31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 7. Education and Public Outreach Posters
Poster Groups I and II, Monday-Friday, October 11, 1999, , Kursaal Center

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[7.04] The Astronomy Workshop

D.P. Hamilton, M.L. Asbury (U. Maryland)

The Astronomy Workshop (http://janus.astro.umd.edu) is an interactive online astronomy resource developed and maintained at the University of Maryland for use by students, educators and the general public. The Astronomy Workshop has been extensively tested and used successfully at many different levels, including High School and Junior High School science classes, University introductory astronomy courses, and University intermediate and advanced astronomy courses. Some topics currently covered in the Astronomy Workshop are:

Animated Orbits of Planets and Moons: The orbits of the nine planets and 63 known planetary satellites are shown in animated, to-scale drawings. The orbiting bodies move at their correct relative speeds about their parent, which is rendered as an attractive, to-scale gif image.

Solar System Collisions: This most popular of our applications shows what happens when an asteroid or comet with user-defined size and speed impacts a given planet. The program calculates many effects, including the country impacted (if Earth is the target), energy of explosion, crater size, and magnitude of the ``planetquake'' generated. It also displays a relevant image (e.g. terrestrial crater, lunar crater, etc.).

Scale of the Universe: Travel away from the Earth at a chosen speed and see how long it takes to reach other planets, stars and galaxies. This tool helps students visualize astronomical distances in an intuitive way.

Scientific Notation: Students are interactively guided through conversions between scientific notation and regular numbers.

Orbital Simulations: These tools allow the student to investigate different aspects of the three-body problem of celestial mechanics.

Astronomy Workshop Bulletin Board: Get innovative teaching ideas and read about in-class experiences with the Astronomy Workshop. Share your ideas with other educators by posting on the Bulletin Board.

Funding for the Astronomy Workshop is provided by NSF.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://janus.astro.umd.edu/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: hamilton@astro.umd.edu

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