PostedMonday, June 15, 2020 at 9:03 PM
For this maker challenge, students investigate Python and Jupyter Notebook to analyze real astronomical images in order to calculate the interstellar distance to a star cluster across the Milky Way from our own Solar System. They learn how to write Python code that runs in a Jupyter Notebook so they can determine the brightness of stars in an astronomical image. Next, students complete the functions in the project to determine how far away a single star in the cluster is from Earth. This is a chance to try hands-on astronomical research techniques in the field of aperture photometry. The real astronomical image data will be directly manipulated and analyzed by code the students create. Groups compare their final images and results to answer questions about the astronomy of stars and stellar distances within the Milky Way. Students experience their discoveries the same way Harvard scientist Harlow Shapley first learned the true size and shape of the Milky Way.