The program for 2013 consists of the following two workshops:

Astronomy 897A: Black Holes: Gravity's Fatal Attraction

July 15 - 19



Astronomy 897B: Telescopes: Tools for Astronomical Discovery & The Search for Life on Other Planets

July 29 - August 2


  • Agenda

  • Pre-course work to be completed before arrival

  • Reading Assignment: Please read chapters 1 - 10 in your book, “The Telescope”






The Penn State Inservice Workshops in Astronomy (PSIWA), inaugurated in summer 1996, consists of one or more week-long workshops for middle- and high-school science teachers and other educators. Each Workshop offers two credits from Penn State's Graduate School. They are held at the University Park campus in State College, PA, which lies at the center of Pennsylvania. The Workshops are offered by Penn State's Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium.


The Workshops provide a multifaceted experience in modern astronomy. They combine lectures on astronomical topics, discussions on their presentation in the classroom, examination of multimedia curricular materials (texts, animations, simulations, software), hands-on classroom laboratory experiments with inexpensive equipment, nighttime observing and use of a planetarium, and other inquiry-based activities. While one central instructor will guide the Workshop, guest presentations by other faculty, research astronomers, science education faculty, and secondary school Master Teachers are also included. The Workshops are very intensive, requiring a full-time commitment for 5 days (and even some nights).



Workshop Faculty

Eric Feigelson
Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State, inaugurated the program and is a past lead instructor for the Space Astronomy and Stars & Planets workshops. He is a leader in undergraduate science education at Penn State, and has research interests in X-ray astronomy, star formation and astrostatistics.

Niel Brandt
Distinguished Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State, will be the principal instructor for the Black Holes course. Winner of the prestigious Sloan Fellowship and NSF Career Development grants for research, he studies black holes at the center of quasars and other galaxies at X-ray wavelengths. Niel is committed to educational outreach and also is the past administrator for the PJAS Astronomy awards.

Christopher Palma
Senior Lecturer of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State, he also served recently as the Associate Director of Outreach in the Eberly College of Science. He has been the lead instructor for several workshops in past summers. His teaching interests include informal science education for K-12 students. His research interests include the study of globular clusters, dwarf galaxies, and stellar populations.

Kevin Luhman
Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State, has been a co-instructor for several previous workshops. He studies the formation of stars, brown dwarfs, and planets through optical and infrared observations with ground- and space-based telescopes.

Glenn Goldsborough
Physics and Astronomy Teacher at Pennsbury High School, is an alumnus of past workshops and has spent several years as a co-instructor for several different workshops.

Michele Crowl
PhD Candidate in Science Education and Bachelor’s in Astronomy & Astrophysics from Penn State.