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  1. Chasing Comets: Wednesday, 2015-01-14, 18:00 UK time
    The solar system is littered with Ice. The bulk of this material orbits quietly in the outer Solar System, but sometimes, something disturbs the ice and the come plunging in toward the Sun. In this Hangout, we will discuss comets, how we explore them, and how they brought water to worlds like Earth.
    Highlighted Program: Rosetta
    Highlighted Inquiry Activity: Follow Rosetta through solar system with Celestia, control Philea Activity
    Additional Activities:  Build a comet, Eyes on the Solar System
  2. The four forces & standard Model of Particles: Wednesday, 2015-02-11, 18:00 UK time
    Everything in our universe is made up of a very small numbers of particles, and is controlled by just four forces. In this Hangout, we will discuss these basic building blocks of everything.
    Highlighted Programs: QuarkNet
    Highlighted Facility: CERN
    Inquiry Activity: Build a cloud chamber (or watch/analyze video of a cloud chamber)
  3. Star (and planet) Formation: Wednesday, 2015-03-11, 18:00 UK time
    Our universe started as a fog of particles, but slight variations in density allowed the formation of stars, galaxies, and the large-scale structures of the universe. In this Hangout we’ll discuss early structure formation and fast forward to today’s stars with planets.
    Highlighted Mission: Herschel Mission
    Highlighted Program: Salsa J
    Inquiry Activity: Compare/Analyze images of star forming regions / open clusters at different ages.
  4. Stars and Energy Transport: Wednesday, 2015-03-25, 18:00 UK time
    The Earth is warm because energy created in the core of the Sun is able to travel from the Sun’s Core to its surface, and then shine through space all the way to Earth. As it travels, the light is transformed from deadly high-energy particles to the nice warm light that keeps us alive. In this Hangout, we will discuss the primary ways energy is transported: convection, conduction, and radiation.
    Highlighted Mission: SOHO
    Inquiry Activities: Explore how each of the following works: Lava lamps, geothermal power, and heat lamps. (real world or simulated)
  5. Gas Laws with Stars and Nebulae  Wednesday, 2015-04-08, 18:00 UK time
    Much of the evolution of the universe can be described through the pull of gravity and push of pressure. Gravity condenses gas, it heats up, and if it can, it expands, and if it can’t, stars are formed. In this Hangout, we will consider the gas laws, and look at different kinds of nebulae.
    Highlighted Mission: XMM Newton
    Inquiry Activities: Crushing a can with ice water, expanding a balloon with hot water, and a star formation simulator.
  6. Electromagnetic Spectrum: Wednesday, 2015-04-22, 18:00 UK time
    Today, we are able to study the universe in many colors that can’t be seen with our eyes. From detecting X-rays, to listening to the radio universe, we are able to use digital detectors to “see” hidden aspects of distant objects. In this Hangout, we will review the electromagnetic spectrum.
    Highlighted Missions: The Great Observatories
    Highlighted Programs: Salsa J, Skyview Virtual Observatory
    Inquiry Activity: Create false color images of star forming regions using optical and non-optical images.
  7. Black Body Radiation: Wednesday, 2015-05-13, 18:00 UK time
    As children, we’re taught to paint cold things blue and hot things red. In science we learn that blue things are actually far hotter than red things! In this Hangout, we will learn how hot objects radiate energy as light of many colors following what is called a black body curve.
    Highlighted Mission: Integral
    Inquiry Activity: Compare different kinds of light sources with a spectrograph, use the Nebraska Applet Project Black Body Simulator.
  8. The Big Bang: Wednesday, 2015-05/27, 18:00 UK time
    We can’t observer how the universe formed, but scientists are still willing to say that we know the universe was created through a Big Bang. In this scenario, students will learn the three main lines of evidence for the Big Bang: the universe is expanding, the Cosmic Microwave Radiation, and the mixture of chemical elements.
    Highlighted Mission: The Planck Mission
    Inquiry Activities: Olber’s Paradox, Balloon Demo (expanding wavelengths), expansion simulator
  9. Observing the Ecliptic: Wednesday, 2015-09-09, 18:00 UK time
    The Sun and all the planets are confined to a narrow region of the sky called the ecliptic. In this region, they all pass through a set of constellations known as the Zodiac. Astronomy and Astrology treat these constellations very differently. In this Hangout, we will learn what the Zodiac is according to science!
    Highlighted Program: Stellarium
    Inquiry Activities: Astronomy vs. Astrology
  10. The Celestial Sphere: Wednesday, 2015-09-23, 18:00 UK time
    As we travel the surface of the Earth, the stars that we can see change. All these stars, mapped together, form the Celestial Sphere. In this Hangout, we will learn how our view of the sky changes with location.
    Highlighted Mission: Gaia
    Highlighted Program: Stellarium
    Inquiry Activities: Telling location from Orion, the North Star, and the Southern Triangle
  11. Phases of the Moon: Wednesday, 2015-10-14, 18:00 UK time
    The Earth’s Moon has a constantly changing face, and how (and where!) it appears in the sky can help you understand both where you are on Earth, and what time it is. In this Hangout, we will thoroughly discuss the phases of the Moon.
    Inquiry Activities: Human model of Sun, Earth, and Moon, and Nebraska Applet Project’s phases of the Moon simulator.
