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J. Thieman (NASA GSFC), L. Mayo (Raytheon)
The ability to observe celestial objects remotely is making a major impact into classroom access to astronomical instrumentation previously impossible to encorporate into curriculum. Two programs, Radio Jove and Telescopes In Education have made important contributions in this field.
Radio JOVE is an interactive, hands-on, educational activity for learning the scientific method through the medium of radio observations of Jupiter, the Sun, and the galactic radio background. Students build radio receivers from relatively inexpensive non-profit kits (about $125 plus shipping) and use them to record data, analyze the data, and share the results with others. Alternatively, for no cost, the students can record and analyze data from remote radio receivers connected to the web. The projects are useful adjuncts to activities in optical observing since students should recognize that we learn about the universe through more than just the optical spectrum. The projects are mini-electronics courses and also teach about charged particles and magnetic fields. The Radio JOVE web site (http://radiojove.gsfc.nasa.gov) should be consulted for further information.
The NASA-sponsored Telescopes In Education (TIE) network (http://tie.jpl.nasa.gov) has been wildly successful in engaging the K-12 education community in real-time, hands-on, interactive astronomy activities. Hundreds of schools in the US, Australia, Canada, England, and Japan have participated in the TIE program, remotely controlling the 24-inch telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory from their classrooms. In recent years, several (approximately 20 to date) other telescopes have been, or are in the process of being, outfitted for remote use as TIE affiliates. These telescopesare integrated seamlessly into one virtual observatory providing the services required to operate this facility, including a scheduling service, tools for data manipulation, an online proposal review environment, an online "Virtual TIE Student Ap J" for publication of results, and access to related educational materials provided by the TIE community.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.