AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 53. K-12 Astronomy Education and Public Outreach
Poster, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[53.01] Yes, High School Students Can Analyze Chandra Data

J.W. Keohane, C.R. Clearfield, C.M. Olbert (NCSSM)

For the past two years, high school students at the North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM) have worked with new and archival Chandra data, and have produced interesting scientific results. These results have included one refereed paper in the Ap.J., and about a dozen presentations at scientific meetings (including three at this meeting). The students were selected, based on interest, from the junior class at NCSSM, to stay on campus and work intensively for 2 to 4 weeks over the summer. Each team of students selected an object with public Chandra ACIS data, and were taught how to produce data products such as images and spectra, as well as conduct a literature search. In most cases, a paper had already been published using those data, and the students were usually able to reproduce the results. As the students waded through the literature, they would search for a theory to test or an interesting new phenomenon. Often the students would request an image in another wavelength to compare in detail to the Chandra data. After the summer, many students continued to work throughout the following fall semester, producing a paper for submission to the Siemens Westinghouse Science and Technology Competition by the beginning of October. In the process of conducting research, the students learn to apply many physics concepts, and learn valuable scientific research and writing skills. Those students that choose to continue with astrophysics can often dive directly into a high-level research project immediately when they arrive at college. These programs have been funded by NASA, through E/PO grants attached to parent research grants.

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

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