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Parks & Museums

Astronomy from the Ground Up and Sky Rangers

Astronomy from the Ground Up (AFGU) provides informal science educators and interpreters with new and innovative ways to communicate astronomy. AFGU is a growing community of more than 950 educators from museums, science centers, nature centers, and parks around the country, who are actively enhancing and expanding their capacity to address astronomy topics for their visitors. Here are some sample activities used by AFGU participants to get their audiences excited about astronomy:

Astronomy from the Ground Up was created in 2005 by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) in collaboration with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC).* In 2009 the AFGU team began offering astronomy training and materials to park rangers and other outdoor educators and interpreters, thanks to a generous grant from NASA. The new program, Sky Rangers, builds on the success of AFGU and involves collaboration with the National Park Service, the National Association for Interpretation, and NASA Night Sky Network (managed by the ASP).

The latest effort is My Sky Tonight: Early Childhood Pathways to Astronomy (NSF DRL AISL Award #1217441). With this funding from the National Science Foundation, the ASP is developing both a toolkit of materials and a professional development workshop for museum and park educators who want to bring astronomy to their youngest visitors. Find out more about this initiative here.

Many of the AFGU activities are now available on the ASP’s The Universe at Your Fingertips DVD-ROM.

The AFGU community shares ideas, resources, and continued learning experiences on the AFGU Community Website.

To see photos of our past AFGU workshops, please visit our Flickr photo pool!

The AFGU team offers both in-person and online workshops. To become a part of the AFGU Community, please apply to participate in one of our upcoming workshops.

If you cannot participate at this time but would like to be notified of future opportunities, please sign up here.

The AFGU team can be contacted at:

Astronomy from the Ground Up
Astronomical Society of the Pacific
390 Ashton Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

Email: afgu {at}
Phone: 415-715-1402

National Science Foundation logo*Astronomy from the Ground Up is based upon work supported by the Informal Education Division of the National Science Foundation under Grant no. ESI-0451933. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation