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Paper: Using Wide-Field Meteor Cameras to Actively Engage\newline Students in Science
Volume: 457, Connecting People to Science
Page: 279
Authors: Kuehn, D. M.; Scales, J. N.
Abstract: Astronomy has always afforded teachers an excellent topic to develop students' interest in science. New technology allows the opportunity to inexpensively outfit local school districts with sensitive, wide-field video cameras that can detect and track brighter meteors and other objects. While the data-collection and analysis process can be mostly automated by software, there is substantial human involvement that is necessary in the rejection of spurious detections, in performing dynamics and orbital calculations, and the rare recovery and analysis of fallen meteorites. The continuous monitoring allowed by dedicated wide-field surveillance cameras can provide students with a better understanding of the behavior of the night sky including meteors and meteor showers, stellar motion, the motion of the Sun, Moon, and planets, phases of the Moon, meteorological phenomena, etc. Additionally, some students intrigued by the possibility of UFOs and “alien visitors” may find that actual monitoring data can help them develop methods for identifying “unknown” objects. We currently have two ultra-low light-level surveillance cameras coupled to fish-eye lenses that are actively obtaining data. We have developed curricula suitable for middle or high school students in astronomy and earth science courses and are in the process of testing and revising our materials.
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