Activities

Why do telescopes come in different sizes?

Telescopes come in all shapes and sizes, this activity will describe the three different types of telescope in the LCO network and why we need them.

robotic-telescopes

What is a robotic telescope?

In this activity students will learn what a robotic telescope is and specifically how observations are made on the Las Cumbres Observatory telescope network.

One of the 0.4m telescopes in the LCO educational network

The Search for Dark Skies

In this activity students will learn about the Las Cumbres Observatory and where the telescopes are located, leading them to consider the impact of the environment on our view of the stars.

Globe night and day

The Cosmic Distance Ladder: Parallax

Determining the position of a star or other object in space is an important concept in astronomy. During this activity you will learn how the distances to nearby stars can be measured using the parallax effect, and put this method into practise to determine the distance to nearby stars.

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Star in a Box (Paper-based)

Have you ever wondered what happens to stars as they get older? Explore the evolution of stars with different masses.

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Star in a Box

Have you ever wondered what happens to the different stars in the night sky as they get older? This activity lets you explore the life-cycle of stars.

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Return to Earth: Build a Lander

Students will work in groups to design, test and build a model lander to safely transport their “astronaut” to Earth. This activity will provide your class with an exciting context within which to explore the effects of gravity, air resistance and friction on movement.

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Preparing an Observation Request on LCO

Students will carry out an observing session on the LCO robotic telescope network, using astronomical catalogues and planetarium software to determine target objects suitable for observation with the instruments available, within the allotted time window. Students will select appropriate observation parameters including filters and exposure times.

1m

Plotting a Supernova Light curve

A supernova is the explosive death of a massive star. Although they only burn for a short amount of time, supernovae can tell us a lot about the Universe, including how to measure distance in space. In this activity you will plot the changing brightness of the object and interpret your data to study how these objects evolve.

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Plotting an Asteroid Light Curve

One of the things we hope to learn through observation of near-Earth objects is their exact rotation rate. We can do by taking a series of observations of the object over time, and plotting the change in brightness. Using Asteroid Tracker you can help collect observations of interesting NEO targets, then plot and interpret your data to measure the rotation period of an asteroid.

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Play Bingo with Charles Messier

Play a game of bingo and learn about the many wonders of the cosmos!

messier bingo

Paper Solar System

This activity demonstrates the scale of the Universe, starting with our closest cosmic neighbour the Moon and travelling through the Solar System to the nearest star. The vast scale of the Universe makes space travel beyond our Solar System almost impossible and demonstrates the importance of telescopes like Las Cumbres Observatory.

Earth Moon student demonstration

Observing the Sky with Robotic Telescopes

In this activity students will learn about a range of cosmic objects, play a game of Messier Bingo and use the Las Cumbres Observatory to observe the night sky.

Star Cluster

Measuring the Age of the Universe

The discovery of the expanding Universe was one of the greatest revelations in astronomy. During this activity students will relive Hubble’s monumental discovery by using real supernova spectra to create a famous Hubble Diagram.

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Measure the diameter of the Sun

In this activity you will measure how fast the Sun moves to caclulate how big the Sun appears in the sky. All you need are some household items and about 20 minutes on a sunny day.

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Measure the Age of Ancient Cosmic Explosions

In this project you will calculate the age of a supernova remnant using Las Cumbres Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope observations. You will compare the remnant's radius in images taken several years apart to determine the expansion velocity and use this to calculate how long ago the supernova explosion occurred.

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How to Find Images Using the LCO Science Archive

There are many thousands of astronomical data files in our archive. We've created an archive search page that lets you limit your search by different attributes. This guide will walk you through the steps to finding the images you want.

How to Create Stunning Colour Images of the Cosmos (Using Pixlr)

This guide will show you how to create beautiful colour images using free online software.

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How to Create Stunning Colour Images of the Cosmos (Using Photoshop)

This article will tell you how to use Adobe Photoshop to make high quality color images with your astronomical data.

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How to Create Stunning Colour Images of the Cosmos (Using GIMP)

This guide will show you how to create beautiful colour images using free software that can be downloaded from the Internet.

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How Big is the Solar System?

How long would it take to travel to the Moon? Could you travel to the edge of the Solar System and beyond? In this activity students learn about the size of the Solar System, beginning with the Earth and Moon and reaching out to encompass the entire Solar System.

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Down2Earth: Making Impact Craters

The aim of this activity is to understand the effect the mass and velocity of an impacting object has on the resulting crater, in terms of diameter, depth and ejecta rays and relate this information to the craters on the surfaces of Earth and the Moon.

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Create a Space Poster with Serol

In this activity, you'll use a space image you've taken with Serol and create a poster to showcase what you've learned.

Serol poster template outline

Create a Hubble Tuning Fork diagram

In this activity you will create stunning colour images of galaxies and add them to the Tuning Fork template to recreate the famous Hubble image.

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Craters in the classroom

After carrying out this activity, students will understand the effect the mass, velocity and angle of an impacting object has on the resulting crater, in terms of diameter, depth and ejecta rays, and relate this information to the craters on the surfaces of Earth and the Moon.

DIY impact crater

Calculating the Age of Solar System Objects

How old are the objects within our Solar System? One method scientists use to answer this important question is counting the number of craters on their surface. This information, combined with the time it takes for craters to form on each body, gives us a strong estimate how old the object is. In this activity students will put this method into practise to calculate the age of five bodies within our Solar System.

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Astronomical Seeing - How Good are the Observing Conditions?

Have you ever wondered why you see the stars in the night sky more clearly on some nights than on others? You are about to measure quantitatively how the Earth’s atmosphere affects the quality of sky images, and thereby imposes fundamental limitations to ground-based astronomical observations.

Astronaut Training: Taste

There are no refrigerators or ovens on the International Space Station, but that isn’t the only reason that eating can be a strange experience for astronauts. Due to lack of gravity and shifting fluids, things can taste very different in space. In this activity students will carry out a taste test to explore how our senses affect the flavour of our food, and what this might reveal about eating in space.

Astronaut Training: Taste activity during Camp Cosmos

Astronaut Training: Dexterity

Working in teams, students must complete a jigsaw puzzle and reveal the hidden word as quickly as possible, while their dexterity is impaired, to simulate the difficulties faced by astronauts when attempting to fix satellites and instruments wearing bulky spacesuits. Assembling a puzzle quickly and correctly will help them understand the importance of dexterity, hand-eye coordination and communication -- essential skills for an astronaut!

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