Astronomy Education Programs

Astronomy Education Programs

Click on a topic for more information:

The Moon
Planets
Size and Scale in the Solar System
Stellar Classification
Radio Astronomy
Heliophysics
Astronomy Careers


The Moon – Starting with a model we observe the daily and annual motions of the Earth and the monthly orbit of the Moon. We count the days between successive appearances of full or new moons.  We investigate the beautiful phases of the moon to understand the motions of the moon and our view of it from down here on the planet earth.


Planets – There are eight planets in the solar system.  What are their characteristics and how do they move around the sun?  We will do a survey of the planets in our solar system to find out not only how the move and what they are like but, more importantly, where and when to look for them in the current night sky.

Size and Scale in the Solar System – It’s hard to imagine just how big the planet Jupiter is, much less the Sun itself.  And, when we throw in all those figures about how far away the planets are, it becomes a real challenge to the mind.  We can use a model to get an idea of the answers to these questions.  Each participant will make a model of the distances to the planets that they can take home with them.

Stellar Classification – The different colors of stars help us know they come in a wide variety of sizes, masses and, most importantly, temperatures.  Astronomers use these characteristics to put them into various categories or classifications based upon the lines found in the spectra of these stars.  In this program we will explore this sophisticated means of studying stars.  What is the difference between a red supergiant star and a red dwarf star?  Students can explore these questions using actual spectra of stars.


Radio Astronomy – Astronomers can study radio waves to learn about the nature and the energy processes for certain objects in space. Earth’s atmosphere and ionosphere allows some frequencies of radio waves through.  In this program we use radio telescopes to study objects in the celestial sphere.  By calculating Doppler Shift from actual data, students can determine how neutral hydrogen is moving in space.


Heliophysics – Have you ever wondered how our sun works?  We will do activities that help explain how the Sun, Earth and Moon system works.  Activities can include investigating the electromagnetic spectrum, the impact of the Sun’s activity on Earth and seasonal change due to earth’s orbit around the Sun.

Astronomy Careers – Want to be an astronomer?  Astronomers choose among a wide variety of objects to study, problems to solve and questions to answer.  They may work in an observatory of run a telescope from a computer elsewhere.  Maybe they gather all of their data using satellites and space probes.  And some astronomers even get to go into space.  We will explore the variety of options open to astronomers for careers.  In doing so, we will look at the education they will need to prepare them of careers in the field.