By Elaine Lewis
As we begin a new millennium and the Sun undergoes another solar activity maximum, the Sun-Earth Connection (SEC) Education Forum (SECEF) is sponsoring a series of "Solar Events" during 2000-2001 to feature and celebrate the active Sun and its connection to our lives. In partnership with museums, educators, and space scientists around the country, SECEF is supporting a national "Sun-Earth Day" and an international total solar eclipse webcast from Southern Africa. Solar events will allow a broad community to learn about NASA's SEC theme and its missions.
Sun-Earth Day, scheduled for April 27, 2001, as part of National Astronomy week and the fifth anniversary of the SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) launch, will engage schools and classrooms nationwide. Scientists can get involved by visiting their local schools and sharing with students the discoveries of the Sun. An education kit is available to support the visits. Included in the kit is a CD called "Making Sun-Earth Connections" that was created for use in a classroom as a motivator to pique students' interest. Scientists can use the CD to develop their presentation with little additional time required. Through visits with the scientists, teachers and students will get the opportunity to increase their awareness of the Sun-Earth connection. Other opportunities will be made available for scientists to participate in email mentoring and online chat sessions. To participate either as a volunteer scientist or benefiting classroom and to learn more about the solar events, access the Web site: http://solarevents.org.
The June 21, 2001 total solar eclipse webcast from southern Africa, hosted by the San Francisco Exploratorium, will give science museums in the US and abroad the opportunity to host their own events for the public and special interest groups. "Eclipse 2001" will build on the successes of two previous webcast events in 1998 and 1999viewed by millions of internet and live participantsthat were conducted as part of the partnership between the San Francisco Exploratorium and SECEF. Eclipse 2001 will feature a live 30-minute downlink to science museums from the International Space Station (ISS), highlighting NASA's Living with a Star initiative by addressing the effects of the active Sun on ISS astronauts. Scientists can join local museums to support the events for the general public. To participate either as a volunteer scientist or benefiting museum, and to learn more about the solar events, access the Web site: http://solarevents.org/.
SECEF is a NASA-sponsored education and outreach organization that is a partnership between NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of California, Berkeley. The GSFC part has many SSDOO and NSSDC personnel involved on a full or part time basis. SECEF promotes the theme of SEC science on a national level via outreach to schools and the general public.