Astronomy

Astronomy

Computing and Software Requirements 

Our teaching projects rely on certain Information Technology (IT) elements being available in the classroom.  While these elements are being kept to a minimum, they are an essential part of our projects.  Our software works on both Mac and Windows-based computers, although slightly more time is required to set up Makali'i on Mac (see below). 

As different schools have different IT setups software installations will vary, your school IT person should be your first point of contact before attempting to install software on school computers.  You can refer your IT person to this page to outline the software necessary to install and a handy checklist to make sure it all works.  As some software may have updated versions, which may alter their layout slightly from those provided in the resources.

Please contact us by email if you are having a problem, as it may have been experienced at another school previously. 

Links to the software here Makali'i_screengrab  Gimp_screengrab Excel_logo Adobe_PDF_logo VLC_screengrab

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The list of IT requiremenis as follows:

  • A projector linked up to the teacher's computer to display images and sounds for PowerPoint Presentations (PPP) and videos.
  • One computer for two students to share.
  • Reliable internet access for the computers for certain implementation points throughout.
  • Java runtime environment installed and functioning.
  • Makali`i software for astronomical imaging already loaded.  Makali'i will need to be registered, contact us for the registration details. Makali'i is native to Windows, although it works perfectly well on a Mac using Winebottler.  The installation instructions are provided in this sheet. The Mac version of Makali'i is provided with the materials for each project or can be downloaded here.
  • Stellarium planetarium software for visualising the night sky.
  • Gimp (free and recommended) or Photoshop (purchased software, if this is already loaded onto your computers) for colour image processing.
  • Microsoft Excel where most of the analysis of the data extracted from the images takes place.  OpenOffice is a free alternative, although Excel is generally a standard spreadsheet program on school computers.

A handy checklist for your IT person before running the class, is to ensure the following steps have been taken (whether using Mac or Windows computers):

  • Test Java by going to the Java test site.
  • A video is played through the projector and sound system in the classroom you are going to use to confirm all is working well.
  • Using a student account, log into the Space to Grow Questionnaire page to check internet access.
  • Open Makali'i then load a FITS image using this software, then 'Save this' FITS image as a TIF file - here is the link to a fits file if you need one.
  • Open Gimp or Photoshop and load this TIF image to check that this software works.
  • Open an XLS file using Excel, although this is not likely to be a problem.

If you have any IT issues or queries when using the project resources, please contact us.

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Additional information for Mac users

Makali'i is native to Windows, although it works perfectly well on a Mac using Winebottler.  The installation instructions are provided in this sheet.  The Mac version of Makali'i is provided with the materials for each project or can be downloaded here.

Playing Video

VLC_screengrab Video can sometimes be problematic with the large number and variety of video setups on different computers. We recommend using VLC Media player, which is able to play any type of video you might encounter. Videos provided are embedded in the first PPP slideshow for each project.  VLC will be able to play the video if you encounter any IT issues in running a PPP directly from within the slideshow. 

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Software Required for the Teaching Modules

If your computer does not have Java runtime environment installed already, it can be downloaded from here.

Stellarium_screengrab

Stellarium

A virtual planetarium displaying what is in the sky at a certain time. A Keyboard Shortcut Help List can be downloaded. (Windows 46Mb, Mac 61 Mb).

Makali'i_screengrab

Makali`i

Editing and analysis of image data. Recommended for aperture photometry - measuring star magnitudes. (2.7Mb). Makali'i is native to Windows, although it works perfectly well on a Mac using Winebottler.  The installation instructions are provided in this sheet. The Mac version of Makali'i is provided with the materials for each project, or can be downloaded here.

Adobe_PDF_logo

Adobe

Adobe Reader allows you to read the pdf manuals and files. Search online for other PDF readers avilable.

Gimp_screengrab

Gimp

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program for photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. The link to the Mac version is here. Photoshop can be used if access to it is in place.

VLC_screengrab

VLC

VLC plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD and various streaming protocols. (40Mb)

Excel_logo

Charts in Excel and Open Office

Basics of making an x-y scatter chart with Excel or Open Office: Excel 2003 (PDF to your desktop) 6 pages, Excel 2007 (Printable version) Open Office Data Plots and Open Office Charts to your desktop.


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