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May 2004

Cool Cosmos
Infrared astronomy (come over to the Cool side, Luke!).
Grade Level: Pre-K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12


Cool Cosmos provides classroom activities, experiments and lessons that attract students into the world of infrared astronomy.
This very "Cool" interactive site is out of this world! It uses some snappy programming and is available in Flash or html and English or Spanish.
Navigating this site is not as complicated as it looks at first glimpse. Users can manually scroll to the various sections by placing the cursor on the dial and dragging it up or down. Each area on the wheel then reveals a list of its contents. In case you run into trouble, there is a handy sitemap and a help link.

Learning about the world of infrared astronomy may sound impossible tedious to some but Cool Cosmos makes it interesting and inviting to students and teachers. The "Cosmic Classroom" provides classroom activities, experiments and lesson plans. For instance, the Ritter experiment is a simple classroom activity that leads the students through an experiment similar to the one in which Johann Wilhelm Ritter first discovered ultraviolet light and the Herschel experiment where students can discover infrared for themselves. Other lessons include topics such as heat and temperature, the benefits of infrared technology and its application in a variety of areas, multiwavelength astronomy and more. An Infrared Astronomy Timeline allows students to explore the major advances in the field of Infrared Astronomy from the discovery of infrared light in 1800 to the present. "Kids' Cosmos" includes information about infrared technology, a section devoted to Spitzer Space Telescope that includes how it was built, the importance and goals of its mission, stories from space, games and more. The image galleries contain "The Infrared Zoo" that allows students to see the difference between warm and cold blooded animals; "Infrared Yellowstone" with images and videos; "Multi-wavelength" shows celestial objects observed in different wavelengths; and "Infrared Portraits" shows how people look through an infrared camera. If that isn't enough there is a video gallery with Ask an Astronomer Videos, Infrared Volcanoes, Infrared Flying Model Rocket and much more. This site is so rich in content that you just need to explore to see the depth of the information.


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