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J. R. Thieman (NASA/GSFC), C. A. Higgins (Penn State Univ)
Radio Jove is a relatively new educational project to involve secondary school students in collecting and analyzing observations of the natural radio emissions of the planet Jupiter and the Sun. Participating students get hands-on experience in gathering and working with space science data. They obtain the data by either building a radio receiver and antenna and making observations with their equipment, or by remotely using professional radio telescopes through the web. They can then compare their results with other schools who had also observed and come to conclusions concerning the nature of the radio sources and how the radio waves propagate to Earth. Thus, they fully follow the method of scientific inquiry used by radio astronomers to study our solar system. (National Science Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry) More than 200 kits have been distributed thus far to schools and individuals as a result of the project.
With the coming Cassini flyby of Jupiter we will be advocating a campaign in which many of the schools involved in the project will be observing at times of scientific interest. While Galileo and Cassini are monitoring Jovian radio emissions at lower frequencies, the schools will be observing at frequencies of 20.1 MHz (kit-based observations) or the frequencies available through the professional radio telescopes connected on-line. The aim will be to get a thorough picture of the levels of activity at Jupiter during the flyby period and how the radio signals are received at different observing stations around the world. An archive of observations submitted by the schools will be maintained at Goddard Space Flight Center and there will also be an archive of the professional telescopes data at the University of Florida. We hope that many students will have the feeling of being a part of the planetary exploration program as a result.
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