astronomy education

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The oldest depiction of the universe

This is one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th Century and the oldest depiction of the universe so far. Called the Nebra sky disc, named for the town where it was found in 1999, the artifact has been dated back to 1600 BC. It was buried about 3,600 years ago but could be much older. It has been associated with the European Bronze Age Unetice culture.

When it was first crafted, it would have been golden brown because the disc itself is made from bronze. Over time, the it corroded to green. Fortunately, the symbols are made of gold and thanks to them we know it was possibly an astronomical instrument.
There’s Sun, a central to northern European Bronze Age religion and the crescent moon (in ancient times, the moon was used to represent time). The clump between the sun and moon are thought to be the Pleiades constellation, which was an imporant constellation for Bronze Age farmers because it appeared and disappeared in important farming times. So the Nebra disc could have told people the right time to plant and harvest.

What’s more, astronomer Wolfhard Schlosser, at the University of Hamburg, found that if you draw a line from the center of the disc to the top and bottom end of the right arc, the angle between the two ends measures exactly 82 degrees. And it’s the same value for the left golden arc. This number is very important for only a small group of people who live at the same latitude as the current German town of Nebra since it’s the angle between where the sun sets on the horizon in mid-winter and mid-summer.

The bronze disc combines an extraordinary comprehension of astronomical phenomena enabling to peak into the early knowledge of the heavens. It’s   shocking it was almost lost to the black market.

vimeo

Videographer Sean Parker shows off some of the timelapse sky shots produced during his video and photography course in Arizona and Utah last year - and promises a similar course upcoming this year for anyone interested.

I help grade work for an Astronomy for Education Majors class and let me tell you nothing is more fucking terrifying than a future science teacher thinking all of the planets and the sun orbit mars

Favorite YouTube Channels: #1

Crash Course is an educational youtube channel created by John and Hank Green (vlogbrothers). In 10-15 minute videos, they teach quick courses for all of the following:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • U.S. Government and Politics
  • Astronomy
  • World History
  • Psychology
  • Literature
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • U.S. History
  • Chemistry

They have a section that contains playlists for each subject that you can find here

Their content is fantastic because you can really tell how much they love what they’re talking about and they always keep an upbeat attitude. It’s nearly impossible to become bored while listening/watching them. I highly suggest this channel to anyone who is looking for a fun way to learn any of the subjects listed above.

A sea of galaxies

Nearly as deep as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, which contains about 10 000 galaxies, this incredible image from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals thousands of colourful galaxies in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). This vibrant view of the early Universe was captured as part of the Frontier Fields campaign, which aims to investigate galaxy clusters in more detail than ever before, and to explore some of the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

If you zoom into the image, you really see how almost every speck is a galaxy, an island of stars: 

Image copyright: ESA/Hubble & NASA

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