We present the joining of two projects (Stars go to school - SVAS and Esploracosmo - EC) of INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Trieste in a modern tool for education and outreach. Both projects aim to improve teaching of astronomy in schools, thanks to astronomical observations combined with the explanation of the fundamental physical laws of the Universe.
SVAS allows students and teachers to perform real time observations from school, managing our remote robotic telescopes under the supervision of an astronomer in video call from the dome. Students can perform a real observation session and, thanks to the possibility to interact in real time, they become the protagonists of all the steps of the observations.
Esploracosmo is the interactive didactic laboratory set up in our institute, it can host 25 students and is equipped with PCs connected to a specific network that allows many applications. Esploracosmo is tightly connected with the outreach and educational section of the European Virtual Observatory - VO, giving access to the archives of the major telescopes in the world. In Esploracosmo we combine real (remote) and virtual observing, work with images from SVAS telescopes, tools and data from the VO and images from our local archives. Students can not only take images by themselves but, most importantly, they can analyze data by using VO tools.
The main targets of SVAS and Esploracosmo are middle and high school students up to University. Our projects aim to diffuse astrophysicist’s knowledge to students, through activities as similar as possible to the real scientific research, with the corollary of “pleasure of discovery”. Working with SVAS and Esploracosmo students can acquire raw data by familiarizing with astronomical instruments, process the data learning data reduction techniques and then analyze them by using VO tools.Moreover, making use of dedicated software, the observations are combined with the explanation of the fundamental physical laws of the Universe (e.g. gravitation). 
During the past school year more than 600 students (ages 13-18), in addition to the students of the master degree in astrophysics and some amateurs astronomers, participated in our activities.
Many remote educational telescopes are now available around the world, we think remote observing and VO is the winning combination for astronomy education. Teacher and student feedbacks confirm our idea.
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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Combining virtual and remote astronomical observing for kids

Giulia Iafrate   INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Trieste

Massimo Ramella   INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Trieste

We present the joining of two projects (Stars go to school - SVAS and Esploracosmo - EC) of INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Trieste in a modern tool for education and outreach. Both projects aim to improve teaching of astronomy in schools, thanks to astronomical observations combined with the explanation of the fundamental physical laws of the Universe.
SVAS allows students and teachers to perform real time observations from school, managing our remote robotic telescopes under the supervision of an astronomer in video call from the dome. Students can perform a real observation session and, thanks to the possibility to interact in real time, they become the protagonists of all the steps of the observations.
Esploracosmo is the interactive didactic laboratory set up in our institute, it can host 25 students and is equipped with PCs connected to a specific network that allows many applications. Esploracosmo is tightly connected with the outreach and educational section of the European Virtual Observatory - VO, giving access to the archives of the major telescopes in the world. In Esploracosmo we combine real (remote) and virtual observing, work with images from SVAS telescopes, tools and data from the VO and images from our local archives. Students can not only take images by themselves but, most importantly, they can analyze data by using VO tools.
The main targets of SVAS and Esploracosmo are middle and high school students up to University. Our projects aim to diffuse astrophysicist’s knowledge to students, through activities as similar as possible to the real scientific research, with the corollary of “pleasure of discovery”. Working with SVAS and Esploracosmo students can acquire raw data by familiarizing with astronomical instruments, process the data learning data reduction techniques and then analyze them by using VO tools.Moreover, making use of dedicated software, the observations are combined with the explanation of the fundamental physical laws of the Universe (e.g. gravitation). 
During the past school year more than 600 students (ages 13-18), in addition to the students of the master degree in astrophysics and some amateurs astronomers, participated in our activities.
Many remote educational telescopes are now available around the world, we think remote observing and VO is the winning combination for astronomy education. Teacher and student feedbacks confirm our idea.

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