A New Lecture-Tutorial for Teaching Interferometry to Astro 101 Students

Colin S. Wallace, Chase Hatcher, Timothy G. Chambers, Seth D. Hornstein, Julia Kamenetzky, Edward E. Prather

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ground-breaking image of a black hole's event horizon, which captured the public's attention and imagination in April 2019, was captured using the power of interferometry: many separate telescopes working together to observe the cosmos in incredible detail. Many recent astrophysical discoveries that have revolutionized the scientific community's understanding of the cosmos were made by interferometers such as LIGO, ALMA, and the Event Horizon Telescope. Astro 101 instructors who want their students to learn the science behind these discoveries must teach about interferometry. Decades of research show that using active learning strategies can significantly increase students' learning and reduce achievement gaps between different demographic groups over what is achieved from traditional lecture-based instruction. As part of an effort to create active learning materials on interferometry, we developed and tested a new Lecture-Tutorial to help Astro 101 students learn about key properties of astronomical interferometers. This paper describes this new Lecture-Tutorial and presents evidence for its effectiveness from a study conducted with 266 Astro 101 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-444
Number of pages5
JournalPhysics Teacher
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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