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National Astronomy Education Projects: A Catalog


6. Planetarium Education Activities

Astronomy Link:
is a listing of astronomy research and education experts available to assist planetarium educators in devising their programs and outreach activities. Contact: Jim Manning, Taylor Planetarium, Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT 59717 (406-994-6874); [e-mail:]
International Planetarium Society:
Holds conferences, publishes The Planetarian magazine, offers special publications and a directory. Contact them c/o Hansen Planetarium, 15 S. State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84111. Their web-site is A job information service is available c/o S. Fentress, Director, Strasenburgh Planetarium, P.O. Box 1480, Rochester, NY 14603 (send a stamped, self-addressed envelope). There are also active regional organizations of planetarium staff, whose work is described in The Planetarian.
Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS)
has offered an excellent series of training workshops for those working with portable planetaria and has a series of activity books for such planetaria (see section 2)
Learning Technologies, Inc.:
Small company that makes the Starlab inflatable/portable planetaria and trains teachers on how to use them. Also distributes excellent kits of material for high school and college astronomy activities. Contact at: 40 Cameron Ave., Somerville, MA 02144 (800-537-8703);

A number of planetaria sell pre-packaged planetarium shows, including the Hayden Planetarium, New York City; the Strasenburgh Planetarium, Rochester, NY; the Davis Planetarium in Baltimore; and the Hansen Planetarium, Salt Lake City, Utah; and many others.

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7. Programs Involving Amateur Astronomers

American Association of Variable Star Observers:
Variable Star Astronomy (VSA) develops activities and materials for students involving real variable star data. Contact: Aaron Price, AAVSO, 49 Bay State Rd., Cambridge, MA 02138 (617-354-0484) Further information available at
Astronomical League:
This is the umbrella group of all the amateur astronomy clubs in the U.S. They sponsor a range of national and local educational programs; see their newsletter The Reflector, or their web-site at (Permanent address: Astronomical League, Science Service Building, 1719 N. St., NW, Washington, DC 20036)
Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP):
Project ASTRO: forms and trains ongoing partnerships between astronomers (professional & amateur) and local 4th-9th grade school teachers for class visits. Astronomers turn out to make excellent partners for teachers and can relate well to students. [see appendix]
Astronomy Day:
Annual day when amateurs around the country bring telescopes to shopping centers, schools, and other sites to let the public view the sky. Co-sponsored by many organizations. Contact: Gary Tomlinson, Public Museum of Grand Rapids, 272 Pearl NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 (616-456-3532) (For a copy of the Astronomy Day Handbook, see the web-site at
NASA Night Sky Network:
A nationwide coalition of over 200 astronomy clubs around the USA bringing the science and inspiration of NASA's missions to the public. Members of the Night Sky Network receive free Outreach ToolKits of materials to convey a variety of astronomy and space-related topics. The program is supported by NASA and administered by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP). Find out how to join:

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8. Newsletters

Abrams Planetarium:
Sky Calendar is a well designed monthly sheet that includes a daily calendar of sky events and suggests a variety of night-sky observing activities. Contact them at: Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 (517-335-4676);
American Astronomical Society Working Group on Astronomy Education:
Provides an electronic newsletter on announcements and discussion. Contact: Steve Shawl at; or see the web site at
Astronomical League:
The Reflector newsletter frequently covers educational activities by or for amateurs (see section 7)
Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP):
Publishes free quarterly Universe in the Classroom online newsletter for grade 3-12 teachers [see appendix]
Association of Astronomy Educators (AAE):
Has a newsletter on teaching astronomy for its members [see appendix]
Educational Horizons newsletter brings news of NASA science and education activities to teachers. Contact: NASA Headquarters, Education Division, Code FE, 300 E St., SW, Washington, DC 20546

Note: Many of the projects listed in the previous sections have newsletters for their participants and supporters.

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9. Programs for Students (K-12)

Astronomical League:
National Young Astronomer Award recognizes outstanding achievment in astronomy by young people 14-19 years of age. First prize is a $3000 telescope. Contact: Charles Allen, NYAA, 1007 Rollingwood Ln., Goshen, KY 40026 (502-589-5400); e-mail:
Bart J. Bok Prize in Astronomy,
sponsored jointly by the American Astronomical Society and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, each year to the top astronomy project at the International Science and Engineering Fair. Material for participating in the fair is available from Science Service, 1719 N St., NW, Washington, DC 20036
NSTA/NASA Space Science Involvement Program:
A series of contests for K-12 students with space-related themes, involving writing, art, and design. [see appendix]
University of Arizona Astronomy Camps [see listing in section 12]
U.S. Space Camp:
A commercial venture, now in Alabama, has a camp for younger kids, an Academy for older ones, and educator programs. U.S. Space and Rocket Center, 1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL 35805 (1-800-63SPACE);
Young Astronaut Council:
This nationwide program has school or community-based chapters and produces activities, contests, and materials to encourage student interest in space. Contact them at: 1308 19th St NW, Washington, DC 20036 (202-682-1984);

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10. Programs for Students (College)

American Astronomical Society (AAS):
Harlow Shapley Visiting Lecturer Program, a lecture series designed to bring astronomers to campuses without astronomy programs in the U.S.and Canada. Contact A.G. Davis Phillip, 1125 Oxford Place, Schenectady, NY 12308 (518-374-5636)
Haystack Observatory:
is developing a center for undergraduate research at MIT's Haystack Observatory. The education program includes materials, tutorials, and tools to provide students the necessary background in radio astronomy and astrophysics. Contact: Dr. Preethi Pratap, Northeast Radio Observatory Corporation, MIT Haystack Observatory, Westford, MA 01886 (978-692-4764);
NASA Spacegrant College and Fellowship:
has a wide range of grants and research opportunities for students. The program is organized via a network of 52 state-wide Space Grant Consortia. See their web site at; or write Space Grant Office, Education Division, NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20546.
NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates:
12 sites nationally offera variety of research opportunities for undergraduates in astronomy. The application deadline varies dependent upon the site. For more information see
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory:
Summer Intern Program for Undergraduates; especially targeted at women/minority students from small colleges. Contact: Kim Dow, CfA, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (617-496-7586) [e-mail:];

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