The Spitzer Space Telescope Research Program for Teachers and Students (commonly abbreviated the "Teachers' Program") was designed by the Spitzer Science Center (SSC) and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). This innovative and extremely successful program was active from 2004-2008. In 2009 NASA expanded the program and it became the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program (NITARP) utilizing archival data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), the NASA Exoplanet Archive, the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA) and other NASA archive holdings..
The participants in the Spitzer Teachers’ program conducted research using Director's discretionary observing time on the Spitzer Space Telescope. The program's goals were the fundamental NASA goals of inspiring and motivating students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as well as to engage the public in shaping and sharing the experience of exploration and discovery. Our educational plan addressed the NASA objectives of improving student proficiency in science and improving science instruction by providing a unique opportunity to a group of teachers and students to observe with Spitzer and work with Spitzer archival data.
The granted observing time and targets were subject to approval by the Spitzer Science Center Director and followed all the Spitzer Space Telescope observing rules and guidelines. All data taken during this program were non-proprietary and publicly available through the Spitzer Archive immediately after processing. Once the data were acquired, the teachers visited the Spitzer Science Center to begin the data analysis with the scientists. The teachers were expected to give presentations at relevant teachers' conferences. All teams had AAS presentations and some had papers in scientific journals.
The SSC offered this program to teachers in the well-established teacher professional development program, Teacher Leaders in Research Based Science Education (TLRRBSE), which was an ongoing program at NOAO. This NSF-sponsored program touched the formal education community through a national audience of well-trained and supported middle and high school teachers.
Round 1 (2004-2006)
Teachers: Jeff Adkins, Howard T. Chun, Lauren K. Chapple, Harlan V. Devore, Anthony R. Maranto, Steve Rapp, Theresa Roelofsen, Babs Sepulveda, Linda Stefaniak, Timothy S. Spuck, Beth Thomas, and Cynthia Weehler.
Support scientists include: Ranga-Ram Chary, John Feldmeier, Varoujan Gorjian, Don Hoard, Steve Howell, Mark Lacy, and Luisa M. Rebull.
Round 2 (2005-2006)
Teachers: Jeff Adkins, John Blackwell, Howard Chun, Velvet Dowdy, Rosa Hemphill, Ardis Herrold, Thomas Loughran, Anthony Maranto, Steve Rapp, Theresa Roelofsen, Babs Sepulveda, Linda Stefaniak, Timothy Spuck, Dwight Taylor, Beth Thomas, and Cynthia Weehler.
Support scientists include: Ranga-Ram Chary, Vandana Desai, John Feldmeier, Rose Finn, Varoujan Gorjian, Don Hoard, Steve Howell, Mark Lacy, Luisa M. Rebull and Gregory Rudnick.
Round 3 (2007-2008)
Teachers: Kareen Borders, Cris DeWolf, Peter Guastella, Chelen H. Johnson, Virginia Jones, Susan Kelly, Chris Martin, David W. McDonald, Jeff Paradis, Vincent Pereira, Peter Pitman, John Schaefers, Jen Tetler, and Lynne Zielinski.
Support scientists include: Varoujan Gorjian, Don Hoard, Steve Howell, and Luisa M. Rebull. Teacher mentors for these three teams are Jeff Adkins, Babs Sepulveda, Tim Spuck, and Beth Thomas