Scientist makes astronomy accessible




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Jake Noel-Storr is a familiar face at the semi-annual meetings of the American Astronomical Society. For the last five years, he has attended each one, arriving early to open the AstroZone.

The four-hour long public outreach event, co-hosted by RIT’s Insight Lab and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, gives children and adults a glimpse into the world of astronomy.

According to Noel-Storr, nearly 400 members of the public visited the AstroZone held last month prior to the astronomical society meeting in Pasadena, Calif., and another 35 attended the K-12 Educator Reception sponsored by Lockheed Martin Advanced Technologies Center.

Noel-Storr, director of the Insight Lab in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, and Nicolas Sawicky, an information security and forensics major, exhibited RIT’s Digital Immersive Science Cube, affectionately known as the SCUBE.

Visitors to the SCUBE “flew” through the universe and saw sequences of “The Journey of a Photon,” a collaboration between RIT’s Insight Lab and Rush-Henrietta Senior High School Students.

Other AstroZone exhibitors included Galaxy Zoo, Astronomy Cast, Microsoft WorldWide Telecope, NASA’s WISE mission, the Chandra X-ray Observatory and a digital StarLab from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Solar System Ambassador program.

Breaking down barriers and making astronomy accessible to everyone is important to Noel-Storr. He is already planning the next AstroZone and educator reception to coincide with the January American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C.

“I’m very interested to get people involved with science,” Noel-Storr says.