macintosh® computers. The first interactive is a version of the above program that allows students and other users to view segments in any order through answering some of the most-commonly asked questions about asteroid impacts. The second interactive, "Make a Collision," allows users to simulate asteroid collisions, by selecting the parameters of collisions between asteroids and then seeing the results. The third interactive, "ImpactChallenge," provides additional experience with simulations Asteroid Belt impacts by giving users additional parameters that can be adjusted to make a wider variety of asteroid collisions. (View Less)
Students are introduced to the periodic table and the concept of atomic elements. The group discusses how all material in the Universe is composed of elements and that the atom is the smallest particle that still has the physical and chemical... (View More) properties of any given element. As an exercise in statistics, the students participate in a counting experiment in which they sample a 'Universe bead mix' (where each bead color represents a different element present in the Universe) to estimate the overall composition of the Universe. They compare their findings of the Universe's overall composition with the composition of various different objects in the Universe that are represented by mixtures of rice, beans and other dried goods in jars. Finally, students are introduced to the idea that hydrogen fusion creates heavier elements inside a star. This activity is part of a series that has been designed specifically for use with Girl Scouts, but the activities can be used in other settings. Most of the materials are inexpensive; however, some portions of the preparation can be time intensive. It is recommended that a leader with astronomy knowledge lead the activities, or at least be available to answer questions, whenever possible. (View Less)
Students are introduced to the scientific tool of spectroscopy. They each build a simple spectroscope to examine the light from different light sources, particularly the Sun (Warning: Do not look directly at the Sun) and artificial lights (e.g.,... (View More) fluorescent or sodium lamps). Students compare the continuous spectrum of incandescent lights and the solar spectrum with the clear spectral lines of the fluorescent or sodium room lights and discharge lamps. They learn how the spectral "fingerprints" of each particular element help astronomers recognize the presence of specific elements in distant astronomical objects. Students are also introduced to the broader electromagnetic spectrum beyond what is visible with our eyes and how scientists observe distant objects using multiple wavelength bands. This activity is part of a series that has been designed specifically for use with Girl Scouts, but the activities can be used in other settings. Most of the materials are inexpensive. (View Less)
Students are introduced to the basic properties, behavior and detection of black holes through a brief discussion of common conceptions and misconceptions of these exciting objects. They "act out" a way black holes might be detected through their... (View More) interaction with other objects. In this activity, girls represent binary star systems in pairs, walking slowly around one another in a darkened room with each pair holding loops of wire to simulate the gravitational interaction. Most of the students are wearing glow-in-the-dark headbands to simulate stars, some are without headbands to represent black holes, and a small set of the black holes have flashlights to simulate X-ray emission. This activity is part of a series that has been designed specifically for use with Girl Scouts, but the activities can be used in other settings. Most of the materials are inexpensive or easily found. It is recommended that a leader with astronomy knowledge lead the activities, or at least be available to answer questions, whenever possible. (View Less)
This is a graphic novel about NASA's search for life in the universe. It tells the story of some of the most important people and events that have shaped the NASA Exobiology and Astrobiology science.
This science news story explains the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope over the past two decades. The article describes the telescope, its many servicing missions, the public’s favorite images, the top science findings, and the man for whom the... (View More) telescope is named. Star Witness News is a series of articles, written for students, that are inspired by Hubble Space Telescope press releases. Supplemental education materials include background information, vocabulary, and discussion questions and answers. (View Less)
In this activity, learners replicate the scientific processes of observing, forming an explanation, revising and communicating about a model of a comet. Learners construct a model of features of a comet using an assortment of common craft supplies.... (View More) This activity relates to several NASA comet missions such as Deep Impact, Stardust, Stardust-NExT, and EPOXI and can be used to emulate a process that scientists and engineers follow on all missions. (View Less)
This is an online interactive about asteroid composition. Learners will explore how scientists learn about the composition of an asteroid by studying energy and neutrons that emanate from it. Includes audio (and transcription) explaining the diagram.
This newsletter is designed to share NASA mission discoveries about the planet Jupiter which includes information about the 2009 Impact, birth of red spot storms, observed color changes in its atmospheric bands, calculated wind speeds, strong... (View More) magnetic field-causing spectacular aurora and explanation of Jupiter's Gossamer Ring formation. (View Less)