Figure 1: Students wearing solar beads on Sun-Earth Day.
Sun-Earth Day is comprised of a series of programs and events that occur throughout the year culminating with a celebration on or near the Spring Equinox. Each year we wrap a fresh new thematic approach around Sun-Earth science while highlighting Sun-Earth Connection scientists, their missions, and research. This year's theme , 'Ancient Mysteries-Future Discoveries', opens the door to a much deeper understanding of our Sun and its impact across the ages.
Over the past eleven years, the Sun-Earth Day Team has coordinated education and public outreach events that highlight NASA Sun-Earth Connection research and discoveries. The team's strategy involves using celestial events, such as total solar eclipses and the Transit of Venus, as well as Sun-Earth Day during the March equinox, to engage K-12 schools and the public in space science activities, demonstrations, and interactions with space scientists.
In partnership with NASA EDGE, the Sun-Earth Day team will produce video and webcast programming that will be shared with formal and informal education audiences worldwide. The programs will highlight several sites including: Chaco Canyon (New Mexico), Hovenweep (Utah), Chichen Itza (Mexico), Cahokia Mounds (Illinois), and Sunspot (New Mexico). Many of these sites present unique opportunities to develop authentic cultural connections to Native Americans, highlighting the importance of the Sun across the ages. We will involve scientists, their missions, and research programs to share NASA heliophysics research with diverse audiences.
The award winning NASA EDGE team is known for their offbeat, funny and informative look behind the NASA curtain. Their guests include scientists, educators and students who will! If you've ever wanted to learn about NASA but thought you needed to be a rocket scientist, wait no longer!
In collaboration with partners that include science centers and museums around the world, Sun-Earth Connection missions, NASA Edge, NSTA and others, we produce webcasts, other multi-media, and print resources for use by school and informal educators nation-wide and internationally. We provide training and professional development to K-12 educators, museum personnel, amateur astronomers, Girl Scout leaders, etc., so they can implement their own outreach programs taking advantage of our resources. A coordinated approach promotes multiple programs occurring each year under a common theme.
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Transits and eclipses are rare celestial events. Transits of Venus allow astronomers to calculate more accurately the distance of Venus from the Sun, and subsequently the distances of other planets. One can see the corona or atmosphere of the Sun safely with naked eyes only during a total solar eclipse.