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Science, Evolution, and Creationism, by the National Academies, focuses on teaching evolution in today's classrooms. Check out the other publications in our online store.


postcards from the observatory

What's it like to use a telescope at an observatory?

The Gemini 8-meter telescope
NOAO/AURA/NSF

Observatories are located in some of the most remote places on Earth. Scientists need to be far away from the city lights to see the faintest stars and galaxies. Telescopes are often built on the tops of mountains and in desert regions, high above the moisture in the atmosphere. Dark dry skies and good weather are the ideal conditions for learning about the universe.

Astronomers typically spend a few nights at a time, up to several times per year using the telescopes at these isolated observatories. With modern digital cameras and other scientific instruments, scientists can gather so much information in such a short time that they spend the rest of the year just trying to understand it.

Several researchers who are gathering data to support NASA's Kepler satellite are sending virtual postcards from observatories around the globe to Windows to the Universe, describing their experiences. Take a look at the messages linked below, and check back often for new postcards!


Kepler Field from the dark sky park from Joanna Molenda-Zakowicz, May 6, 2010

Watching stars pulsate from Tenerife from Katrien Uytterhoeven, June 5, 2010

Winter observing in July from Katrien Uytterhoeven, July 4, 2010

Team Observing for Two Weeks from Orlagh Creevey, July 26, 2010

Stellar Properties and Lone Star Monsoons from Katrien Uytterhoeven, August 1, 2010

Staring at Kepler's eclipsing binaries from Steven Bloemen, June 18, 2011

Measuring the sizes of Kepler stars from Daniel Huber, July 06, 2011

Last modified July 6, 2011 by Travis Metcalfe.

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Kepler Field from the dark sky park

Hi, from the dark sky park in the Izera Mountains of Poland! Do you know how many stars there are in the sky? How dark the darkness can be? Where in the sky the Kepler space telescope is looking? You...more

Watching stars pulsate from Tenerife

I am Katrien, a Belgian astronomer. I have been working in several European countries and I am currently based in Paris, France. My research is very exciting as I study stars that pulsate! This means...more

Winter observing in July

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Team Observing for Two Weeks

Hi to all from the IAC80 telescope on the island of Tenerife, hidden away on the Canary Islands. Last month, one of my friends, Katrien, was here and she told you a little about observing stars that pulsate....more

Stellar Properties and Lone Star Monsoons

Hi from McDonald Observatory in Texas! From the Lone Star State I am observing several dozen targets of the Kepler space mission. All the stars are asteroseismic targets, which means that they show stellar...more

Staring at Kepler's eclipsing binaries

I am Steven, an astronomer from the University of Leuven, Belgium. For 3 nights, I have been observing with the largest telescope of the Calar Alto Observatory. The observatory is located near Almeria,...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA