We have compiled a list of radio astronomy resources for educators to use in the classroom.
What is Radio Astronomy?
A description of radio astronomy from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
What are radio waves?
Details about radio emissions in the Solar System, telescopes, and the sky.
Learn About Radio Astronomy
The Square Kilometre Array in Africa has put together a basic overview of radio astronomy.
Large Group Activities developed by the LoCo Lab
An experiment where participants are given handheld radios and directed to find sources of radio interference. They look at electronics and other exhibits at a large venue. (Adapted from the NRAO’s activity.) Click to open pdf (311 KB).
Make Your Own Radio Image
A simplified version of the NRAO’s activity. Participants color a color-by-numbers radio image and then try to decipher what type of object it is. Click to open pdf (303 KB).
Radio Astronomy Crossword Puzzle
A thought-provoking crossword puzzle filled with radio astronomy words! Click here for the solution.Word Search
A word search using some radio astronomy terms. Click here for the solution.
Giant Wordsearch Puzzle
A huge worsearch puzzle that we developed for our events that is equally well suited to classroom activities. We printed the poster out at its full size of 42″ by 56″, and laminated it with 5mm thick plastic. We use Expo Vis-a-Vis Wet Erase markers to color on the poster. The ones we use can be found on Amazon. Click here to open. Here is the solution.
A huge color-by-numbers puzzle that we developed for our events that is equally well suited to classroom activities. We printed the poster out at its full size of 42″ by 56″, and laminated it with 5mm thick plastic. We use Expo Vis-a-Vis Wet Erase markers and Sanford Wet Bright Sticks Wet-Erase Fluorescent Markers to color on the poster. The ones we use can be found on Amazon. Click here to open. The solution is attached to the activity. The image is adapted from Hubble’s picture of M51 “The Whirlpool Galaxy.”
Videos by the LoCo Lab
RFI (Radio Frequency Interference)
Hamdi Mani of Arizona State University explains what radio frequency interference is, what causes it, and the challenges that radio astronomers face. Created by Margaret Blumm of the ASU Low-Frequency Cosmology Lab (LoCo). Follow us on Vimeo!
Danny Jacobs of Arizona State University shows off our octocopter, and explains how it is used for radio astronomy. Be sure to watch the cool test flight footage! Created by Margaret Blumm of the ASU Low-Frequency Cosmology Lab (LoCo). Follow us on Vimeo!
NRAO developed the Quiet Skies Project to introduce your middle/high school students to radio astronomy through an inquiry-based project to measure radio frequency interference in your community.
Radio JOVE is a hands-on educational activity that brings the radio sounds of Jupiter and the Sun to students, teachers, and the general public.
Radio Waves and the Ionosphere
Students will calculate the ending percentage of radio wave strength at the receiving station after they absorb and reflect off of the ionosphere.
Make a Radio Image
Data sheets that students can color to see example of radio images and try to interpret them. Website has information about radio astronomy and imaging.
SALSA Telescope Data Collection and Interpretation
Use an actual telescope in Sweden to collect data! Salsa Onsala is a 2.3 m radio telescope operating at a wavelength of 21 cm. At this wavelength, one can observe the spiral arms of the Milky Way (our galaxy). The radio telescope can be operated remotely over the Internet. To detect cosmic signals while watching the telescope move in the webcam is a great thrill for both pupils and teachers. Observations can be done during day-time as well as night-time, and even in bad weather.
Be an Interference Detective
An experiment where participants are given handheld radios and directed to find sources of radio interference. They look at electronics and other exhibits. (This is the NRAO’s version of the activity!)
National Radio Observatory Activities
A directory of radio astronomy activities, events, games, and experiments for all ages!
United States Frequency Allocation Chart
The August 2011 edition of the United States Frequency Allocations: The Radio Spectrum Chart.
Spectrometry at School: Hands-on Experiments
To motivate school students through a hands-on approach to chemistry, we and our project partners developed a collection of experiments using small-scale, low-cost spectrometers. In the project, we used a simple school spectrometer developed by one of the partners (Nataša Gros).
For Activities About Other Wavelengths
A large variety of activities for other wavelengths.
Radio Astronomy Teacher’s Guide and Activities
Listening to Space: Radio Astronomy was originally designed as preparation for planetarium shows. It has a variety of activities for explaining radio astronomy!
The European Association for Astronomy Association
This is the official webpage of the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE). Here you can find information about the EAAE, about how to become a member (free) and have free access to all projects, information, and materials that the Associations’ Working Groups are producing for educators.
Space and Astronomy Lesson Plans
It’s important for students to learn about astronomy and space so they understand that the universe is a large place with many wonders. Finding the right lesson can be tough so here are some great lesson plans for astronomy teachers.
Educational Programs for Teachers and Students
The NRAO hosts and leads a wide range of exciting educational programs for teachers and students, providing valuable research experiences, professional development, and unique opportunities to explore our Universe.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Information about various radio telescope arrays and the most recent news updates on their research.
Murchison Wide Field Array
Information about the radio telescope in the Australian Outback.
The Heart of Darkness
In the remote outback of Western Australia, astronomers are tuning in on the universe in the hope of unraveling the secrets of the cosmic dark ages.
The Very Large Array
The Very Large Array, one of the world’s premier astronomical radio observatories, consists of 27 radio antennas fifty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico.
HERA Telescope Array
The Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array roadmap was the top-ranked science program from the Astro2010 Radio, Millimeter, and Submillimeter panel report. Cosmic reionization occurred during the epoch when the first stars and black holes reionized the neutral intergalactic medium (IGM). This epoch is the last unexplored frontier in studies of cosmic structure formation.
The Square Kilometre Array
Exploring the Universe with the world’s largest radio telescope. A global science and engineering project is underway to build the telescope which will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe.
Radio Telescope Arrays
Information about several radio telescope arrays that MIT is involved with.
Other Outreach Resources
The University of Chicago has an impressive website for learning about different wavelengths of light.
The European Space Agency’s educational website for young kids.
Planetary Science Glossary
A comprehensive glossary of planetary and space science terms.
ESO for the Public
The European Southern Observatory’s public outreach site is filled with information about the groundbreaking science they do.
ASU Explorers Blog
Arizona State University researchers write about the exciting and innovative research they are doing.
ASU Center for Meteorite Studies
The Center for Meteorite Studies is home to the world’s largest university-based meteorite collection. We house specimens representing over 1,800 separate meteorite falls, and our collection is actively used for geological, planetary, and space science research at ASU and throughout the world.
The Lunar and Planetary Institute Resources
The Institute develops education and public outreach programs that engage families, educators, and students in space science and enhance the public appreciation of lunar and planetary science.