Education

We intend to develop this page more. Meanwhile, here are some links to help you.  Some book suggestions are lower on the page too.

Astronomy & Radio Astronomy

Heavens Above – http://www.heavens-above.com/: Interactive user friendly sky charts, with data for solar system objects and satellites.

The Jodcast – http://www.jodcast.net/ : Monthly news podcasts for the public from the Jodrell Bank radio astronomy observatory at the University of Manchester in England.  News highlights covering the frontiers of astronomy research, including in radio astronomy, plus invited researchers discuss their hot topics. Each month’s program also presents what you can see in the night sky, in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Society of Radio Amateur Astronomers (SARA) – http://radio-astronomy.org/

The Astronomical League – https://www.astroleague.org/

Astronomical Society of the Pacifichttps://www.astrosociety.org/

Astronomy Picture of the Day – https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

Astronomy Magazine http://www.astronomy.com/

Sky & Telescope – http://www.skyandtelescope.com/

Astrobiteshttps://astrobites.org/ – Short articles highlighting current astronomy research discoveries, written by graduate students for science undergraduates.  AKA a 5 minute a day “Readers Digest” of astronomy research. From the American Astronomical Society.  A slightly more advanced read is AASNova http://aasnova.org/ , research highlights from the American Astronomical Society.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) – Learning – https://public.nrao.edu/radio-astronomy/, News  – https://public.nrao.edu/news/ and Newsletterhttps://science.nrao.edu/enews/

Open Source Radio Telescopes (OSRT) http://www.opensourceradiotelescopes.org/ – OSRT is a database and collaboration center for radio astronomy telescope construction at any level.

Neutron Star Group – A Collection of Information about Amateur Pulsar Detectionhttp://neutronstar.joataman.net/

Radio Astronomy Educational Video

How Radio Telescopes Show Us Unseen Galaxies, by Natasha Hurley-Walker (TED) 
https://www.ted.com/talks/natasha_hurley_walker_how_radio_telescopes_show_us_unseen_galaxies

Jocelyn Bell Burnell in Conversation at the 2015 Edinburgh International Science Festival https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCPereT6XxU: Jocelyn Bell Burnell was the discoverer of Pulsars. She made the discovery while she was a young graduate student at Cambridge in the 1960s.  In this interview she talks about how that work was done, and also what it was like to become a radio astronomer as a young woman then. Like us, she learned radio astronomy from the ground up.

Radio Astronomy: Observing the Invisible Universe, by Felix J. Lockman, Ph.D., Principal Scientist at the NRAO Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia — https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/radio-astronomy-observing-the-invisible-universe.html  — This is a DVD course set sold by The Great Courses.  It is a good primer on radio astronomy, for someone at an interested beginner level or higher.  A number of topics we work with at DSES are introduced.  You might like to wait for when it is on sale.

Astronomy Educational Video

We are made of star stuff: Jocelyn Bell Burnell at TEDx Vienna
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBCM0oJR8F4:. Jocelyn Bell Burnell describing how we got most of the chemical elements, particularly the ones created in supernova explosions.

 

Relaxing Universe Sandbox ² gameplay | Journey to Betelgeusehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY116KLE4I0 – An educational journey to the red giant star Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion and our other nearby stars. Includes a look at stellar evolution and the Hertzsprung Russel (or color-magnitude) diagram. And shows what Betelgeuse might look like if and when it becomes a supernova and neutron star, which it is predicted to do within the next 100,000 years.

 

Tamitha Skov – Space Weather Womanhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkXjdDQ-db0xz8f4PKgKsag – Weekly space weather educational forecast videos.

Amateur Radio

Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation https://hamsci.org/ 

The Doctor is In, from ARRL https://www.blubrry.com/arrl_the_doctor_is_in/ – Educational biweekly podcasts about amateur radio.

