AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 44 Astronomy Education with Radio Waves and Music
Oral, Monday, 10:00-11:30am, January 9, 2006, Balcony B

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[44.04] The Radio Sky in the STARLAB

C. Fultz, T. Smith, S. Buck, R. Harris (UNC-Asheville), D. Boltuch, L. Hund, D. Moffett (Furman University), L. Walsh, M. LaFratta (UNC-Asheville), M. W. Castelaz (PARI)

The STARLAB is a portable planetarium created, produced, and distributed by Learning Technologies, Ltd. Upon entering the STARLAB, images are projected onto the ceiling of the planetarium's dome using custom, interchangeable projection cylinders mounted on top of an ultrabright point light source. The STARLAB is ideal for teaching students about astronomy since it may be easily transported to schools across the nation. In order to take advantage of this powerful teaching tool, one of the foremost priorities of the Sensing the Radio Sky project was the development a projection cylinder that would visually interpret the quantitative data taken with radio telescopes and present that information in a form that students could understand and appreciate. The final version of the cylinder demonstrates a variety of topics relevant to an understanding of radio astronomy. When using the Radio Sky cylinder in the STARLAB, teachers may discuss the differences between optical and radio astronomy such as the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy, different sources of electromagnetic radiation, and important radio sources within and outside of the Galaxy. In addition, the flexibility of the cylinder's design allows for a variety of educational activities to be conducted within the STARLAB, all complemented by the Radio Sky cylinder's unique presentation of the Galaxy in radio wavelengths. We acknowledge support from the NSF Internship in Public Science Education Program grant number 0324729.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
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