Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 473–484 | Cite as

The Effectiveness of Internet-Controlled Astronomical Research Instrumentation for Education

  • Preethi Pratap
  • Joseph Salah


Over the last decade, remote instruments have become widely used in astronomy. Educational applications are more recent. This paper describes a program to bring radio astronomy into the undergraduate classroom through the use of a remote research-grade radio telescope, the MIT Haystack Observatory 37 m telescope. We examine the effectiveness of such remote access in the classroom. The remote use of the large telescope has opened up a research facility for undergraduate students. The experience has been largely successful with over 150 students from about 20 colleges using the telescope every year. The student experiments have included classroom demonstrations by faculty, and short-term laboratory experiments and long-term research experiments performed by students. Although a visit to the site provided students with a sense of the scale of the antenna, operating on a purely remote basis still gave the students a rewarding research and learning experience. The effectiveness of the remote instrument is judged mainly by the student presentations and papers that have been generated, by the enthusiasm of the faculty to continue using the facility as part of their curricula, and through a survey of students and faculty.

radio astronomy remote instrumentation undergraduate education 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MIT Haystack ObservatoryWestford

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