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**Informal education**

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This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals new details of the Cat's Eye Nebula, one of the most complex planetary nebulae ever seen. A planetary nebula is the glowing gas ejected by a star similar in mass to our Sun, during its final stages of... (View More) evolution. In the accompanying educational activity, In Search of ... the Complex Structures of Planetary Nebulae, students compare the complex structures of planetary nebulae through a level 1 inquiry activity using the images and text from the lithograph and other resources. A level 1 inquiry activity can help prepare students to become independent thinkers. (View Less)

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows a tightly packed crowd of stars resembling a swarm of bees. Called M80 (NGC 6093), the stellar swarm is one of the densest globular clusters in our Milky Way Galaxy. M80 contains hundreds of thousands of... (View More) mostly low-mass stars that orbit around a common center of gravity. The text contains information about the characteristics of globular clusters and contrasts them with open clusters. In the accompanying educational activity, In Search of ... Star Clusters, students compare globular clusters and open clusters through a level 1 inquiry activity using the images and text from the lithograph and other resources. A level 1 inquiry activity can help prepare students to become independent thinkers. (View Less)

This image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows light from hot stars eating away the surface of the dust and gas cloud in this region of the Eagle Nebula to reveal a pillar composed of denser material. The text includes information about the... (View More) process of star formation taking place in the nebula. In the accompanying educational activity, In Search of ... Star Formation, students investigate star through a level 1 inquiry activity using the images and text from the lithograph and other resources. A level 1 inquiry activity can help prepare students to become independent thinkers. (View Less)

This online activity introduces the importance of meteorites to the understanding of the origin of the Solar System. Learners will use a key to determine if samples are meteorites. Finding meteorites can be difficult because most meteorites look... (View More) like Earth rocks to the casual or untrained eye. (View Less)

The Gamma-ray Burst Skymap website automatically updates for each gamma-ray burst as it occurs, whether detected by Swift or other orbiting satellites. For each burst, the location on the sky, star map, constellation and detecting mission are... (View More) generated automatically. It is then quickly updated by hand to include a written description of the burst properties and scientific significance, as observations continue. Note: In order to view the content of the website, users need to download and install Silverlight on their computers. (View Less)

This 2-page color fact sheet briefly describes NASA's Kepler mission, its instruments, and ground system. Also included are tables listing the instrument parameters and the major institutions involved. Kepler is a spaceborne telescope specifically... (View More) designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to detect and characterize hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone. The habitable zone encompasses the distances from a star where liquid water can exist on a planet's surface. Note: The fact sheets states that the Kepler Telescope was launched in 2007 but did not launch until 2009. (View Less)

In this activity, students solve exponential equations where the unknown is contained in the exponent. Students learn that taking base-10 or base-2 logs pulls down the exponent, allowing the unknown to be isolated and solved. This activity is... (View More) activity C3 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure, compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)

In this activity students convert antilogs to logs, and logs to antilogs using scientific notation as an intermediate step. They will thereby develop a look-up table for solving math problems by using logarithms. This is activity D2 in the "Far Out... (View More) Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure,compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)

In this activity, students construct base-two slide rules that add and subtract base-2 exponents (log distances), in order to multiply and divide corresponding powers of two. Students use these slide rules to generate both log and antilog equations,... (View More) learning to translate one in terms of the other. This is activity C1 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure,compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)

In this activity students use log tapes and base-two slide rules as references to graph exponential functions and log functions in base-10 and base-2. Students discover that exponential and log functions are inverse, reflecting across the y = x axis... (View More) as mirror images. This is activity E2 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure, compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, the GLAST mission was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)