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2010-11 News

This page contains Stars at Yerkes News items from 2010. To find recent news, visit our News page. You can find 2011 News here.

Wilmington Students Share Data With Radio Astronomers

posted Aug 21, 2011, 1:22 PM by Margie Corp   [ updated Jul 18, 2012, 10:05 AM ]

May 2011 - Wilmington Middle School and Wilmington High School Students Travel to West Virginia University to Share Data With Other Students and Radio Astronomers

Stars at Yerkes teacher Sherry Shelley led a team of eighth graders and a team of high school students to West Virginia University to participate at Capstone.  Capstone is a three day event that is hosted by the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC) Project and funded by National Science Foundation and West Virginia University. 

Students have to qualify to attend Capstone by analyzing data from the Green Bank Radio Telescope searching for pulsars.
  The students analyze a series of graphs, called plots to determine if radio signals from our galaxy are coming from pulsars, radio interference from wireless devices, or noise from other objects in space.  Thirty plots are arrange in a set referred to as a “pointing.” 

The students have to analyze 50 pointings to qualify to attend Capstone.  They arrange their data in a scientific poster to take to Capstone.  At Capstone, the students discuss their findings with student teams from other states and radio astronomers. Afterwards, the students take a tour of the university and attend social activities. 

This was Wilmington's second year of student attendance at Capstone.  "It was so awesome to see my students soak up the experience of participating in real science research," said teacher mentor Sherry Shelley. She explained further, "They meet other students from other states such as West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, and Delaware. They discuss astrophysics with leading radio astronomers, Dr. Duncan Lorimer and Dr. Maura McLaughlin. But, the best part for me as a teacher, is to see my students discover how much fun learning can be. Even though the my two teams were tired at the end of the trip, they made arrangements to share their experience with the Wilmington School Board. How utterly awesome is that!

GHOU for Teachers at Yerkes Observatory

posted Jul 23, 2011, 3:09 PM by Marc Berthoud   [ updated Jul 18, 2012, 10:05 AM by Margie Corp ]

GHOU for Teachers at Yerkes Observatory

Monday July 26 - Wednesday July 28, 2011

Register Now!!!

We invite you to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from astronomers and educators from all around the globe, including your own backyard. 

The Yerkes Outreach Teachers are thrilled to welcome the Global Hands-On Universe Project to present workshops for teachers on Monday July 26th, Tuesday July 27th, and Wednesday, July 28th, 2011 at the historic Yerkes Observatory. Hands-On Universe (HOU) is an educational program that enables students to investigate the Universe while applying tools and concepts from science, math, and technology.  Global Hands-On Universe joins efforts from all around the world, allowing students and teachers to share their work and experiences. HOU and GHOU now offer greater than ever access to an increasing number of remote telescopes and image processing software.

Please make a donation of $25 for the workshop or $10/day, payable on the day that you attend.

For more information and registration, click here.

Click here for the agenda.          Click here for abstracts.

Click here for photos of the conference at the Global HOU Facebook page

What an outstanding and dedicated group of educators and leaders for astronomy education from around the world!

ARCS Teacher flies with SOFIA Telescope

posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:53 PM by Marc Berthoud   [ updated Jul 18, 2012, 10:09 AM by Margie Corp ]

June 2, 2011 - ARCS teacher Peggy Piper flew on NASA's new airborne observatory, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).  Teachers can fly with SOFIA as part of its Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program.  You can watch Peggy's video on YouTube under

Sign up for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy newsletter.

Keep up with the news about the teachers who will fly on SOFIA during the pilot phase of SOFIA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAA) during the summer of 2011. Watch for the application to fly with SOFIA in 2012. The now outdated application for summer 2011 is linked here, because it has a wonderful summary of the program.

