Hands-On Teaching Demonstrators for Vision and Astronomy

Project Leaders: Eric Steinbring & Sandra Faber, University of California, Santa Cruz

This project provides hands-on demonstrators for teaching adaptive optics aimed at high school and college students. Two instruments are being developed. The first device employs a wavefront sensor to measure aberrations in the human eye. The second is a commercially available tip-tilt AO system for a small telescope. Both demonstrate fundamental but different aspects of AO. They are also complementary; illustrating all the major aspects of AO design and fostering cross-talk between vision and astronomical science.

Instructional materials have been written for the astronomical demonstrator, geared towards an instructor guiding small groups of students in several small experiments. These experiments become more and more difficult, leading ultimately to students making their own measurement of a binary star orbit - resolving two stars they could not see without AO. We are now developing similar instructional materials for the vision science instrument. Both demonstrators will be used in current CfAO education projects (Stars, Sight and Science) and at schools and colleges where the CfAO is actively recruiting students for more intensive activities (internships, etc.). An exciting element of this project is that an astronomy postdoctoral researcher is working with vision scientists to build the wavefront sensor. Several undergraduates and CfAO Research Internship students have participated in this project, and have been instrumental in the development of the instructional materials. A preliminary version of this web-based guide is available at: http://www.ucolick.org/~aodemos/.

Page last revised on: Monday, 16-Sep-2002 16:04:22 PDT