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Astronomy Education Review Celebrates 10th Anniversary

October 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Astronomy Education Review (AER), the online journal of astronomy and space-science education published by the American Astronomical Society (AAS), celebrated 10 years of promoting science literacy last week.

Editor-in-Chief Thomas Hockey credits AER’s success to the wisdom of the founding editors. “Andrew Fraknoi and Sidney Wolff saw astronomy educators laboring in splendid isolation and decided that a research journal would unite the field,” he says. “They were right.” AER now publishes the overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed research papers about astronomy teaching and learning, by authors from around the world.

AER supports the science-literacy goals of the National Research Council’s “New Worlds, New Horizons” decadal survey, which concluded that “a more rigorous program of assessment is needed of outcomes and efficacy across the entire spectrum of astronomical education.” It also contributes to the America COMPETES Act’s goal to develop a scientifically literate workforce for the 21st century.

Full Story: http://aas.org/press/pr2011Oct11

Map of Moon Reveals Titanium Treasure Troves

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

A map of the Moon combining observations in visible and ultraviolet wavelengths shows a treasure trove of areas rich in Titanium ores. Not only is Titanium a valuable mineral, it is key to helping scientists unravel the mysteries of the Moon’s interior.  Mark Robinson and Brett Denevi will be presenting the results from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission today at the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences.

“Looking up at the Moon, its surface appears painted with shades of grey – at least to the human eye. But with the right instruments, the Moon can appear colourful,” said Robinson, of Arizona State University. “The maria appear reddish in some places and blue in others.  Although subtle, these colour variations tell us important things about the chemistry and evolution of the lunar surface.  They indicate the titanium and iron abundance, as well as the maturity of a lunar soil.”

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Wide Angle Camera (WAC) is imaging the surface in seven different wavelengths at a resolution of between 100 and 400 metres per pixel. Specific minerals reflect or absorb strongly certain parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, so the wavelengths detected by LROC WAC help scientists better understand the chemical composition of the lunar surface.

Full Story: http://www.europlanet-eu.org/outreach/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=360&Itemid=41

Statement on Importance of Supporting Planetary Exploration

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

The AAS Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS), the world’s largest organization of professional planetary scientists, today issued a statement highlighting the discoveries of highly successful planetary missions over the last decade and the importance of supporting ongoing and future missions in light of recent budgetary discussions within NASA including the James Webb Space Telescope.

The DPS leadership stressed the importance of following the priorities identified by the planetary sciences community in the decadal survey (“Vision and Voyages”) that laid out a prioritized plan for solar system exploration from 2013 to 2022.

Full Story: http://www.astronews.us/2011-09-14-1140.html