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Paper: Bringing the Virtual Astronomical Observatory to the\newline Education Community
Volume: 457, Connecting People to Science
Page: 283
Authors: Lawton, B.; Eisenhamer, B.; Mattson, B. J.; Raddick, M. J.
Abstract: The Virtual Observatory (VO) is an international effort to bring a large-scale electronic integration of astronomy data, tools, and services to the global community. The Virtual Astronomical Observatory (VAO) is the U.S. NSF- and NASA-funded VO effort that seeks to put efficient astronomical tools in the hands of U.S. astronomers, students, educators, and public outreach leaders. These tools will make use of data collected by the multitude of ground- and space-based missions over the previous decades. The Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program for the VAO will be led by the Space Telescope Science Institute in collaboration with the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC) EPO program and Johns Hopkins University. VAO EPO efforts seek to bring technology, real-world astronomical data, and the story of the development and infrastructure of the VAO to the general public and education community. Our EPO efforts will be structured to provide uniform access to VAO information, enabling educational and research opportunities across multiple wavelengths and time-series data sets. The VAO team recognizes that the VO has already built many tools for EPO purposes, such as Microsoft's World Wide Telescope, SDSS Sky Server, Aladin, and a multitude of citizen-science tools available from Zooniverse. However, it is not enough to simply provide tools. Tools must meet the needs of the education community and address national education standards in order to be broadly utilized. To determine which tools the VAO will incorporate into the EPO program, needs assessments will be conducted with educators across the U.S.
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