Overview: Star that changed the universe

of "Tales of … The star that changed the universe"
Tales of … The star that changed the universe explains how Edwin Hubble used the variable star, V1, to determine the distance to the Andromeda Galaxy. The reading describes the process Hubble used during his observations as well as the process used to observe the star with the Hubble Space Telescope. The variable star was observed for six months by the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), a group of amateur astronomers, to obtain an accurate light curve for the star. Then the light curve was used by astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute to plan and carry out four separate observations of the star.
Format(s) available: Printer-friendly web page
Grades: 11-12, but the material can be adapted for use in other grades at the teacher's discretion
How to use it in the classroom

Teachers can use Tales of … The star that changed the universe as:

A content reading selection. Teachers should discuss the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary prior to having students read this selection.

An engagement activity. Have students read the selection. Ask them to describe why finding a variable star was crucial in determining the distance to the galaxy.

An inquiry tool. Make a statement, such as: "Scientists do not often make discoveries that change their view of the universe." Have students read the selection and write down as many questions as they can about the information in the text.

A source of information. Students can describe the events that led up to the discovery of Hubble’s variable star.

Related materials

Press release: "Hubble Views the Star that Changed the Universe"

Amazing Space video: "Discovering Galaxies"

See the Stars and stellar evolution section on "Teaching tools" page.

Overview: Star that changed the universe