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Volume 10 –June 18, 2009


Universe Awareness

Universe Awareness (UNAWE) is an international program that began in 2005 with the aim of inspiring very young children with the scale and beauty of the universe. The motivation behind this simple idea is that in today's world of divides, children in the most underprivileged environments are vulnerable to extremism and dogma that early learning experience can help counter. With goals fo broadening children's minds, awakening their natural curiosity in science, empowering them with independent thinking and connecting them with other children throughout the world, the hope is that today's children will grow up to become tomorrow's tolerant and open-minded adults with confidence to think critically and rationally: true world citizens. It's this project's belief that astronomy is an outstanding ambassador to realize this objective.

UNAWE reaches out to a group that is often neglected by programs articulated around scientific disciplines: very young children. Universe Awareness programs start at age 4, sometimes even 3. This is not a hurdle, as the emphasis of the program is on inspiration rather than on scientific knowledge acquisition. UNAWE tries to contribute to children's value systems and to the formation of their identity in a positive and constructive manner. As such, it uses astronomy to make children enthusiastic about science before the concept becomes burdened with preconceptions of a social nature, such as "not for girls"; "only for the academically inclined"; "only from and for the Western world"; etc.

For more information, please visit:

NSTA Partners with the Conrad Foundation
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning, and the Conrad Foundation today announced an agreement to collaborate on the Foundation's Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards, a program focused on combining science and technology education with innovation and entrepreneurship to solve modern-day problems in four categories: space, oceans, energy and the environment. Through this partnership, NSTA will serve as the official education advisor to the program, providing guidance on the development of educational resources, long-term goals and vision for the program.

The Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards is an annual competition that challenges teams of high school students to create innovative products for use in various fields of science and technology, including lunar exploration, personal spaceflight and renewable energy. Teams vie for more than $100,000 in prize money and the opportunity to commercialize their products for general market use.

to learn more please visit: http://www.nsta.org  

"Rendering Lunar Eclipses"
Lunar eclipses have been fascinating people of all walks of life throughout history.  Lunar eclipses occur when moon passes into the Earth's shadow , hence changing shape, color, or visibility. The way the phenomena is viewed is effected by the Earth atmosphere among other things.

As presented in May 2009 at the Graphics Interface 2009 conference, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute  have developed a new method to render a very accurate visualization of a lunar eclipse. Their computer model "uses celestial geometry of the sun, Earth, and moon, along with data for the Earth's atmosphere and the moon's peculiar optical properties to create picture perfect images of lunar eclipses."

These images give us an opportunity to look back into the past, and future lunar eclipses. These models also enable us to see how each eclipse would be viewed from different places on Earth.

For more information please visit:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608131158.htm
Spitzer Space Telescope
When it comes to telescopes, the first two names coming to one's mind are, Hubble and the newly launched Herschel. However a smaller NASA telescope deserves to be mentioned and known as well. Spitzer space telescope launched in 2003, has recently made important discoveries. Using infrared vision, Spitzer has captured the birth of new stars at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. 
The scientists had begun their search by scanning large sections of the area of the space, and then narrowing down on more than 100 possible new stars. But the dust between Earth and the stars obscures the view, making the task of distinguishing new stars from old  almost impossible. However using Spitzer's spectrograph, this task was made feasible. 
To learn more, please visit:



Anousheh's Favorite Quote:

"What lies beyond us and what lies
before us are tiny matters
compared to what lies within us."

Ralph Waldo Emerson