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Science centers host global experiment with albedo effect

NASA's EO-1 satellite, one of three involved in the Albedo Experiment.From May 15-24, science centers from Peoria to Singapore will host students participating in the Albedo Experiment, a project developed by ASTC’s IGLO initiative in collaboration with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The polar ice caps help regulate Earth’s temperature by reflecting sun rays. To help students understand this phenomenon, science centers will work with them to mock “ice caps” using available material, then NASA satellites will capture images of these “ice caps” and measure their reflectivity, or albedo. These readings will be compared to ones taken from the same locations without white spots and those obtained onsite (using photographs and a program called ImageJ). Science centers partners also are organizing supporting programs, which include demonstration activities from the IGLO Toolkit.

The Albedo Experiment represents a new kind of scientific cooperation among young people from all over the globe and aims to educate them on the importance of maintaining the poles. The photos and data from this event (NASA- and site-obtained) will be unveiled at the 5th Science Center World Congress in Toronto in June to stimulate discussion on science communication and teaching the scientific process. To learn more about the Albedo Experiment, please visit the IGLO web site or contact iglo@astc.org.