Program lets teachers join astronomy research flights

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NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is now accepting applications from educators for the Cycle 3-2015 Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAA) Program. Teams selected receive online astronomy instruction and a trip to Palmdale, Calif., to participate in two SOFIA science flights.

The science flights are eight- to 10-hour flights on a 747SP aircraft carrying a 2.5-meter diameter telescope dedicated to astronomical research at altitudes up to 45,000 feet. They offer educators interaction with astronomers, engineers and technicians on board the aircraft and a view to the collaboration that leads to astronomical data collection and the research papers that follow.

At least one member of each two-person team must be a science teacher; the other team member may be a teacher, an informal educator (such as an educator at a science center or a librarian implementing community programming) or an amateur astronomer. The program pays all costs.

Applications must be submitted by Dec. 22. For detailed eligibility and program requirements, go here.

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