AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 96 Astronomy Education: K-12
Poster, Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

Previous   |   Session 96   |   Next

[96.15] Astronomy Science Fair Projects

J. Pittichová, M-A. Kadooka, K. J. Meech (IfA, Hawaii)

``Extrasolar Planet Transit", ``Lightcurve of a Variable Star", and ``Retrograde Motion of Mars" are some of the titles of high school students' projects entered in the Hawaii State Science Fair. TOPS (Toward Other Planetary Systems) teachers who participated in the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy summer outreach program under the direction of professor Karen J. Meech mentored their students. After attending the 3-week National Science Foundation Institute for several summers since 1999, these teachers in the summer of 2003 were trained to do observing plans to obtain images from telescopes, use image processing software MIRA for photometry, and produce light curves of variable stars and extrasolar planet transits. Others used the software ``Astrometrica" to do astrometry of Kuiper Belt Objects.

Using Compaq laptop computers on long term loan, our teachers mentored students for astronomy projects during the 2003-2004 school year. These students made observing plans for images from the 31inch Lowell Telescope in Arizona and/or from the 2.2m University of Hawaii Telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory. Learning about filters, exposure time, magnitude, frequency of taking CCD images, and ephemeris required many iterations between students, teachers, and astronomers and graduate students who were assisting. Poor weather conditions and other frustrations exposed the students to the realities of research. However, they were rewarded with projects that impressed the judges and that will be described.

Previous   |   Session 96   |   Next

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 5
© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.