AAS 202nd Meeting, May 2003
Session 10 Astronomy Education: Middle School to College
Poster, Monday, May 26, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, West Exhibit Hall

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[10.17] NASA’s Swift Education and Public Outreach Program

P. Plait, S. Silva, T. Graves, A. Simonnet, L. Cominsky (Sonoma State U.)

Few astronomical objects excite students more than big explosions and black holes. Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are both: powerful explosions that signal the births of black holes. NASA’s Swift satellite mission, set for launch in December 2003, will detect hundreds of black holes over its two-year nominal mission timeline. The NASA Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) group at Sonoma State University is leading the Swift E/PO effort, using the Swift mission to engage students in science and math learning. We have partnered with the Lawrence Hall of Science to create a “Great Explorations in Math and Science” guide entitled “Invisible Universe: from Radio Waves to Gamma Rays,” which uses GRBs to introduce students to the electromagnetic spectrum and the scale of energies in the Universe. Three to four segments about Swift are being broadcast each year to millions of middle-school children as part of “What’s In The News,” an educational television series based at Penn State University. We are also creating new standards-based activities for grades 9-12 using GRBs: one activity puts the students in the place of astronomers 20 years ago, trying to sort out various types of stellar explosions that create high-energy radiation. Another mimics the use of the Interplanetary Network to let students figure out the direction to a GRB. Post-launch materials will include magazine articles about Swift and GRBs, more formal educational activities, and additions to the Swift E/PO website (http://swift.sonoma.edu) that will excite and inspire students to learn more about space science.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://swift.sonoma.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: phil@universe.sonoma.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #3
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.