In collaboration with the Teen Astronomy Cafes program, the NOAO Data Lab is developing online Jupyter Notebooks as a free and publicly accessible tool for students and teachers. Each interactive activity teaches students simultaneously about coding and astronomy with a focus on large datasets. Therefore, students learn state-of-the-art techniques at the cross-section between astronomy and data science. During the activity entitled “Our Vast Universe”, students use real spectroscopic data to measure the distance to galaxies before moving on to a catalog with distances to over 100,000 galaxies. Exploring this dataset gives students an appreciation of the large number of galaxies in the universe (2 trillion!), and leads them to discover how galaxies are located in large and impressive filamentary structures. During the Teen Astronomy Cafes program, the notebook is supplemented with visual material conducive to discussion, and hands-on activities involving cubes representing model universes. These steps contribute to build the students’ physical intuition and give them a better grasp of the concepts before using software and coding. At the end of the activity, students have made their own measurements, and have experienced scientific research directly. More information is available online for the Teen Astronomy Cafes (teensciencecafe.org/cafes) and the NOAO Data Lab (datalab.noao.edu).
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #231
- Pub Date:
- January 2018