Radio Wave Propagation – https://www.meted.ucar.edu/training_module.php?id=1394 – This is a one-hour lesson which introduces you to factors that affect long distance radio communication through the ionosphere. Hosted at the MetEd COMET meteorology education site [University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s (UCAR’s) Community Programs (UCP)].

Meteor Scatter and Propagation – https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20170009030.pdf – By Dr. Robert Suggs NM4NT, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center / MARC ARC NN4SA / North AL DX Club. A presentation from the 2017 Huntsville, AL Hamfest.

Astronomy Topics

The Fabulous Lives of Nebulas by Paul Sutter (Space.com, July 6,2016). The role of nebulas in the cycle of stellar evolution.

“How William Huggins Shaped Astrophysics”, by Barbara J. Becker (Astronomy Magazine, September 2018).  How Doppler measurements came to be used in astrophysics.

“Meet Henrietta Leavitt, the woman who gave us a universal ruler”,  by Korey Haynes (Astronomy Magazine, February 4, 2019).

 

Some Suggested Reading

Astronomy

  • 100 Billion Suns – The Birth, Life, and Death of the Stars, by Rudolf Kippenhahn (1983 Basic Books, 1993 Princeton University Press). This is one of the best introductions to astrophysics on the popular to intermediate level that I have seen. How do you go from what you see at night to what you cannot? If you look up at the stars at night, you can notice the stars have different brightness and different colors. Those are clues that start you on a science journey to learn what we have discovered. The author gives you the chance to feel the questions, and then see where those lead. He was a pioneer in astrophysics computer modeling, which started in the 1950s. In this book he builds from his experience and from the history to show you how the computer modeling of nuclear processes inside stars, matched with the observational data, led us to figure out how stars live and die. He then takes you further, to systematically explore what we have learned about the full scope of stellar evolution (including what we can’t yet determine from the models). And you systematically explore the variations in the populations of stars and clusters in the Milky Way. Prof. Kippenhahn was the head of the Max Plank Institute for Astrophysics in Germany, until he had to step down for brain surgery. After he recovered, he recognized he wasn’t up to speed to lead a science institution. He then devoted his efforts to public education. This book is based on series of lectures he had given originally in Germany. It was translated afterwards into English. This book is a gift. It was only after I read this book that I came to realize many popular and intermediate astronomy books do not take care to show you the evidence — to take you from what you can see to what you cannot. This book takes care to do that. – G. Agranat
  • The Invisible Universe, The Story of Radio Astronomy, by Gerrit Verschuur (2007 Springer). This is a popular level book that surveys the field of radio astronomy, with details about the particular kinds of observations and the particular astronomical objects we see. – G. Agranat
  • Interstellar Matters, Essays on Curiosity and Astronomical Discovery, By Gerrit Verschuur (1989 Springer). This earlier book by Gerrit Verschuur is written more as science story telling. It is a well-told story about how we came to realize there is more to astronomy than just the objects we see shining in visible light. The first part of the book narrates that journey in particular through the experiences of E.E. Barnard. Barnard started just by trying to make a living as a photographer’s assistant in Tennessee after the Civil War. He was able to shift to assisting with telescope observing, and in time he became a pioneer in professional telescope observing with photography. He struggled for years to try to understand spots in the photographic plates that were devoid of stars. He was the one who eventually brought the evidence and understanding that the galaxy has gas and dust clouds (but not without resistance in the field). It was only when that was recognized that we started to discover the conditions that give birth to stars, and much more. The rest of the book takes you on a journey to explore what more we have learned, including in infrared and radio astronomy. The book is now slightly dated, with some recent results occasionally overtaking results described here. The book nonetheless is otherwise current, and it gives a very readable, intuitive account of how we understand what we see in astronomy beyond the visible starlight. – G. Agranat
  • Cosmic Clouds – Birth, Death, and Recycling in the Galaxy, by James B. Kaler (1997 Scientific American Library). This is a great primer for learning about what we see in the interstellar medium of our galaxy with radio astronomy and with other wavelengths. – G. Agranat
  • The Evolution of Radio Astronomy, by J.S. Hey (1973 Science History Publications). This is an intermediate level narrative of how professional radio astronomy developed, up to the time the book was written. – G. Agranat
  • Astronomer by Chance, by Bernard Lovel (1990 Basic Books). This is a personal memoir by a key pioneer in radio astronomy in Britain. He describes his foundational experiences as a physics student between the world wars, and then his pioneering RADAR work during WWII, which was to become one of the bases for developing radio astronomy after the war. That work in Britain led to the development of the Jodrell Bank radio observatory in Manchester. – G. Agranat
  • Radio Astronomy Projects, by William Lonc (2003 Radio Sky Publishing). – R. Russel, G. Agranat

