All About Astronomy


 

Ever wanted to build a space suit or launch a rocket into the stratosphere? Celebrate Astronomy Week by exploring how astronauts, scientists, and rocketeers contribute to the field of astronomy, from discovering distant planets to studying solar space telescopes. Use these videos and lesson plans to encourage your students to become amateur astronomers.

  • QUEST Lab: Aerogel

    It looks like frozen smoke. And it's the lightest solid material on the planet. Aerogel insulates space suits, makes tennis rackets stronger and could be used one day to clean up oil spills. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist Alex Gash shows us some remarkable properties of this truly unique substance.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Amateur Rocketeers Reach For The Stars

    For decades amateur rocket builders, or "rocketeers," have been aiming their rockets towards space. Now with advances in materials and technology, they're actually able to get there. QUEST travels to rocket launches in fallowed fields and barren deserts to learn more about this addictive hobby and to meet a group of passionate high school rocketeers who are about to launch their rocket into the stratosphere!

    Grades: 6-12
  • Amateur Astronomers

    In this video from QUEST produced by KQED, students learn about what an amateur astronomer is and the role amateur astronomers play in the field of astronomy. Students also learn about how telescopes work.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Is There Life in Space?

    The High-Adventure Science Space Module contains five activities. In this module, you will explore the question, “Is there life in space?”

    In this module, you will discover how scientists find planets and other astronomical bodies through the wobble (also known as Doppler spectroscopy or radial-velocity) and transit methods. Then you will compare zones of habitability around different star types, discovering the zone of liquid water possibility around each star type. Finally, you will explore how scientists use spectroscopy to learn about atmospheres on distant planets. You will not be able to answer the question at the end of the module, but you will be able to explain how scientists find distant planets and moons and how they determine whether those astronomical bodies could be habitable

    Grades: 9-12
  • Solar Space Telescopes

    In this video from NOVA’s Sun Lab, explore how scientific understanding of the Sun and space weather has improved with data from three solar space telescopes: SOHO, STEREO, and SDO. Solar telescopes capture detailed images and information that scientists use to study both the interior and atmosphere of the Sun. For the first time, scientists can view the entire sun. Solar space telescopes are allowing scientists to develop a better understanding of space weather and how to forecast it. 

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Strange Stars | PBS Space Time

    What happens when matter can’t get any denser yet somehow does? The answer—it becomes strange. Strange Stars may be the most massive stellar remnant that is just shy of forming a black hole. And they could be even cooler than black holes.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Teaching from Space: Centripetal Force

    Watch a NASA astronaut on board the International Space Station demonstrate centripetal force by swirling a tethered tool around a cord, rotating a bag of tea to demonstrate that the air bubbles are pushed toward the center, and spinning a water droplet to show its deformation based on centripetal force. In this video from NASA's Teaching from Space program, learn more about the force that keeps the planets in orbit around the Sun, keeps the moon in orbit around the Earth, and keeps roller coasters secure as they loop and curl.
    Grades: 5-13+
  • Evolution of the Universe

    NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is helping scientists understand when and how early stars formed, what early galaxies looked like, and how the early universe shaped its underlying structure. The Webb Telescope allows us to see how the universe's "cosmic web" took shape over time.

    Grades: 9-12