In 2019, the SETI Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the French-based telescope company Unistellar, located in Marseille, to establish and enhance joint research, outreach and education activities aimed at developing the citizen science network on Unistellar telescopes. Unistellar created the Enhanced Vision telescope, also known as the eVscope. The eVscope is a smart, digital, portable, consumer telescope capable of deep sky observations and can also collect research quality data (FITS files) for astronomy citizen science.
Improving Science Education
The SETI Institute and Unistellar have the goal of creating education activities and labs for the eVscope and creating opportunities for science teachers and students to experience observational astronomy in a new and more accessible way. Additionally, we would like to create opportunities to learn science by doing science through the involvement of teachers and their students in citizen science observations and data analysis with eVscopes. The Unistellar citizen network allows teachers and students to observe exoplanet transits, defend Earth against asteroids, and help NASA to refine the shape of asteroids for their Lucy mission to trojan asteroids.
Involving teachers and students in more inquiry-based learning experiences (e.g. citizen science opportunities with Unistellar) align with the widely adopted K-12 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and are proven as a more effective way to learn science (e.g. Modeling Instruction--utilized by universities and known as one of the most effective ways to learn physics) 1. Student observations with eVscopes could encourage and develop collaborative processes, creativity, problem solving, curiosity, and other reasoning skills for all students.
Imagine being in your high school physics, earth science, astronomy, or middle or elementary school science class and being told that you are going to be in charge of detecting and characterizing a planet around a distant star to help contribute to the search for life in the universe, or help protect Earth from a future asteroid impact.
Imagine, as a student, being told that you would be in charge of this project with your peers in a collaborative team under the guidance of your teacher and a professional astronomer—treated as equals and professionals—to plan an observation, analyze the data, conduct science outreach, and in some cases publish your work in a junior academic journal.
Imagine being a teacher and being told that you could possibly do real publishable science with your students that is exciting and also be able to meet your course’s state science standards (e.g. NGSS).
Imagine being an astronomer and being able to initiate a network of eager citizen scientist students to contribute to your project while also making a lasting and rewarding impact with their communities. These are some of the hopes and dreams we have with our education initiative with the SETI Institute and Unistellar network.
Click and explore the links below to learn more about some or our current SETI Institute/Unistellar education programs.
You are also invited to view our current education materials, activities, and labs for the eVscope (link also below). Note that many of these activities may also be useful and educational for any teacher and student of astronomy, with or without an eVscope.
The Unistellar College Astronomy Network (UCAN) has placed Unistellar eVscopes into community colleges where they are being used by teachers and students for class labs, observation nights, and citizen science events (exoplanets, asteroids, and planetary defense).
The Chabot Space & Science Center has teamed up with the SETI Institute and Unistellar to offer Unistellar eVscopes to high school students in Chabot’s Galaxy Explorers program. Students in this program will be using eVscopes for public outreach and scientific investigations with the Unistellar network.
Click here to access education materials, activities, and labs built specifically for use with the Unistellar eVscope (e.g. tours and exoplanet or asteroid labs). Many of these materials could also be utilized and have value to any science/astronomy educator with or without a Unistellar eVscope.
Sign Up to Learn More about Unistellar Education with the SETI Institute
- Sign Up Here
We would like to grow an organic and beneficial network of Unistellar educators to support each other with pedagogical tools and education resources created by the community. Whether you have an eVscope or not, if you’re interested in learning more, getting involved, and being connected with other astronomy educators, please fill out this survey. Thank you!