Bringing the Stars to Your Hometown


By Timothy Rhue II, Senior Informal Education Specialist, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, and NASA’s Universe of Learning


NASA’s Universe of Learning needs your help. We need informal learning sites that want to use NASA astrophysics materials to develop programs, exhibits, or other projects. We are partnering with ASTC to offer professional development, guidance from the people who develop NASA resources, access to professional astronomers, and money to help develop your projects.

NASA’s Universe of Learning is a STEM learning and literacy program that provides resources and experiences related to NASA astrophysics. We are looking for professionals at museums and science centers to develop program models, i.e., sample ways to use NASA resources with their local audience. We will then share those program models with the wider informal learning community.

To help develop the models, we have created an ASTC Community of Practice (CoP) and will be offering seven professional-development webinars to share examples of NASA resources and the science behind them. We are providing feedback through the NASA’s Universe of Learning CoP and are bringing in subject-matter experts to provide guidance as well. We are also awarding mini-funds on a competitive basis to help kickstart this new programming.

Learn more about the project, and ways your organization can join, in this short video.

If you are interested in participating in the project, join the NASA’s Universe of Learning CoP, register for the webinar series below, and set aside some time for the webinars series. They begin Wednesday, February 7, at 2:00 p.m. ET, and will take place every other Wednesday at the same time. The webinars will be recorded, if you can’t participate live.


This webinar series is open to everyone—register now!


Participation in the series is key to applying for mini-funds (available to U.S. ASTC members) for developing education programs using NASA resources.

  • Wednesday, February 7: “NASA Astrophysics’ Three Big Questions: An Introduction”
  • Wednesday, February 21: “Putting the Universe in Context (How does the universe work?)”
  • Wednesday, March 7: “Understanding the Electromagnetic Spectrum (How does the universe work?)”
  • Wednesday, March 21: “Looking Out Is Looking Back in Time (How did we get here?)”
  • Wednesday, April 4: “A Dynamic Universe (How did we get here?)”
  • Wednesday, April 18: “Exoplanet Detection: What Can We Know? (Are we alone?)”
  • Wednesday, May 2: “Finding Life (Are we alone?)”

If you have any questions about this program, please write to ASTC’s Wendy Hancock.

I hope to see you there!


Photo—X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ.Potsdam/L.Oskinova et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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