AAS: How does APOD help you?

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AAS: How does APOD help you?

Post by RJN » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:54 pm

This post targets people attending the January meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Florida. At that meeting, there will be a late-added off-program (but AAS-approved) session titled "Astronomy Picture of the Day: Town Meeting". Unfortunately, only people who have registered for the AAS meeting will be able to attend. This session will be held in the "St. George 114" room on Wednesday, January 6 from 2:15 - 3:30 pm.

This session will start out with a short presentation on how APOD works behind the scenes. Then a short presentation showing some of the highlights of APOD during 2015. After that, we are looking for a few single-slide, 2-minute presentations on how APOD helps you. This may involve how you use APOD as an outreach resource, how you use APOD in your classroom (any level) that might be useful to others, or something completely different. If you would like to participate, please email Robert Nemiroff (nemiroff @at@ mtu.edu) with a brief description.

Beyond that, if you would like to attend the session to just learn about APOD, ask a question about APOD, offer a suggestion for how APOD might be improved, offer a suggestion about how APOD could be better assessed or evaluated, would like to meet other AAS attendees who are proud fans of APOD, or just lurk in the back, please make time to attend.

I have been alerted to the possibility that the room of 50 will fill up. Therefore, if you plan to present or are pretty interested in attending, to be sure to get a seat, please show up a few minutes early.



Re: AAS: How does APOD help you?

Post by Greybeard » Mon Dec 14, 2015 6:52 pm

APOD helps me convey the wonders of the universe to those who often don't give it a second thought and instill in them the enormity of this place we call Space.

Shalom, Wm. Ingersoll

Sam Alexander

Re: AAS: How does APOD help you?

Post by Sam Alexander » Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:34 pm

For me, a Presbyterian Pastor of 22 years, looking at and contemplating the Astronomy Picture of the Day is a Spiritual Practice. It confronts me with what is real every day and refuses to allow me to fall back on worn platitudes and religious language formed at a time we thought the world was flat and the sky was a dome set up on pillars at the corners of the earth.


Re: AAS: How does APOD help you?

Post by astromaster » Tue Dec 15, 2015 2:39 am

Greetings: I have used the APOD collection, as well as other sources, in my Astronomy 101 courses at various Universities over the past decade. My classes have been filled with astronomy majors, general science students and general students of all kinds including a number of Special Needs students who have added to the character of the class. The APOD material is often included as a visual level of instruction for topics where such images aid the mathematical and theoretical understanding for some students. The instructor must always be aware that any number of ideas may be communicated to various students in any number of ways including the APOD visual approach, but that it is the instructors responsibility to continually search out these options in real time. Richard P. Wilds, AAS: DPS/HAD


Re: AAS: How does APOD help you?

Post by Liliana » Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:18 pm

When I open the APOD , I open the window to the universe and the beauty gives me a feeling of happiness, which is much better and more intense than the feeling after eating chocolate ... :D Moreover, it is healthier and better for my body shape... :clap:


Re: AAS: How does APOD help you?

Post by stopple » Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:18 am

I'm a high school physics/astronomy teacher at an inner-city school in Miami, and I use APOD in several ways.

First, as another user mentioned, (paraphrasing) to instill a sense of wonder in those who wouldn't normally give astronomy a second thought (or first thought). In that regard I can tell you it took MONTHS of daily APOD viewing, reading, and discussion before everyone in my astronomy class finally believed me that (vast majority of) images are actual photographs; i.e. not computer-generated or "photoshopped" pictures. Once we got over that hump they (collectively) started to take APOD more seriously.

Another way APOD is useful is through the text associated with the images. The text for every image is read aloud in class by a student. More often than not, students encounter highly specific and complicated language with which they are unfamiliar. At this point in the year (January), they embrace that language and make special effort to pronounce the words (obviously I am there to help them when needed/requested). It is through APOD that (in my opinion) their daily science reading requirement is more than fulfilled.

Last, I can report that students are actually excited to read/interact with APOD. In fact, when they volunteer to read the text aloud (as viewed from the screen at the front of the room), arguments have been known to break out as to who should have the privilege of reading. "This person read last time - I should get a chance!" "That person was bad last class - don't let them read!" "You never let me read this aloud - PLEASE let me read this one!" etc. (The last statement isn't true - I methodically cycle through the roster, fyi.) The point is oftentimes they think of any minor excuse/reason why I should allow any given individual to read the text. I count that as a great success!


Re: AAS: How does APOD help you?

Post by mikewhite.bromham » Tue Jan 05, 2016 11:05 am

I’d love to be at the Town Meeting but, as I live in the UK, reality will get in the way. But I’m a member of my local astronomy society, a "Friend of the Royal Astronomical Society” and an avid fan of APOD and its daily dose of cosmic realities. I'm writing a philosophical piece, snappily entitled “Beyond Belief: A Road Map for the Soul” (thanks Bobby) in which APOD features as a reminder of the wonders that are now available for us to see, and in a way which was inconceivable to previous generations. We are indeed fortunate to live in such times. I look forward to a time when this good fortune is recognised by all those whose attitudes and behaviours suggest that they fail to understand these wonders and the fragility of our beautiful planet’s biosphere. One can live in hope.


Re: AAS: How does APOD help you?

Post by DeadInTheHead » Tue Jan 05, 2016 11:31 am

I use APOD to encourage my kids to look up and reach for the stars.


Re: AAS: How does APOD help you?

Post by CombatWombat » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:01 am

I spend a lot of time looking at amazing space photos. While a lot of space agencies post their amazing pictures and archive them nicely, there are a tremendous number of lesser known but incredibly talented professional and amateur photographers taking amazing photos as well. APOD often brings these people the attention they deserve, and allows me to look at the rest of their work as well.

In short, I really appreciate that APOD opens new doors to amazing space pictures for me.