SOHO Outreach Spotlight

Previous Outreach Spotlights

This is part of a series of overviews of people and programs that provide outreach experiences to schools or the public at large. We hope our readers will become inspired to try some outreach activities of their own.

SECEF Focus on Engaging Others

The Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum (SECEF) is tasked by NASA to share Sun-Solar-System Connection science and discoveries, facilitate scientist involvement, and coordinate education and public outreach (E/PO) programs from missions and research programs. Staff members at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and UC Berkeley's Space Science Laboratory have developed and archived useful resources and information, and disseminate them to a broad community. Among its many activities, SECEF has organized an annual Sun-Earth Day and started the Student Observation Network. Recently there is also a project known as "From Earth to Sky", a joint effort with the National Park Service. These will be outlined below.
Annual Sun-Earth Day
Sun-Earth Day is a celebration of the Sun and its effects on Earth and other planets around the spring equinox. The concept emerged from a discussion with SEC mission E/PO leads in 2000. From this concept grew a national event that energizes and coordinates the efforts of space science missions, Forums, Broker/Facilitators, as well as NASA Centers, Explorer Schools, Solar System Ambassadors and other NASA programs. This event spawns educational programs on Sun-Earth connections in classrooms, museums, and other venues throughout the nation and in fact in many countries in the world, at no additional cost to NASA. It develops and pulls together a wide range of resources on the year's theme, including a themed poster and a webcast. Since 2001, millions have learned about Sun-Earth Connection science and space weather. Sun-Earth Day themes have included:

  • 2001 - Having a Solar Blast/Total Solar Eclipse
  • 2002 - Celebrating the Spring Equinox and Native American Perspectives
  • 2003 - Live from the Aurora
  • 2004 - Venus Transit
  • 2005 - Ancient Observatories, Timeless Knowledge
  • 2006 - Eclipse in a Different Light

    Mission scientists and E/PO professionals have visited museums and other community-based organizations to celebrate Sun-Earth Day. To receive updates and a free packet of resources, educators, museums, amateur astronomers, scientists/engineers are invited to register at

    The Student Observation Network
    The Student Observation Network (SON) is a program of several inquiry-based learning modules.  Each module features a question to be answered or problem to be solved. Users learn how to make their own observations and compare them with NASA mission data. One module is called "Tracking a Solar Storm", developed in collaboration with NASA missions as well as NOAA missions and ground-based observatories. Students can, in one place, review images and data on solar activity and predict the impact of solar storms. This module developed core classroom educational objectives for studying light, magnetism, and auroral activities, thus meeting many science and math standards. As new missions are launched, this module will be enhanced to include new instrument data. Please visit, click on "Tracking a Solar Storm" and try the tutorial that provides background information, core scientific questions, step-by-step guides to using the data, and connections to NASA scientists.

  • From Earth to Sky This is a partnership between NASA and the National Park Service. Through a grant SECEF is nurturing a new relationship between Space and Earth Science disciplines and the National Park Service.

    In the fall 2004, 60 interpretive rangers from 55 parks visited NASA centers at Goddard and Ames. They interacted with scientists and E/PO professionals in five science topics, resulting in the development of interpretive products and programs in parks across the U.S. Some of the staff returned to Goddard in fall 2005 to work on two major science topics.

    Through the collaborative processes, NASA personnel will benefit from the Interpretive Development Model for more effective interpretation in informal settings. The parks will infuse NASA content, resources and programs into their parks' interpretive programs. For further information contact Ruth Paglierani.

    The SECEF website is being extensively renovated. SECEF welcomes inputs and wishes to make the new website a place where missions can find support and resources that will truly enhance their great EPO efforts. Please send additional thoughts/comments to Troy Cline. SECEF maintains several mailing lists mostly for teleconferences and communication of events. Please contact Carolyn Ng for further information.

    TELL US ABOUT YOUR ACTIVITIES: If you use our SOHO images or movies, provide outreach and programs in the area of solar study, and would like to be considered for our Outreach Spotlight section, write to steele.hill[at] with a brief overview of your efforts. If we think you'd make a good candidate, we will contact you.

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    Last modification: April 10, 2006
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