PARTNeR for Teaching and Learning Radio Astronomy Basics

Vaquerizo, Juan A. (2010) PARTNeR for Teaching and Learning Radio Astronomy Basics. In: CP1283, Mathematics and Astronomy: A Joint Long Journey, Proceedings of the International Conference.


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NASA has three satellite tracking stations around the world: CDSCC (Canberra, Australia), GDSCC (Goldstone, USA) and MDSCC (Madrid, Spain). One of the antennas located at MDSCC, DSS-61, is not used for satellite tracking any more and thanks to an agreement between INTA (Instituto Nacional de TÃl’cnica Aeroespacial) and NASA, it has been turned into an educational radio telescope. PARTNeR (Proyecto Académico con el RadioTelescopio de NASA en Robledo, Academic Project with the NASA Radio Telescope at Robledo) is a High School and University radio astronomy educational program that allows teachers and students to control this 34-meter radio telescope and conduct radio astronomical observations via the Internet. As radio astronomy is not a popular subject and astronomy has little presence in the High School Curriculum, teachers need specific training in those subjects to implement PARTNeR. Thus, High School teachers joining the project take a course to learn about the science of radio astronomy and how to use the antenna in their classrooms. Also, teachers are provided with some learning activities they can do with their students. These lesson plans are focused on the implementation of the project within an interdisciplinary framework. All educational resources are available on PARTNeR website1. PARTNeR is an inquiry based approach to science education. Nowadays, students can join in three different observational programmes: variability studies in quasars, studies of radio-bursts in X-ray binaries (microquasars), and mapping of radio sources in the galactic plane. Nevertheless, any other project can be held after an evaluation by the scientific committee. The operational phase of the project started in the academic year 2003-04. Since then, 85 High Schools, seven Universities and six societies of amateur astronomers have been involved in the project. During the 2004-09 period, 103 High School teachers from Spain and Portugal have attended the training courses, and 105 radio astronomical remote observations have been performed with users. Until now, more than 2,000 students have been involved in radio astronomical observations.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: RTSRE Related Research
Depositing User: Dr Michael Fitzgerald
Date Deposited: 12 May 2017 00:56
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2018 09:10

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