“Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery” Site Support Notebook
Includes websites from the Space Telescope Science Institute, websites that allow you to look at the universe through your computer, websites about careers in astronomy, websites for students about astronomy, and websites related to television broadcasts.
1. NASA web portal for International Year of Astronomy, http://astronomy2009.nasa.gov/
2. “Amazing Space”
The Space Telescope Science Institute’s “Amazing Space” website uses the Hubble Space Telescope’s discoveries to inspire and educate about the wonders of our universe. Within the website are the following important activity/resource areas:
A. “For Educators and Developers” ( http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/eds/ ) contains teaching tools and astronomy basics for educators and program developers.
B. “For Everyone” ( http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/ ) contains a number of activity areas:
A monthly guide to the night sky.
“Capture the Cosmos” contains aconline adventures, downloadable pictures, games, Q and As, and other activities on topics such as the Hubble Space Telescope, black holes, the solar system, comets and asteroids, galaxies, stars, and the history of science.
This section contains a number of “online explorations” with interactive activities, teaching tips, homework help, and other resources on topics such as comets, galaxies, stars, black holes. Of particular interest to the International Year of Astronomy and “Visions of the Universe” are:
This area, “Telescopes from the Ground Up,” explores the history of telescopes, from Galileo to NASA’s great observatories. Includes online interactive activities covering all eras of the telescope, scientific background, teaching tips, diagrams, and images.
“Solar System Trading Cards” asks questions about astronomical images and awards trading cards to those who select the right answers.
“Galaxy Hunter: A Cosmic Photo Safari” explores galaxies found by the Hubble Space Telescope.
3. “Hubblesite,” (
Everything you need to know about the Hubble Space Telescope in a colorful, comprehensive and interactive website for all ages. The following areas are of particular interest:
http://hubblesite.org/gallery/ DO NOT MISS
Breathtaking images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, with a movie theatre, astronomy printshop, tours of the Hubble images, photos of the telescope itself, computer wallpaper, and other features.
Examines the science behind the beautiful images and what major discoveries have been made through the Hubble Space Telescope; includes and interactive exhibit and other image tours.
4. International Year of Astronomy Discovery Guides,
A discovery guide for every month featuring a theme for the month, a hands-on activity to explore the theme, and a featured celestial object and how to find it in the sky.
5. Take photos of celestial objects,
The MicroObservatory, created by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, is a network of robotic telescopes that users can control over the Internet to take their own images of celestial objects, free of charge. The site contains a special section for the International Year of Astronomy that allows users to take images of the objects Galileo saw, and describes what Galileo observed and what we know now.
Websites That Turn Your Computer into a Planetarium
World Wide Telescope, www.worldwidetelescope.org/Home.aspx
WorldWide Telescope (WWT) from Microsoft Research enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world. Experience narrated guided tours from astronomers and educators featuring interesting places in the sky. Can be used only with Windows.
Google Earth, http://earth.google.com/
You can now soar throughout the night sky using Google Earth, zooming in on astronomical objects at their precise location in the heavens. The Space Telescope Science Institute has developed a video with instructions for using Google Earth to view images from the Hubble Space Telescope at http://hubblesite.org/explore_astronomy/gsky/
A free space simulation that lets you explore the universe in three dimensions. Celestia runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.
Careers in Astronomy
American Astronomical Society, http://aas.org/education/careers.php
A downloadable pamphlet offering advice on preparing for careers in astronomy.
Curious about Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer, http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/careers.php
This website is maintained by partcipating scientists at Cornell University.
Frequently Asked Questions about Being an Astronomer, www.noao.edu/education/astfaq.html
Answered by staff members of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories
A Guide Book to Astronomy, www.astronomycafe.net/guide/guide.html
NASA astronomer Dr. Sten Odenwald describes how he came to astronomy as a career, and provides interviews with other astronomers. He also answers questions about astronomy as a career at www.astronomycafe.net/qadir/acareer.html
General Astronomy Websites
Astronomy Magazine, www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx
Very nice interactive website with lots of informative features for all ages. Subscribers to the magazine have access to premium web features.
The Astronomy Café, www.astronomycafe.net/index.html
Termed “a website for the astronomically disadvantaged,” this site was created in 1995 by NASA Astronomer Dr. Sten Odenwald. Includes an “Ask the Astronomer” section with more than 2,000 questioned answered.
NASA Astronomy Club Partner Program—“The Space Place,” http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/en/educators/astronomy_club_intro.shtml
Astronomy Clubs throughout the United States and beyond are invited to partner with The Space Place to bring news of specific NASA projects to their members and to help spread the excitement of space and Earth science, as well as the technology that advances the science.
NASA Solar System Ambassadors Program, http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/index.html
The Solar System Ambassadors Program is a public outreach program designed to work with motivated volunteers across the nation. These volunteers communicate the excitement of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s space exploration missions and information about recent discoveries to people in their local communities.
Night Sky Newwork, http://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm
Helps astronomy clubs bring the wonders of the universe to the public. Much information about International Year of Astronomy activities.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Education Gateway for Amateur Astronomers, http://education.jpl.nasa.gov/amateurastronomy/index.html
Features monthy video podcasts and monthly updates about
The Discovery Channel Space Website, http://dsc.discovery.com/space/index.html
Videos, news, quizzes, lists, and links to other websites.
Links to the websites of planetariums around the world.
Websites Related to Television Presentations
Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens,
Presented in 2002 on PBS contains a library resource kit, teacher’s guide, and bibliographies and webographies at www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/galileo/media/lrk_bibliography.pdf
Other Websites for Teachers and Students about Astronomy
The Universe in the Classroom is an electronic educational newsletter available free for teachers and other educators who want to help students of all ages learn more about the wonders of the universe through astronomy. Available in English, Spanish and French.
This website for educators lists coast to coast NASA-related astronomy activities suitable for children on a variety of topics. Organized from K through higher education and informal education. Includes activities specifically for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
NASA Learning Center for Young Astronomers. Contains lesson plans for teachers in the Teacher’s Center: http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/teachers/teachers.html
Astronomy for children, students, and kids of all ages. KidsAstronomy.com, part of the KidsKnowIt Network, is the free astronomy resource designed to teach children about the exciting world of outer space.
Ask an Astronomer for kids.
“In the Footsteps of Galileo: Observing the Moons of Jupiter” is a Powerpoint slide show describing an astronomy activity for the International Year of Astronomy. Any group can do this activity together. This write-up offers choices for flexible presentation to a variety of groups. Teachers and group leaders without astronomy knowledge can successfully follow them. The rest of the material is background material and ideas for extending the activity and adapting it for different groups. The activity has been done successfully with mixed age groups and groups grade three through adult. These are some of the groups who should try this activity: school classes, after-school groups, families, home-school groups, scouting groups, and any other group that wants an authentic science learning experience.