Since it was launched 15 years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope has snapped more than 700,000 images, transmitted about 120 gigabytes of data every week and seen galaxies more than 12 billion light years away. The feats of Hubble have inspired an amazing Web site for students and teachers.
Image to right: The Amazing Space Web site ties together many great resources from the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA
"Amazing Space," developed by the Space Telescope Science Institute, is home to a suite of Web-based astronomy activities for kids in grades 4-12. Featured topics include telescopes, comets, planets, galaxies, stars and black holes:
- "Telescopes from the Ground Up" explores the history of telescopes, from Galileo to today's space-based observatories.
- "Planet Impact!" is a series of interactive games that demonstrates how angle, speed and mass affect a comet's path.
- "Mission Mastermind" requests the help of students to plan a Hubble servicing mission.
- "Galaxy Hunter" offers a glimpse into the science of searching for galaxies. Topics covered include sampling, bias, and what the universe looks like when viewed in different directions and at different depths.
- "Comets" uses interactive games to teach students about comets' tails and the ingredients that go into making a comet. Visitors can also read about comet myths, facts and legends.
- "Galaxies Galore, Games and More" illustrates the different shapes of galaxies and the parts that make up the Milky Way. Students can also play a game of galaxy concentration and collect galaxy trading cards.
- "The Truth About Black Holes" takes a look at the anatomy of black holes and provides students an opportunity to write an essay explaining them.
- "Solar System Trading Cards" challenges students to identify 12 objects in the solar system. Collect a new card with each correct answer.
- "Star Light, Star Bright" is a primer on light waves, energy and the temperature of stars.
- "Hubble Deep Field Academy" introduces techniques for counting, classifying and estimating distances to objects in the universe. Answer seven follow-up questions and you could be an academy graduate.
Each online exploration is supplemented with background science information, teaching tips and related links. The Web site also features "The Star Witness News," a chronicle of Hubble's history and discoveries; lithographs displaying Hubble images; answers to frequently asked questions about space and astronomy; and a homework help section. A special area for educators allows for browsing of the site by topic or type of activity.
Amazing Space Web site:
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Dan Stillman, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies