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  • Uploaded on Hands-On Universe, Europe Bringing frontline interactive astronomy to the classroom. 8 European partners. Université Pierre et Marie Curie (France) - F-HOU Coordinator Philekpaideftiki Etaireia (Greece)

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Hands-On Universe, Europe

Bringing frontline interactive astronomy to the classroom

8 European partners

Université Pierre et Marie Curie (France) - F-HOU Coordinator

Philekpaideftiki Etaireia (Greece)

Fondazione IDIS – Citta Della Scienza (Italy)

Centrum Fizyki Teoretycznej Polskiej Akademii Nauk (Poland)

Nucleo Interactivo de Astronomia (Portugal)

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)

Onsala Space Observatory, Chalmers University (Sweden)

Armagh Planetarium (United Kingdom)

Overall objectives
  • Continuous production of new innovative pedagogical resources: users-friendly software, astronomical data, exercises, multimedia supports; trans-disciplinary in essence (astronomy, physics, mathematics, history, language...); available in English and in different languages.
  • Pedagogical use of worldwide telescope networks operated remotely via Internet.
  • New innovative observing tools (webcam system, radio-antenna...) to be used directly by pupils (at no cost).
  • Creation of a European network of researchers and middle/high school teachers for promotion of scientific and technological education; help to gear the education system to research and development.
  • web site with a free access multilingual portal to all available resources.
  • Dissemination through workshops and teacher training sessions.
http www euhou net
Web site :

  • 1 European site and 8 national sites (, etc.)
  • with a Content Management System (CMS).
  • Each site is composed of : + a public Web site
  • + an internal Web site/publication interface
  • + an administration interface
  • Hosted by the server of the project (located in the UPMC computing centre,

daily back-up + baies RAID)

Each partner is responsible of its national site.

robotic telescopes in education
Motivating to study science/maths/ICT/technology

Cutting edge technology

Cross-curricular, contribute to key skills

Exciting and stimulating projects

Student ownership of projects

Thrill of real discovery




Robotic Telescopes in Education




Real time, real science

Observing tools :

Webcam system Skyview

The Polish partner has designed and produced a low cost Webcam system which allows classrooms to perform themselves night observations. A complete software manual is available, together with pedagogical tools for studying, for instance, the variability of the brightest stars.

About 20 teachers have received one in each country.

Observing tools :

Onsala radio telescope

The Swedish partner has developped in Onsala a 2.3 m prototype radio telescope, dedicated to real time observations via Internet from classrooms.

A complete manual for observing the 21 cm hydrogen line in the Milky Way is available.

This radio telescope can be duplicated for 10 000 € (+1000€ for transportation)

Observing tools :

Jodrell Bank radio


In the frame of RADIONET/FP6-7

the 7 m radio telescope of Jodrell Bank is dedicated to real time observations via Internet from EU-HOU classrooms during 2 months.

A complete set of educational material for observing the 21 cm hydrogen line in the Milky Way and local galaxies is available.

Pedagogical resources :

SalsaJ software

Didactical software for image and data handling

Such A Lovely Software for Astronomy, in Java

  • Multi-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac)
  • Java, modularity; easily extensible to implement new fonctionnalities
  • Adaptation in different languages; recently in arabic; chinese in progress
  • Free of charge (download from the EU-HOU web site)
  • Up to date sources (derived from the free medical research tool ImageJ

developed at NIH); adapted to astronomy; friendly tool for classrooms

Developed by F-HOU ; SalsaJ v2.0 to be released by the end of 2007

Pedagogical resources :


Learning science by doing science: to propose hands-on activities based on real

astronomical data, inspired from research:

F-HOU: From the Doppler effect to extrasolar planets; distances to Cepheids

Gr-HOU: The life of stars; stellar population

It-HOU: How to weight a distant galaxy ?

Pl-HOU: Webcam astronomy; variable stars; distances to Cepheids, etc.

Pt-HOU: What is a star ?