Constellation Photography - Color and Variable Star Projects

posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:34 PM by Marc Berthoud   [ updated Jul 18, 2012, 10:17 AM by Margie Corp ]

Teachers see how their photos can document changes
May 14, 2011 - Presentations by ARCS teachers Richard DeCoster and Elizabeth Ramseyer, along with Professor Rich Kron, demonstrated how the combining of digital photography and astrometry found at could reveal patterns in variable stars, orbiting satellites, and identifying constellations.  Teachers attended the sessions in person, and via videoconferencing.  Vivian Hoette extended the learning using the variable star SS Cyg, and Josh Haislip from the University of North Carolina added his expertise with Skynet, Afterglow and the programs' light curve creation capabilities.

Click here to learn more and access sites for exploration.

Sharing the View of Galileo

posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:28 PM by Marc Berthoud   [ updated Jul 18, 2012, 10:18 AM by Margie Corp ]

Building teachers' knowledge of the universe by building telescopes
April 16, 2011 - At the latest Stars at Yerkes workshop, teachers developed a new construct of knowledge as they built telescopes, explored online image processing, and tried out hands-on student lessons using learning stations.  Josh Haislip from the University of North Carolina highlighted his work with Skynet and the automation of the Yerkes 41 inch telescope.

Click here for lessons and more information.

Constructing the Light Curve

posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:22 PM by Marc Berthoud   [ updated Jul 18, 2012, 10:19 AM by Margie Corp ]

Teachers Explore How Light Curves Uncover the Mysteries of Asteroids
March 19, 2011 - On a recent trip to the delightful dark skies of southeastern Illinois, Stars at Yerkes teachers were challenged to uncover the meaning of asteroid light data collected by the Astronomical Research Institute.  ARI Director Bob Holmes hosted and inspired the group, providing a tour of the facilities and providing access to a rich library of data on asteroids imaged at ARI.  Tyler Linder and Dr. Jim Conwell of Eastern Illinois University added to this wealth of information, teaching about how the data is analyzed by constructing light curves.  ARCS teacher Kathleen Roper organized the day to include a session on building devices to simulate asteroid motions, led by ARCS teacher Kevin McCarron.  

Click here to read more and access lessons.

Seeing the Unseen

posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:14 PM by Marc Berthoud   [ updated Jul 18, 2012, 10:19 AM by Margie Corp ]

How Studying Multi-wavelength Astronomy Can Reveal the Hidden Universe
February 19, 2011   -   Teachers were challenged to view their world in a new light at this month's Stars at Yerkes workshop.  ARCS teacher Kathy Schmidt organized a rich agenda of topics and expert presenters highlighting the SOFIA Project and building infrared filter adapters for simple digital cameras.  The day also included learning about how the radio frequencies of Earth help us find the distances to pulsars.  
Click here to learn more and access lessons and more.

Pluto - Blink and You Will See It

posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:12 PM by Marc Berthoud   [ updated Jul 18, 2012, 10:21 AM by Margie Corp ]

Dwarf and Minor Planets, Asteroids, Analysis, and Creating Pretty Pictures

January 22, 2011 - ARCS teacher Kevin McCarron leads the first Stars at Yerkes book discussion with the topic of the demise of Pluto as a planet and the discovery of dwarf and minor planets.  How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown was the featured selection discussed in the morning session of this workshop.  Afternoon topics included viewing Yerkes blink comparator and further development of the use of the Stone Edge Observatory. 

Click here for more details.

Happy New Year from Stars at Yerkes

posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:10 PM by Marc Berthoud   [ updated Jul 18, 2012, 10:22 AM by Margie Corp ]

Check out our calendar as we share our learning experiences with asteroid hunting, lunar exploration and other topics in astronomy with you.  Our 2010-2011 workshop schedule is posted under Teacher Workshops.  Please join us as we learn about the moon, stars, planets and more!

Building Technologies to Seek the Invisible

posted Jul 23, 2011, 2:07 PM by Marc Berthoud   [ updated Jan 4, 2012, 10:56 AM by Margie Corp ]

December 11, 2010  ARCS teacher Ed Sadler leads the discussion and construction of devices which detect invisible infrared light rays.  Adaptable for students of different abilities, these detectors help illustrate basic principles of optics. 

Click here to read more and access lesson details.

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