Just in case you haven't been looking at the calendar, the beginning of school is just around the corner. This month's newsletter is packed with information that we hope will be helpful for you. We have added many new resources to the website, ranging from the anniversary of the Krakatoa Eruption to the newest Dwarf planet. We also announce our professional development events this fall, as well as opportunities offered through the National Earth Science Teachers Association and other partners. Please enjoy, and we hope your school year gets off to a great start.
One hundred and twenty five years ago, a perfectly cone-shaped volcano projecting out of the sea between the islands of Java and Sumatra, Indonesia exploded with activity. That cone-shaped volcano was Krakatoa. This month marks the anniversary of Krakatoa’s most spectacular eruption in recorded history.
On August 26-27, 1883, after months of earthquakes, venting steam and small eruptions, the volcano exploded violently, ejecting 25 cubic kilometers of rock and ash. The eruption was so loud that people as far away as Perth, Australia heard the racket. After the eruption was over, the once cone-shaped volcano had been reduced to a small island, which eventually subsided into the ocean.
The eruption caused a tsunami with 140 foot waves and the destruction of many coastal villages. It also caused a temporary change in global climate by spewing aerosols into the atmosphere along with the ash and rock. Aerosols can linger in the stratosphere and spread out around the world, blocking incoming solar radiation, and cooling the climate.
Aerosols affect climate. Aerosols released from volcanoes can temporarily cool climate on a global scale. Other volcanic eruptions have caused a temporary cooling of climate as well. When Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, so many aerosols make their way into the atmosphere that the following year was terribly chilly and became known as the Year Without a Summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Aerosols eventually fall out of the atmosphere as acid rain and the climate warms again.
The Windows to the Universe team is working on developing a new section of the website on natural hazards, which will hopefully heighten awareness of these hazards and how we can prepare for them or respond to them. Tsunamis, avalanches, drought, tornadoes, underwater landslides, disease outbreaks, and asteroid/meteor impacts are only a few of the topics that this new section will cover. New developments on the site which will be incorporated into this new section include: Blizzards, History of Large Blizzards of North America, Blizzard Safety information, Foehn or Chinook winds, and Microbursts. Tornado and thunderstorm image galleries are coming soon. This new section will also include classroom activities relating to Natural Hazards. Check out these new pages and be sure to be on the lookout for the unveiling of the brand new section, which we will announce in advance through this newsletter.
As a summer 2008 intern at Windows to the Universe from the University of North Dakota, these past ten weeks have provided me with an excellent opportunity to help establish a brand new Natural Hazards section on the site as well as update current pages. This has been a great learning experience where learning how to convey science to a wide audience has been a challenge while it has given me great feeling of completion and learning.
Our Solar System now has four dwarf planets. The International Astronomical Union announced in July that the Kuiper Belt Object named Makemake will join the ranks of the dwarf planets, along with Pluto, Eris, and Ceres. Makemake is any icy world with a reddish tint which, like Pluto, orbits on the outer fringe of the Solar System beyond the planet Neptune. Makemake is named after a god from the myths of the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island. Discovered in March 2005, Makemake is about 3/4ths the size (diameter) of Pluto. The new dwarf planet may have a transient atmosphere that "snows out" onto the surface during the colder portions of Makemake's 310 year long orbit. Click here to read more about Makemake, or here to see a data table for this dwarf planet.
This awesome section includes: Astronomy, Understanding the Sky, Constellations, Sky maps, Stars, Star Dust, Planets around other stars, Strange stuff in space, Galaxies, The Cosmos, News, Images, and MUCH MORE! en Ventanas al Universo en Español!
Please note that with the launching of The Universe -in Spanish-, the Spanish home page has been updated and now mirrors the English home page. The Universe is found on the top right corner/frame were “Mitología” use to be. Now the “Mitología” section has been moved to left side of the home page, and is now part of "blue" text list under top left stars Teacher Resources, Donate and Support us.
Have you played our educational games recently? There are several games that explore atmosphere and climate: Climate Crossword and Weather Crossword puzzles, Atmosphere and Clouds Word Search. Carbon Cycle Game allows students to travel all around the carbon cycle and answer quiz question on their way. We also have a classroom activity based on this game.
For the International Polar Year, we've created Polar Word Search and Polar Jigsaw Puzzles. Space-themed games include ever popular Space Sense, Junk in Space, more challenging Order It Up and, of course, Planets Sudoku. It was called "Nine Planets Sudoku" before Pluto was demoted, but you cannot have Sudoku with eight planets, so we renamed it "Eight Planets and a Dwarf" Sudoku!
Do you have a great idea for a new educational game? Let us know!
Watch out for Poles in Space - a new section on Windows to the Universe that will be completed soon! With support from the NASA International Polar Year Education Program, we are in the process of developing new content on the website describing the poles of bodies in the solar system, including the Sun, planets, and major moons. Many of these pages are already available on the site. Our Earth's Polar Regions section provides in-depth information about Earth's poles, as well as a link to our developing Poles in Space section. New content developed for this section includes information about the poles of Mars, and research underway there with the new Phoenix Mars Lander, and the strange hexagon observed at the north pole of Saturn. We will keep you posted as we add new content to this interesting section of the site!
