Current ASP Programs-at-a-Glance
The heart and soul of the ASP’s mission is connecting astronomy to people, connecting people to learning opportunities, and building bridges between teachers and students – no matter what the classroom looks like: school, museum, planetarium, national park, state park, nature center, astronomy club, city sidewalk, online, backyard.
We invite you to browse this section and discover the breadth and depth of the current ASP’s education efforts. Explore our diverse programs and resources and see how they can help you better understand and share the wonder of astronomy as the gateway to science literacy.
The NASA Night Sky Network is a community of more than 450 astronomy clubs across the U.S. that share their time and telescopes to engage the public with unique astronomy experiences. The ASP provides training and materials to enhance clubs outreach activities, and inspires more than four million people through their participation in 30,000+ events.
The ASP is partnered on a NASA project to create new astronomy badges for Girl Scouts, connect them with their local astronomy clubs, and train amateur astronomers to make their outreach more girl-friendly. The ASP also connects adult Girl Scout volunteers to NASA’s Night Sky Network (NSN), a community comprised of hundreds of amateur astronomy clubs across the country.
Through an NSF grant, we have created a set of research-based, science-rich astronomy activities that are engaging and developmentally appropriate for pre-K aged children, and trained hundreds of educators at museums, parks, and libraries across the U.S. on how to effectively engage their youngest visitors (ages 3 – 5) in astronomy.
AFGU provides informal science educators and interpreters with new and innovative ways to communicate astronomy. AFGU is a growing community of hundreds of educators from museums, science centers, nature centers, and parks around the U.S., who are actively enhancing and expanding their capacity to address astronomy topics for their visitors.
Big Astronomy: People, Places, Discoveries delivers a unique learning experience for planetarium visitors around the world by integrating virtual interactions with those living and working at Chilean observatories with curricular resources and a planetarium show. Informal Science activities created by the ASP are released in May 2020 to accompany the multilingual Big Astronomy: People, Places, Discoveries planetarium show. Part of an NSF grant using community science to expand public exposure to science concepts and increase science literacy.
Higher Education/Early Professionals
The AAS Astronomy Ambassadors Program provides mentoring and training experiences for young astronomers just starting their careers. The American Astronomical Society (AAS), in partnership with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), members of the Center for Astronomy Education (CAE), and other organizations active in science education and public outreach (EPO), has created the program, which involves a series of professional-development workshops and a community of practice designed to help improve participants communication skills and effectiveness in doing outreach to students and the public.
Three of our Ambassadors were recently interviewed and shared with us "In Their Own Words", how the program has helped them with their outreach efforts.
On-the-Spot Assessment is a research-to-practice initiative led by the ASP, in collaboration with Oregon State University, the Portal to the Public Network via the Institute for Learning Innovation, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). Over four years, we are developing a set of embedded assessment strategies and professional development to support research scientists in effectively communicating science to the public.
The Teacher Learning Center (K – 12)
Developed in 2009 for the International Year of Astronomy, the Galileoscope has become the centerpiece for teaching about telescopes in many programs. As a key component of the Galileo Teacher Training Program, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific engaged hundreds of educators in professional development related to telescopes and the Galileoscope.
Project PLANET leverages resources developed as a part of the My Sky Tonight project to explore their usefulness in a formal, classroom setting.
Discover more about this popular program and how it put amateur astronomers into the classroom.