After more than a year of training workshops, writing proposals, observing, and analyzing data, 12 middle and high school science teachers will culminate months of hard work with a booth presentation at astronomy's version of the Olympics, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting, next month in Washington DC.
The 12 teachers were selected from a national pool of applicants in 2004 to participate in the Spitzer Space Telescope Research Program for Teachers and Students. As part of the program, the teachers attended workshops and wrote proposals vying for observation time on NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The approved proposals conducted their observations in early 2005, and this past summer the teachers invited some of their brightest students to the Spitzer Science Center (SSC) to analyze the data with professional astronomers.
AAS meetings are prestigious bi-annual conventions where world-class astronomers meet to present and discuss their latest projects and findings.
In anticipation of the teachers' appearance at the AAS, the SSC has released a podcast interview with a high school student/teacher group from Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH. They used Spitzer to search for dusty, young stars in the Witch Head Nebula, located near the super-giant star Rigel in the constellation Orion. The group was just one of six that visited the SSC this summer.