  12. Phases of the Planets: Wednesday, 2015-10-28, 18:00 UK time
    People often don’t realize that the planets have phases just like the Earth’s Moon. The phases that we are able to see with telescopes were actually part of what allowed Galileo to prove the Earth is not the center of the Solar System. In this Hangout, we’ll discuss the phases of Mercury and Venus as seen by Galileo, and compare what we see with what was expected for an Earth-centered solar system.
    Highlighted Program: Galileoscopes, Stellarium
    Inquiry Activity: Observe phases of Venus (timing and weather permitting) with a telescope, view phases in Stellarium.
  13. Planetary Motion: Wednesday, 2015-11-11, 18:00 UK time
    The word “planet” (Planetes in the original Greek) comes from the Greek word Planan, meaning “wanderer.” This name was used because the planets appear to move against the seemingly constant background of stars. Early astronomers had great difficulty trying to explain all the planets’ motions, in part because Mars and other outer planets appear to move in loops across the sky. This motion, called retrograde motion, couldn’t be fully understood until people accepted the Sun is the center of the solar system, and planets move in ellipses. In this Hangout, we will discuss the historic argument between geocentric and heliocentric solar system models, and discuss how retrograde motion actually works.
    Highlighted Project: How to build a Lego Orrery
    Highlighted Program: Stellarium
    Inquiry Activities: Build a simply Orrery, observe motion in Stellarium
  14. Laws of Planetary Motion: Wednesday, 2015-12-09, 18:00 UK time
    The physics that keeps the Earth traveling around the Sun is the same physics that also keeps the Moon orbiting the Earth, and other moons and worlds orbiting other places in our Galaxy. Put simply, the physics here is the physics everywhere. In this Hangout we will review Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and learn how they can be used to explore the characteristics of other objects in the solar system.
    Highlighted Telescopes: Keck, HARPS on ESO La Silla 3.6m telescope
    Highlighted Program: Stellarium
    Inquiry Activity: Finding Jupiter’s mass, finding exoplanet’s mass using Nebraska applet project’s Exoplanet Doppler Shift Simulators
  15. The Seasons: Wednesday, 2016-01-13, 18:00 UK time
    The influence of the seasons often defines human activity, but what defines the seasons is almost as often misunderstood. In this Hangout, we will look at how the tilt of planets causes seasons not just on Earth, but on many different worlds across our Solar System.
    Highlighted Mission: Cassini/Huygens
    Highlighted Program: Stellarium
    Inquiry Activities: Physical model of Earth’s seasons. Use Stellarium to view Saturn at opposition for multiple years to see the apparent ring tilt change.
  16. The Greenhouse Effect: Wednesday, 2016-01-27, 18:00 UK time
    Life on Earth exists because we have an atmosphere that is just right. Minor changes could cause us to be frozen like Mars or too hot like Venus. In this Hangout, we will discuss how different gases block and transmit different colors of light, and what this means for life.
    Highlighted Activity: Atmospheric Simulator
  17. Defining planets, stars, and rocky objects: Wednesday, 2016-02-10, 18:00 UK time
    Solar systems have a variety of objects that greatly vary in composition, mass, shape, geology, and physics. From tiny asteroids, to stars, everything is formed through the same physics, and in this Hangout you’ll learn how the results of that physics is used to define small bodies from planets from stars.
    Highlighted Activity: Solar System playing cards matching game (real and digital)
  18. Looking for Exoplanets: Wednesday, 2016-02-24, 18:00 UK time
    In the past 20 years, humans have gone from not knowing if our Solar System is the only one to understanding there are potentially billions of worlds in our galaxy. With over 1000 planets confirmed, our understanding of planetary science is rapidly changing. In this Hangout, we will discuss how planets are found, and the variety of forms they take.
    Highlighted Missions: Kepler, CORoT, Gaia
    Highlighted Activity: Nebraska Applet Project Exoplanet Transit Simulator
  19. Astrobiology: Wednesday, 2016-03-09, 18:00 UK time
    The only world we know has life is our own Earth, but with billions of worlds in our Galaxy, many say it is a “Waste of space” if we are alone (Carl Sagon in Contact). In this Hangout, we will discuss the characteristics of life, and how life impacts its environment.
    Highlighted Program: The Allen Radio Array
    Highlighted Activity: Design way to detect life
  20. Stellar Death: Wednesday, 2016-03-23, 18:00 UK time
    Our Sun will last a long time – roughly 11 billion years – but it, and every other star in the sky, will eventually die. How they die depends on their size. In this Hangout we’ll discuss all the ways a star can die, and consider the fate of our own solar system.
    Highlighted Mission: Hubble Space Telescope
    Highlighted Activity: Measuring expansion of Crab Nebula, simulating supernovae explosions.
  21. Black Holes: Wednesday, 2016-04-13, 18:00 UK time
    Black holes are perhaps the most misrepresented type of object found in science and science fiction. Black holes are not paths to other universes or monsters actively sucking in planets and space ships. In this Hangout, we will discuss black holes in all their different sizes, and what it means to fall into a black hole.
    Highlighted Activities: Black hole calculator / simulator
  22. Light Pollution:
    In order for astronomy to be even possible from the surface of the Earth, we have to be able to “see” beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Unfortunately, modern astronomers have to battle with city lights, radio antennae, and a myriad of other forms of optical and radio interference. In this Hangout, we will discuss the effects of light pollution on astronomical observations, and how astronomers work with the public to protect the skies. Activities: Use Google Earth to explore the characteristics of locations with observatories.
 

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