r. Paul Adams, Anschutz professor of education at Fort Hays State University, is joining the advisory board of the AIM/GLOBE NLC Special Measurement Advisory Board. Adams will be available to provide lessons and ancillary science activities developed for the special measurement.
" This is a new project for me," said Adams. "It is part of the outreach for a satellite mission. This is the second mission with which I have become involved."
AIM, or Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, is a NASA space mission designed to study the highest clouds in the earth's atmosphere -- clouds at the edge of space, according to the AIM Web site. Aeronomy, as defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is the branch of science that deals with the atmosphere of the Earth and the other planets with reference to their chemical composition, physical properties, relative motion, and responses to radiation from space.
NLC refers to "noctilucent clouds," or "night shining" clouds, the name by which earth observers refer to them. Observers whose primary view of them is from satellites call them "polar mesospheric clouds" because they form in the mesosphere -- the outer edge of the Earth's atmosphere, about 50 miles up -- and usually only at high latitudes near the north and south poles. Recently, however, NLCs have been reported at lower latitudes in Utah and Colorado. NLCs also seem to be getting brighter.
The AIM mission is intended to gather data to find out why the could appear to be expanding, and whether the changes are natural variations or influenced by human activity.
GLOBE is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based education and science program.
Adams' role is in the educational outreach area of the program.