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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Educational Resources for Astronomy

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
8:46 pm

Star parties

Last month, I posted a short piece on “Educational Resources for Space,” provided by Jasmine Dyoco from Educator Labs.   This week, she provided a set of links for learning about Astronomy.  I am pleased to share the links here:

Thanks again, Jasmine and Educator Labs, for your dedication to science education!

One more resource that looks really interesting:

  • Go Astronomy – a site with a wealth of astronomy information and the great picture on this post

Enjoy our wonderful universe!

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Educational Resources for Space

Education, Space Travel
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, August 3, 2015
6:36 pm


Recently, I received some fun suggestions from Jasmine Dyoco from EducatorLabs via the Feedback page on this site. Intrigued by some of the Space Travel posts on this blog, she suggested a number of great links to educational sites related to Space and science:

I was impressed by the Vision of EducatorLabs:

EducatorLabs is comprised of school librarians and media/market research specialists who work as curators and conservators of the scholastic web. In previous decades, our resource collections were finite and we knew our card catalog backwards and forwards; nowadays, modern technology provides us with a seemingly infinite inventory of educational resources. Unfortunately, there simply are no comprehensive card catalogs for the internet and, sadly, many untapped resources go undiscovered by most teachers.

Naturally, we feel compelled to bridge the gap. Our mission is to assist educators, for whom time is a precious commodity, in discovering valuable resources of substance for classroom use. We also seek to strengthen connections among the educational web by acting as courier: because of our high standards, our approach is grassroots and hands-on in nature.

As a father of six children, all of whom graduated from public schools in Mesa, AZ, I have deep respect for dedicated educators who go above and beyond their “job descriptions” to offer students outstanding educational experience. And now, as my grandchildren are growing up, I am so grateful for teachers and schools that are willing to go the extra mile to help young minds learn and grow and spread their wings of discovery!

Thank you, Jasmine!

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Butterfly Nebula: 3 Lightyear Wingspan

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, June 7, 2013
10:09 am

The immense distances and intense beauty in the universe never cease to amaze me.  The following image of the Butterfly Nebula is today’s NASA photograph.

The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth’s night sky are often named for flowers or insects. Though its wingspan covers over 3 light-years, NGC 6302 is no exception. With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees C, the dying central star of this particular planetary nebula has become exceptionally hot, shining brightly in ultraviolet light but hidden from direct view by a dense torus of dust.

This sharp and colorful close-up of the dying star’s nebula was recorded in 2009 by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3, installed during the final shuttle servicing mission. Cutting across a bright cavity of ionized gas, the dust torus surrounding the central star is near the center of this view, almost edge-on to the line-of-sight. Molecular hydrogen has been detected in the hot star’s dusty cosmic shroud. NGC 6302 lies about 4,000 light-years away in the arachnologically correct constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius).

Butterfly nebula

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All in a Day’s Work – In Orbit

Space Travel
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, May 13, 2013
7:32 pm

I love this photo of Chris Cassidy, one of our great NASA astronauts, at work.  



The NASA web site explains:

Repairing the Station in Orbit Expedition 35 Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy (pictured) and Tom Marshburn (out of frame) completed a spacewalk at 2:14 p.m. EDT May 11, 2013 to inspect and replace a pump controller box on the International Space Station’s far port truss (P6) leaking ammonia coolant. The two NASA astronauts began the 5-hour, 30-minute spacewalk at 8:44 a.m.

A leak of ammonia coolant from the area near or at the location of a Pump and Flow Control Subassembly was detected on Thursday, May 9, prompting engineers and flight controllers to begin plans to support the spacewalk. The device contains the mechanical systems that drive the cooling functions for the port truss.

What a thrill it must be for these guys!

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Humanoid Robot in Space

Identity, Space Travel
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, May 10, 2013
9:22 am

In the NASA photo below, Expedition 35 Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy has a few light moments with the Robonaut 2 in the Destiny Laboratory onboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station.

Robonaut 2, or R2, is a dexterous humanoid robot built and designed at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Sent to the International Space Station in 2011 with the intention of aiding astronauts on dangerous tasks and freeing them from some the more mundane work, upgrades to the R2 system continue to produce novel advances in the field of robotics. 

IronMan he isn’t, but it’s fun to see advances in robotic technology. And even robots have identity.


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Secretive X-37B Space Plane Launches

Author: Mark Dixon
Sunday, March 6, 2011
4:22 pm

Space.com reported yesterday that the U.S. Air Force’s second X-37B robotic space plane blasted off from Florida on the afternoon of March 5th on a mystery mission.  There was lots of secrecy around this launch, but space.com provided the following photo.  I find it interesting that this little shuttle-like spacecraft could just about fit in the room I’m sitting in right now.  I look forward to learning more of how this type of vehicle will be used in the future.

The x-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is an unmanned space test vehicle for the USAF.

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NASA: ISS Crew in space observe national moment of silence

Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, January 10, 2011
9:48 pm

NASA: ISS Crew in space observe national moment of silence.

Great to see that respect for the victims of last Saturday’s violence extends beyond our traditional boundaries.

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