Big Telescopes

A global family of giant telescopes - on the ground and in space - provides an inspirational context for STEM learning. This collection of resources linked in to astronomy cover the following topics within the curriculum: telescopes, the electromagnetic spectrum, infra-red, redshift and Doppler shift, image processing, supernovae, Hubble’s Law, measuring distances in the Universe, H-R diagrams, galaxies and exoplanets. Telescopes such as the Gaia Spacecraft, which was launched in December 2013, can be highly topical science news stories. Others, such as the European Extremely Large Telescope which will see “First Light” in 2022, are huge long-term international endeavours. The telescopes are complementary, operating at different wavelengths and with different fields of view. In addition to the stunning images they produce, they offer three main contexts for teaching physics, chemistry, computing and even the biology of alien life: • The science of astronomy, ranging from the movements of the night sky to the lifecycle of stars and the study of exoplanets. • The technological challenges of giant telescopes and their instruments. • The demands of their extreme locations including rocket launches and operating in space or on high-altitude mountaintops. This collection of resources has been recommended by ESERO UK Space Ambassadors.



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Galaxies *suitable for home teaching*

This resource has been devised by The Royal Observatory Edinburgh with the Institute of Physics Scotland, to inspire secondary science classes. They are mainly used by students aged 11-14 years but can be used from upper primary to upper secondary.

Students investigate galaxies. They use data from real...

The James Webb Space Telescope: Inspiration and Context for Physics and Chemistry Teaching

This article from School Science Review, describes the design, delivery, evaluation and impact of a CPD course for physics and chemistry teachers. A key aim of the course was to use the context of the James Webb Space Telescope project to inspire teachers and lead to enriched teaching of STEM subjects.


Big Telescopes

The Big Telescopes poster links ground and space based telescopes with the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that they are observing and their locations on Earth or in space.

The poster explains how larger telescopes allow scientists to learn more about the early universe and map our own galaxy with...