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B High school Astro Club

  1. Sep 1, 2018 #1
    I teach high school astronomy. I am in my second of teaching. My bachelors is in physics and astronomy.

    i was presented with the idea of starting an astro club, but I don't know what I would do with it. The only reason It was brought up is because there is a NASA test facility near here, and I would like to take a select group of students.

    i feel as if most of the community here is more oriented towards college level studies but i figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. what would i do with an astronomy club in a high school in the middle of a large city?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2018 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    You could introduce them to the field:
    - types of telescopes
    - history of astronomy
    - the Antikythera device and how it works
    - how Polynesian navigation , western navigation...
    - how amateurs have helped the field
    - how professional astronomers really work (ie they don't go stargazing at night)
    - how the satellite scopes are used, what they have discovered
    - how the ground-based scopes are used
    - the difficulty of finding jobs for astronomy majors (1 in 10 find jobs in astronomy - I think)
    - Radio telescopes (Arecibo, China's new radio telescope)
    - the light spectrums like radio waves, visible light, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray, gamma ray...)
    - LIGO for gravitational waves (note there are gravitational waves and gravity waves they are not the same)


    - Sloan Digital Sky Survey https://www.sdss.org/

    - multi-messenger astronomy and how the coordination works

    - use of AI in astronomical image analysis and signals analysis (eg identification of Einstein rings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein_ring )

    - there are some other experiments like LIGO: LISA and LUX and the neutrino detectors used as rt of the multi-messenger astronomy discipline



    Other things for the students to do to share in teaching themselves:
    - Do some star parties. Do a fund raiser for your group or for a charity. (Always a good move to get your school some free publicity giving back to the community)
    - do a science fair to show the lower grades in middle school and elementary school
    - start a youtube channel with your students
    - Compile a list of books, youtube channels and other internet resources.
    - Check out shows like PBS Nova for astronomy and physics programs
    - Have each student pick a favorite astronomical area of space (by constellation) and get real familiar with whats there.
    - Get some phone apps to help identify things in the sky.
    - Play some games like jeopardy with astronomy based questions have the students come up with the questions with the reast of the school

    Do some computer simulations of galaxies, orbital mechanics, using Freemat, Matlab, Julia, Python, Open Source Physics Java collection (has a simple galactic simulation example) or do a combination of these. Data Science as applied to Astronomy.

    I could go on but my fingers are tired...
  4. Sep 14, 2018 #3
    awesome! thank you. you've given me a few ideas. a problem i'm encountering is that i go pretty in-depth in class. i worked for the department of astronomy for about three years while i was in college so my high school astro class is more like an ap astro class. dont tell my students though. i didnt want a club to feel like a another period of class. but thanks. youve given me some stuff to think about.
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