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Paper: Astronomy from Home: Informal Learning with Robotic Telescopes
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 125
Authors: Cominsky, L.; Peticolas, L.; Bartolone, G. S. L.; Dussault, M.; Zellem, R.; Smith, D.; Squires, G.; Biferno, A.; Lestition, K.
Abstract: As part of the NASA's Universe of Learning (UoL) program, we have developed Astronomy from Home,, a new web site aimed at life-long astronomy learners and learners in informal education programs. The site includes a wealth of scientific background information on a subset of UoL's main scientific themes: History and Origin of the Universe, Other Solar Systems; Other Earths; and Life and Death of Stars, as well as a comprehensive section about Galaxies. In this brief summary paper, we highlight some of the hands-on web activities on the AfH website, including tutorials and the Exoplanet Finder game. This lively and informative game displays different light curves and asks learners to decide which represent exoplanet transits. We also highlight a hands-on activity that walks through the steps needed to extract the light curve of a variable star from imaging data recorded with small robotic telescopes. Users are encouraged to work through a differential photometry tutorial for a Type 1a supernova in the Discovery section of the website. This tutorial uses JS9-4L to measure the supernova's brightness in a series of images, leading to an additional activity displaying lightcurves and partial spectra for a collection of Type 1a supernovae. Users analyze these data to find a value for the Hubble Constant, which is then used to calculate an approximate age for the Universe. The AfH website also provides additional astronomical background and hands-on activities.
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