Presentation Abstract

Presentation Number 346.09
Presentation Time: Wednesday, Jan 12, 2011, 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Title A Tool For Exploring Spectral Energy Distributions in the Classroom
Author Block Darryl Stanford1, S. Seebode2, D. Drumheller1, S. B. Howell3, D. W. Hoard4
1College Of San Mateo, 2San Mateo High School, 3NOAO, 4Spitzer Science Center.
Abstract The calculation of spectral type, temperature, radius and distance is often the first step in the study of stars and stellar systems. Spectral energy distributions or SEDs are of paramount importance in the determination of these quantities. We have created an innovative tool that enables high school and college physics and astronomy instructors and their students, to evaluate these parameters. This tool includes templates of main sequence stars with spectral types from O5 to M5 and associated lesson plans. Instructors can use it in a classroom setting and design lab exercises around it. Students can use it for research, determining stellar radii, distances, as well as cluster membership of stellar samples. More complex, multi-component SEDs can be used to investigate stellar systems, with dust disks, as well as, the dusty nuclei of starburst galaxies.
The tool is in google documents format, easily downloadable and modifiable by interested parties, and will be accessible on the College of San Mateo astronomy website (, Teachers and students can add template data for other spectral types and luminosity classes, for their own projects. This study is part of the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Project (NITARP).