Kids learning astronomy
NOAO/NSF/AURA

Every day exciting new discoveries in astronomy reveal new insights into our dynamic and mysterious Universe. The education programs developed by NOIRLab) share the thrill of discovery with diverse audiences, including students of all ages and the astronomy-interested public. We believe all people should have the opportunity to discover the Universe together and we are providing accessible, high-quality education programs to do just that.

Our educational programs serve to inspire future professional scientists, engineers and technologists and to engage the general public in a deeper understanding of our Universe. The goal of NOIRLab’s education programs is to enhance the science literacy of all citizens and to demonstrate the value to society of astronomical research. To accomplish these two goals, NOIRLab’s education staff develop partnerships with astronomy educators in schools, science centers, museums, and planetariums to help strengthen and expand their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education programs. In these partnerships, our staff work to develop new approaches to astronomy education that can enhance educational effectiveness and broaden interest and participation in science. At NOIRLab’s research facilities visitors are introduced to telescopes, instruments, and other tools of astronomy as well as the latest research. The NOIRLab’s programs also stress the importance of preserving the clear, dark night skies above these very special places, so everyone can continue to enjoy the spectacular Universe that inspires all of us.

NOIRLab’s educational programs are wide-ranging and include portable planetariums, dark skies and light pollution awareness, recent astronomical discoveries and the technology behind telescopes. The programa Journey Through the Universe en Hawai y su contraparte Viaje en Chile conectan a los profesionales de la astronomía con las escuelas, al igual que el programa Live from Gemini. El personal educativo trabaja directamente con escuelas, centros de ciencias y museos y también desarrolla nuevos materiales didácticos en colaboración con educadores asociados.

The long-range program plan for the NOIRLab’s formal and informal education work is based on the high-level deliverables of the 2018 federal strategic plan “Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education” which describes a vision for the future in which “all Americans will have lifelong access to high-quality STEM education and the United States will be the global leader in STEM literacy, innovation, and employment.” These plans serve to inform our education strategy.