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A little help for presentation

  1. Mar 26, 2012 #1
    i have to give a detailed 15 min presentation on astronomy in general to special kids covering everything and i don't know what are the things that i should cover in it. i was thinking of starting with the big bang and then give them a history of astronomy and tell them about some interesting objects in the sky.
    please help me out.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 26, 2012 #2


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    A timeline of the evolution of the universe would probably be useful. It would give context to our place and time in the universe, and it's also an exciting journey to take people on.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  4. Mar 26, 2012 #3
    Perhaps considering what some of the most important take-away messages are, would be a good place to start?

    For example, if it was me, I'd think: 1) I want them to have a chance to marvel at the universe, and to be inspired by astronomy; 2) and also to learn some of the most basic aspects of the universe. Based on '1' i'd show them cool-looking stuff---maybe supernova remnants, deep-field galaxy clusters, etc; based on '2' I'd discuss basic things like the big-bang, dark matter & dark energy (and emphasize the differences!), hierarchical structure, etc etc.

    In my opinion, the most important thing is to share your passion.
  5. Mar 26, 2012 #4


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    In 15 minutes you can't cover too many topics or your audience won't be spellbound, so to me the history of astronomy sounds good, and emphasizing certain milestones that occurred over the ages. Perhaps you could mention and show some of the telescopes used such as Hubble and Mount Polomar in relation to what Galileo used for his observations.
  6. Mar 26, 2012 #5


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    Firstly, look at other basic astronomy presentations by famous and popular professional astronomers. You can get excellent ideas from their works. Select out and use the strong and interesting points they used. Also, an introductory astronomy textbook table of contents would give you an outline to follow.

    I would start the presentation with where we are now: our earth and then move outwards. Next, our satellite, the moon (and mention our man-made satellites). Next, the Solar System: the Sun, planets, and asteroids. Continuing outward, show our solar system’s position in our Galaxy, the Milky Way. Then galaxy clusters and voids.

    A few minutes on the history of astronomy from the ancients: Stonehenge, Mayans, through the Arabs (nearly every star name is Arabic), to the medieval astronomers would be appropriate. Explain what a constellation is and how the ancient people saw those figures in the heavens. Be sure to show sundials, the first astronomical instruments.

    Telescopes are the primary instruments of astronomers. Any introductory
    Astronomy presentation should include telescopes. Good idea suggested above, about Galileo and his telescope. Include gamma-ray, x-ray, optical, infrared, and radio telescopes (show the EM spectrum). Include the very large (~10Meter) and the Hubble Space-based telescope. Explain why many are located at high and dry places. Explain the idea of “lookback time”: how we are seeing further into the past as we look at more distant objects (light travel time). If you have access to a small telescope bring it along and set it up for viewing afterwards. You do not need nighttime stars to show how a telescope works.

    You did not mention the use of visual aids. Your presentation will be vastly better if you can project images of your subjects on a big screen. Your library may have slides for loan, or a University Astronomy department may have visual aid resources. Of course, you may pull images from the internet and project them from a laptop.

    You mentioned your audience will be “special kids”. Do not expect them to grasp stuff like the big bang, dark matter, and dark energy. Besides, those fall under the subject of Cosmology or Astrophysics, and not Astronomy. Organize your topics to fit within your 15 minute time limit and practice your delivery beforehand.

    Here are a few websites that may help with organizing your presentation:


    A look at our place in the Universe. An edited version, taken from the award winning TV series "Cosmos", by American Astronomer, Carl Sagan.

    Here we look at our place in the Universe, and find that we are in no way, the center of our Universe, ...we are not even the center of our own galaxy, the Milky Way;....nor our own solar system. 5:48 duration

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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