Se-HOU: Radio astronomy in the classroom; hydrogen in the Milky Way

Sp-HOU: The solar system as a math laboratory

UK-HOU: Voyage through space (EduSpace/ESA); Faulkes telescopes


Introduce high school students to theoretical models in physics and astronomy

Stellar model

Stefan-Boltzmann’s law

Planck’s law

Wien’s law

HR Diagram

The Swedish contribution to EU-HOU:

A Hands-On Radio Astronomy


Mapping the Milky Way using atomic hydrogen

hydrogen 21 cm line
Hydrogen 21 cm line
  • Hydrogen (H) – the most abundant element in the universe
  • Abundant in our Galaxy
  • Atomic hydrogen in the ground state – hyperfine transition
    • The electron’s spin becomes anti-parallel to the proton’s
    • Radiation at 1420 MHz – 21 cm is emitted
  • Radio frequency – the atmospheric window is open
radio spectrum
Radio spectrum
  • Observations in the Galactic disc
  • The purple line: line-of-sight
  • Radio lines correspond to spiral arms
rotation curve
Rotation Curve
  • Keplarian rotation (Solar system)
    • V~1/R
  • Solid body rotation (cdrom…)
    • V~R
  • Differential rotation (The Milky Way)
    • V=Constant

Dark matter



  • Astrometry
  • Radial
  • velocity
  • Timing



Elliptical orbit

Circular orbit

radial velocity curve as a function of time
Radial velocity curve as a function of time

Vrad = V0+ W∙ cos ( 2pt/T + b)

= 5,9 (km/s) + 23,2 (km/s) ∙ cos ( 2p tdays/(10,4days) + b)




T/2 = 5,2 days

Kepler law ; m<

to weight a galaxy
To weight a galaxy

Dl / l = 2 vlongitudinal / c

= 2 v sin(i) / c

1 pixel

0,82 arcsecs

39,7 Mpc

Vitesse de rotation des bras autour du noyau de la galaxie :

Le décalage spectral augmente à partir du noyau pour atteindre une valeur quasi constante v7 de 7 pixels lorsque la distance au centre du noyau dépasse 10 pixels.

V7 = (7/7231). 3 .108 / (2 sin(53°)) = 181 km/s

Distribution de masse et rayon d’action :

Nous supposons une distribution homogène à symétrie sphérique, nous prenons r = 10 pixels (c’est notamment ce point que l’on peut discuter et que la version approfondie de l’exercice permettra d’améliorer).

D’autre part, la galaxie est à 39,7 Mpc de distance

0,82 arcsecs/pixels ; 1 arcsec = p / (180.60.60) = 4,85. 10-6 rad ; 1pc = 3,09. 1016 m ,

d’où 1 pixel = angle en radian . distance en mètres

1 pixel = 0,82. 4,85 . 10-6. 3,09. 1016 . 39,7.106 m = 4,88.1018 m

Estimation « mécanique » de la masse pour r ≈ 10 pixels

M = v² r / G = ( 1,81.105)² . 4,88. 1019 / 6,67 . 10-11

M = [1,81².4,88/6,67] . 1040 kg ≈ 1040 kg

M ≈ 1040 kg

Ceci est bien l’ordre de grandeur des masses des galaxies ; la masse effective de la galaxie sera d’autant plus grande qu’on étendra r ; pour des calculs plus fins, voir la version approfondie de cet exercice.

Dissemination :
  • Leaflets
  • Web site
  • Stages for students
  • TRA training sessions
  • Events
human solar system or orrery
« Human » solar system or Orrery

Stages L3/UPMC at the Armagh Observatory (in English)

Kepler laws

Bethleem star

Then, students can visit schools in France

Dissemination :

teacher training

Training Resource Agents (TRA)

are teachers eager to :

▪ learn about the various EU-HOU outputs

▪ adapt European resources to national curricula

▪ use them in their schools

▪ train other teachers/educators about the


By the end of 2006, roughly 20 schools x 8 countries x 60 pupils

more than 10 000 European pupils have used EU-HOU

Training workshops in English were proposed to TRA (cost covered):

almost 100 teachers

Torun (Poland) 20-23 October 2005;

OHP 9-12 March 2006;

Napoli 21-24 September 2006.

Plus national training.