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Education Newsletter

CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science


19 October 2011



Welcome to the final edition of the CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science Education Newsletter for 2011. In this issue you'll find information about:

If you have any questions about CSIRO's astronomy education and outreach activities, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Robert Hollow
Education Officer
CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science

Astronomy from the Ground Up! May 2012

Come and spend three stimulating and rewarding days learning new approaches to astronomy teaching at the iconic Parkes Observatory. Astronomy from the Ground Up! is our annual teacher workshop for all science teachers on 18 - 20 May 2012. It targets the content and skills of junior Science syllabi from around Australia whilst also providing depth and enrichment for teachers of senior physics. Teachers tour the radio telescope, meet professional astronomers and have lectures on different aspects of astronomy including some of the latest discoveries.

CSIRO's Parkes 64-m radio telescope. Photo: David McClenaghan, CSIRO.

Emphasis is placed on practical and hands-on activities to take back and use in the classroom. You will also explore the wonderful dark night skies with optical telescopes. Participants receive an extensive range of resources. The workshop also fulfils the requirements of the international Galileo Teacher Training Program (external link).

Dates: Friday 18 - Sunday 20 May 2012
Venue: CSIRO Parkes Observatory, Parkes NSW
Cost: $363 (GST incl) - includes materials, morning tea, lunches, dinners
Target audience: All Science teachers
Bookings: Essential.

For more details and registration please visit the workshop site.

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Astrophysics for Physics Teachers workshop Marsfield, March 2012

This is a one-day workshop is presented by CASS Education Officer Rob Hollow and astronomers from CASS and AAO.

Date: Friday 30 March 2012
Time: 8.30 am - 4:00 pm
Venue: CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science Headquarters, cnr Vimiera and Pembroke Rds, Marsfield NSW
Cost: $132 (GST incl) - includes materials, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea
Target audience: Teachers of HSC Physics and similar courses
Bookings: Essential.

For more details and registration please visit the workshop site.

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CSIRO Tweetup: Mars Science Laboratory, 25 May, Canberra

CSIRO's NASA Tweetup.

50 of CSIRO's Twitter followers will be invited to watch live coverage of NASA's Mars Rover launch and take a behind-the-scenes tour at CDSCC.

Be a part of space exploration history as the CSIRO Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex plays a critical role in NASA's latest mission to the planet Mars. You are invited to apply to be one of only 50 people to attend an exclusive event for the launch of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory on November 25th, 2011.

You will enjoy a behind the scenes look at the southern hemisphere's only Deep Space Network tracking station and be there to watch the launch live on the big screen. Experience the moment when the giant antenna dishes lock-on to the signal, confirming to mission control that the Rover and its spacecraft are safely on their way to Mars.

Tweetup registration closes at 5pm on Sunday 23 October 2011.
CSIRO will randomly select 50 participants from online registrations.

More details...

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CASS Workshop Sessions at STAVCON, Melbourne, 29 November

CASS Education Officer Rob Hollow will be presenting the following workshop sessions at STAVCON at La Trobe University, Melbourne in November:

  • Session D8, Cosmology in the Classroom, 10.45 - 11.45 on Tuesday 29 November
  • Session E8: The Pocket Solar System, Galileo Teacher Training Program Astronomy Activities for the Classroom, 12.45 - 13.45 on Tuesday 29 November.
  • Session F9, Cosmology in the Classroom, 14.10 - 15.10 on Tuesday 29 November (repeat of session D8)

For more details and registration visit the STAVCON site.

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Talk at STANSW 7 -12 Curriculum Conference, 25 November

Rob Hollow will be giving a talk What's Up? reviewing recent key developments and discoveries in astronomy at the STANSW 7 -12 Curriculum Conference at Bankstown, Friday 25 November.

For more details and bookings visit the STANSW Curriculum Conference.

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We have new observing slots available for schools. These sessions are in December 2011 and March 2012. You may apply online for a slot.

In January 2012 we will be conducting a special school holiday observing session at Marsfield for high school students who are members of CSIRO's Double Helix Science Club. An announcement about this session and how to apply will be made separately in the next few weeks.

Don't forget, you can follow along with any observing session via our twitter feed; PULSEatParkes and can now view a live data feed and webcam views from Parkes during an observing session.

Our next observing session is 11.00am - 1pm AEDT on Thursday 27 October.

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Astronomy News

Astronomy has featured prominently in the news over recent weeks. Congratulations to Professor Brian Schmidt from ANU, one of three new laureates for the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. Professor Schmidt headed up one of two teams that discovered that the Universe is not just expanding but is actually accelerating. He has an excellent, informative website about the team and the discovery suitable for students. The Nobel Prize site also has a useful education resource Star Stories that discusses the life of stars and the links with Nobel Prizes. Several other Australian astronomers, including CSIRO SKA Director Dr Brian Boyle, were involved with the teams that made this discovery.

Professor Stuart Wyithe from University of Melbourne was awarded the 2011 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year at the Prime Minister's Prizes for Science last week. The award recognises his work in theoretical cosmology, specifically on the role of atomic hydrogen and the formation of the first galaxies. His work has provided valuable input into the requirements for the next generation radio telescopes including the SKA. He has written an accessible article Back to where we started: tracing the origins of galaxies for The Conversation.

CSIRO's Parkes Open Day, 2011. Photo: Rob Hollow, CSIRO.

CSIRO's Parkes Observatory has been celebrating 50 years of operations this month. The recent Open Days on 8 and 9 October saw over 5,000 visitors. Events included telescope tours, a range of talks and over 2,000 people including the Governor General at Opera at the Dish on the Saturday night.

Observations using CSIRO telescopes have led to several recent discoveries covered in the media. These include a 'diamond' planet orbiting a pulsar, that galaxies are running out of gas, reducing star formation rates and the first picture of turbulent interstellar gas in our Milky Way, that looks like a pit of writhing snakes.

2012 should prove an equally exciting year. We have the Transit of Venus in June, a total solar eclipse in Novmber and the announcement of the site selection for the SKA early in the year.

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Some of the new ASKAP antennas.

Quick Links

CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility website
Australia Telescope Outreach and Education website
Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
CASS Teacher Workshops
CSIRO Education
Australia and NZ SKA (anzSKA) project

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This newsletter is published by Robert Hollow, Education Officer
CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science

Phone: +61 2 9372 4247 - Email: robert.hollow@csiro.au