Cosmic Times Is Hot off the Presses
Front of the Cosmic Times newspaper for 1919

The 1919 Edition of Cosmic Times features a story about how a solar eclipse confirms that Einstein's theory of gravity, not Newton's, correctly predicts the bending of starlight. Image Credit: NASA

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! A new NASA education product has all the universe news that's fit to print.

Well, maybe it doesn't have all the universe news. But Cosmic Times, a series of curriculum support materials for grades 7-12, features six posters that each resemble the front page of a newspaper and together trace our understanding of the universe during the last 100 years. Each poster includes several articles related to an important discovery.

The posters mimic the writing style and layout of newspapers as they have evolved since the early 1900s. The posters can be printed (at 24 by 33 inches or 8.5 by 11 inches) from the Cosmic Times Web site. They cover the following topics:

1919: A solar eclipse confirms that Albert Einstein's theory of gravity, not Sir Isaac Newton's, correctly predicts the bending of starlight.

1929: Edwin Hubble, building on his earlier discovery that the Milky Way galaxy is but one of many galaxies, finds that the universe is expanding.

1955: The debate rages about whether the big-bang or steady-state theory correctly describes the origin of the universe.

1965: Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discover the cosmic microwave background, the remnant radiation from the very early universe. Their discovery supports the big bang as the leading theory for the origin of the universe.

1993: NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer mission measures fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, which explain where structure in the universe comes from. Meanwhile, new evidence of dark matter is found.

2006: Dark energy was first glimpsed in 1997 with observations of distant supernovae. In the intervening time, astronomers have confirmed its presence and measured its abundance in the universe.

The Web site contains several lesson plans related to the content in each poster. The lessons address national education standards in science, history and language arts as students examine data, work with scientific instruments, play games, write stories and make models.

Poster backs contain a summary of the articles and lessons. The full texts of selected lessons are also provided. For each poster, the Web site includes a teacher's guide, questions for understanding and a glossary. A master glossary covers the entire set.

Each poster is accompanied by two newsletters -- one with the text as it appears on the poster, and one with text at a slightly lower reading level. The newsletters facilitate student reading of the articles, especially in conjunction with the lessons.

Cosmic Times is a product of the Imagine the Universe! Web site. Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center within the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Related Resources
Cosmic Times   →
Imagine the Universe!   →

Dan Stillman, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies