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Views of Space Webquest

I. Introduction

"On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins departed for the Moon. Four days later, Armstrong and Aldrin landed their Lunar Module in the Moon's Sea of Tranquility.

Never before had a single event been anticipated by so many people - reportedly 600 million transfixed viewers.

The Radiotelescope at Parkes in rural NSW was the most powerful receiving dish in the Southern Hemisphere and the only one to handle TVs broadband requirements. NASA had intended to use 'The Dish' as a 'back up' to its prime receiver at Goldstone, California. Due to a last minute change in the Apollo 11 flight schedule, the
Parkes Radiotelescope became the only hope in conveying man's first steps on the Moon and those words 'Houston, the Eagle has landed'. 

Armstrong and Aldrin landed their Lunar Module in the moon's Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong, and then Aldrin, stepped onto the surface and became the first humans to leave their footprints in the lunar dust.

The transmission had to overcome problems such as power outages and a freak wind storm."

                                ... or so goes the story from the film The Dish.
 II. Task

Your task is to create a Presentation that describes a specific part of the electromagnetic spectrum and an observatory/telescope that uses that specific wavelength. You will include details such as wavelength and frequency values, practical uses in daily life, discoveries from current technologies, and technical information about how a telescope or observatory collects light from distant places in the universe.

You will work in your assigned lab group. Each group will be assigned a part of the electromagnetic spectrum: radio, microwave, near-infrared, far-infrared, visible, ultraviolet, x-ray, or gamma ray.

The Presentation will be graded as a group effort. However, individual performance will also be evaluated on the basis of whether you are on task every day, participating in all facets of the project, showing a willingness to cooperate and compromise with others, and sharing the workload of the group.

 III. Process

Step 1 -  Sign up for a topic here. Research your observatory or telescope. Use the
guidelines to see what information you will need to collect. Set up a Google Doc within your group to divide up responsibility and collaborate on research and note taking. Share the document with your teacher ( so it can be graded.

The sites listed below are good sources for space images and photographs, especially across the entire EM spectrum. Be sure to cite sources and give credit where necessary.

Astronomy Picture of the Day and Image Galleries

Try for information on all the topics listed above.

Step 2 - Create a Google presentation. Be sure to have every group member collaborate on one document and share this document with your teacher. 

Groups will present their observatories to the class- beginning with radio waves and ending with gamma rays (longest to shortest wavelength). An exemplary presentation will have the following qualities:

  • length between five and six minutes
  • active participation from all group members
  • colorful, neat, organized visual display
  • group uses Google Presentation
  • group invites teacher to the presentation in a timely manner
  • correct spelling and grammar
  • sources and credits for information and pictures/photographs
  • all the required information (see guidelines)

IV. Conclusion

Now that presentations are complete, we need to think about the bigger picture.  Research the following questions using the resources listed below. We will use a backchannel to discuss these topics in class. our grade for this section will be based on how informed your opinions are. Consider taking notes during your research to assist you in your discussion.

1. Should we use tax payer money to explore the universe?

2. Should we focus on one part of the EM Spectrum or explore all the forms of radiation?