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Paper: Getting the Most Out of Your Observatory-Based Astro 101 Laboratory
Volume: 443, Earth and Space Science: Making Connections in Education and Public Outreach
Page: 359
Authors: Hufnagel, B.; Metlay, S.
Abstract: Astronomy lab classes can be mind-expanding experiences for students: seeing Saturn for the first time with their own eyes is amazing! This is your chance to share and hear success stories from others who incorporate real-time observing into their laboratories. The group will self-select discussion topics, which could include: do we stress amateur and historical sky gazing; focus on uncertainty, graphing and making measurements; learn about physical laws, light and spectroscopy; or work with modern observing data from our own or national telescope archives? What is the role of computers for processing data, running simulations, and controlling telescopes? How can we track our topics with lecture—or do we even try? How do we manage a flexible schedule to take advantage of clear nights? In the era of Hubble, how do manage expectations when viewing a light-polluted sky with an eight-inch reflector? What difficulty level is appropriate for introductory students? What is the balance between teaching astronomy and teaching observing techniques? What is the ideal class size, and what size is economical for the college? How can the observatory be used for community outreach, since this is not directly funded? Outcomes: Experts, share your solutions to challenges and learn from others about what works and what does not. Newbies, inform yourself about issues involved in incorporating observing into your astronomy labs.
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