Join us in October for the second annual Windows to the Universe Great World Wide Star Count. This international event encourages everyone to go outside, look skywards after dark, count the stars they see in certain constellations, and report what they see online. During the 2007 inaugural event, over 16,000 individuals from 64 countries and all 7 continents participated in this campaign that measures light pollution globally. Star Count is designed to raise awareness about the night sky and encourage learning in astronomy. All the information needed to participate is available on the Star Count Web site. Participation involves use of a simple protocol and an easy data entry form. At the conclusion of the event a map will be generated highlighting the results of this exciting citizen science campaign. Mark your calendars and plan on joining thousands of other students, families, and citizen scientists counting stars this fall. The Great World Wide Star Count will be held from October 20 through November 3, 2008. For more information visit www.windows.ucar.edu/starcount or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will you be at the NSTA Regional Conferences in either Portland, OR (November 20-22, 2008) or Cincinnati, OH (December 4-6, 2008)? If so, we invite you to participate in one or more of the Windows to the Universe sessions listed below.
Portland NSTA Regional Conference
Cincinnati NSTA Regional Conference
Registration is now open for NCAR Climate Discovery Online Courses for educators.
Are you seeking a K-12 professional development opportunity that will enhance your qualifications, competency, and self-confidence in integrating Earth system science, climate, and global change into your science classroom? This fall, NCAR offers a series of seven-week online courses for middle and high school teachers that combine geoscience content, information about current climate research, easy to implement hands-on activities, and group discussion. The courses run concurrently beginning September 18 and run through November 8.
There is a $225 fee per course. For complete course schedule and registration information, visit ecourses.ncar.ucar.edu.
As I'm sure some of you are aware, there are efforts underway in the United States to develop frameworks for literacy in the geosciences. Several years ago, the Ocean science and education community developed the framework for Ocean Literacy, which has been received very positively by the educational community. Building on this, NOAA and Project 2061 initiated a parallel effort in 2007 to develop a Framework for Climate Literacy. Working with over 100 members of the scientific, education, and policy community, we have just completed the framework for Atmospheric Science Literacy (with support from NSF), available online at http://eo.ucar.edu/asl/ASL_Framework.pdf. We are now working on formatting this final document into a nice brochure layout, and will let you know when we have that ready. The first draft of another framework - for Earth Science Literacy - is nearing completion, based on a 2 week online conference held in May and a community workshop held in St. Louis in July, led by Dr. Michael Wysession. This latter draft framework should be available for community comment in September. Armed with these frameworks, we hope to develop a framework for Earth System Science literacy during 2009.
Table of Contents
Poles in Space!
Fall CD online
NESTA at Fall NSTAs
Teacher SubmissionsClick here to submit your ideas to the newsletter
Announcements from PartnersClick here to submit information about your program to the newsletter
NESTA is delighted to announce its events at the NSTA Regional Conferences this fall. NESTA will offer both a Share-a-Thon and a Rock and Mineral Raffle at each of the NSTA Regional Conferences. Please see the table below for a listing of these events. Anyone can attend these events - there is no fee or membership requirement (other than that associated with attending the NSTA Conference). But - speaking of membership - if you aren't already a member of NESTA, you should be! NESTA is a nonprofit professional educational organization, founded in 1983, whose purpose is the advancement, stimulation, extension, improvement, and coordination of Earth Science education at all educational levels. NESTA offers resources and programs for Earth and Space Science educators across the US, including events at the Regional and National NSTAs, a quarterly journal (The Earth Scientist) packed with classroom activities you can use right away in your classroom, monthly newsletters, and representation of your interests, needs, and concerns through numerous national professional societies and committees. Find out more about NESTA membership here, or join today (for only $20/year)!
Charlotte NSTA Regional Conference
Portland NSTA Regional Conference
Cincinnati NSTA Regional Conference
The QuestBridge National College Match helps outstanding low-income high school seniors gain admission and full four-year scholarships to some of the nation’s leading colleges. QuestBridge works with selective colleges that are committed to opening their doors to high-achieving students regardless of family income. If you know students who are concerned about tuition costs, QuestBridge can help them gain generous financial aid packages that cover 100% of demonstrated financial need, making them very affordable for low-income students. The QuestBridge National College Match application is tailored to enable high-achieving low-income students to highlight their strengths and the obstacles they have overcome. The application is available free of charge on the QuestBridge website (www.questbridge.org) starting August 15, and is due September 30, 2008. QuestBridge is a 501(c)(3) non-profit program. Our organization has worked since 1994 to connect outstanding students with college admissions, scholarships, and other educational opportunities.
Please join teacher Missy Holzer (NESTA Secretary) and the research team from the "High Arctic Change '08" PolarTREC Expedition in Live from IPY! Event-- a real-time web seminar, from Svalbard, Norway! Missy and the team will be talking about their glacier-lake-river research and life in the high arctic, and you will have the ability to ask questions of her and the researchers. Live from IPY! events are free and open to any member of the public.
This special event will take place 6 August 2008, and will start at 10:00 AM Alaska Daylight Time [8:00 AM HDT, 11:00 AM PDT, 12:00 PM MDT, 1:00 PM CDT, 2:00 PM EDT].
Live from IPY! events are easy to participate in, and require only a computer and/or a phone to participate. Detailed instructions for joining the event are available on the Live from IPY! website: http://www.polartrec.com/live-from-ipy/overview and will be sent to you after registering for the event.
Register now to participate! at: http://www.polartrec.com/live-from-ipy/registration
If you have any questions about participating or need any help getting your computer ready for the presentation, please do not hesitate to contact Kristin Timm (email@example.com) or Janet Warburton (firstname.lastname@example.org). They will be happy to help and look forward to your participation!
The source of this material is Windows to the Universe, at http://www.windows.ucar.edu/ at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). © 1995-1999, 2000 The Regents of the University of Michigan; © 2000-07 University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. All Rights Reserved.