HOUSTON, Pa. -- Students at Chartiers-Houston Junior-Senior High School spend a lot of time with their heads in the clouds.
Chartiers-Houston, a registered participant in NASA's Students' Cloud Observations On-Line (S'COOL) program, reported its 5000th cloud observation this month to NASA's Langley Research Center.
The S'COOL program is an education and public outreach tool for the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument where students observe the types of clouds in their area and report them to NASA. The benefit of the cloud observations helps students gain experience by practicing authentic science, and NASA can use the observations to validate the CERES instrument's cloud retrievals.
"We use the observations to indicate conditions that may be difficult for the satellite to retrieve but also for educational purposes with the students," explains Lin Chambers, the S'COOL program lead.
Chartiers-Houston Junior-Senior High School registered to participate in S'COOL in August 2000. The first observation, led by teacher Gary Popiolkowski, was made on Sept. 11 of that year. Since then, with the exception of summer vacation, Chartiers-Houston is consistently in the monthly S'COOL top ten for quantity of observations submitted. Joyce Fisher, an educational specialist for S'COOL, says they are often the highest-ranking school.
Over 2,900 participants from 79 countries have registered to make observations for the S'COOL program since its inception 12 years ago, and roughly 45 percent of the observations that are submitted are coordinated with an overpass of one of the satellites carrying a CERES instrument.
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