The Search for Life, SETI

  • Life in Outer Space, The Search for Extraterrestrials, by Kim McDonald (2001 Raintree Steck-Vaughn). This is a book for young readers. It is still a great introduction, with a look at the breadth of the scientific fields working on the problem: astronomy, geology & planetary science, biochemistry, biology, and radio astronomy. From a series by the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. – G. Agranat
  • Other Worlds, The Search for Life in the Universe, by Michael D. Lemonick (1998 Simon & Schuster). This book was written soon after the discovery of exoplanets opened a new dimension of scientific research in the search of extraterrestrial life. – G. Agranat

Meteors & Meteor Scatter

  • Meteor Science and Engineering, D.W.R. McKinley (1961 MacGraw Hill). This book was a standard technical reference for the field. Includes discussion of meteor scatter science. – G. Agranat

Amateur Radio

  • Your First Amateur Radio HF Station, From Antennas to Amplifiers — Everything You Need to Know! by Steve Ford, WB8IMY (2014 ARRL). In the current generation of ham radio books this is a good primer for beginners. – G. Agranat
  • Propagation and Radio Science, by Eric P. Nichols, KL7AJ (2015 ARRL). This is a well written book that helps you dig more deeply into how HF propagation works. It can be read by an advanced beginner or intermediate level ham. – G. Agranat
  • Radio Rescue, by Lynn Barasch (2000 Frances Foster Books – Farrar, Straus and Giroux). This is a wonderful book for young readers on ham radio with a taste of its history.  It is a picture story book about the author’s father, when he became a very young licensed ham radio operator at the age of 10, in the 1920s, in New York City.  The book wonderfully captures the spirit of ham radio, then and now, for young and old.  In those earlier days, to place a person-to-person telephone call across the country could take hours. How the world could open up with an amateur radio license.  The technology was developing, yet it was simpler too. One could put together equipment on one’s own, or with a little help, and be at the frontiers of the science and at the frontiers of what one could do.  Learning Morse Code was learning a new language that gave you that freedom.  You could have fun, and do serious things too. There is a radio rescue in the story. It is something that can happen without warning, even for a child radio amateur. To my mind, this illuminates a character of ham radio that goes beyond words. As hams we are a real part of the community, probably more than many folks recognize. And we give back, in our learning and play, and also when the community is in danger, even when all else fails. More deeply, it is possible for us to discover that our technology doesn’t have to insulate us. We in fact are always at the edge in life. When we reach out in our growing, on our own paths, our technical journeys can place us in touch with that edge. And we may discover more deeply how we do improve our lives with our technical developments. The neighborhood of electronics supply shops in downtown New York on Cortland Street, mentioned in the book, was demolished when the World Trade Center was built.  But I met some older hams who still could tell me about it when they used it during their younger days.  I very much recommend this book, especially as a New Yorker who was fortunate to get a taste of what is in this story.  The author lived in a town not far from where I lived. – G. Agranat

Last update May 15, 2020 – G. Agranat WA2JQZ. Graphic design by Floyd Glick. WD0CUJ. Additional contributions from: S. Crilly K7ETI, R. Russel AC0UB .