Aninoquisi To'sdigo'ti'a (We see the stars) will engage middle grade and high school students in the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in a science project to observe exoplanet transits in nearby stars. This is also part of a project to support Cherokee language revitalization by connecting language arts and science. We propose a project for middle grade students to capture at least one transit event and work with professional astronomers to report on the timing of the captured transit. The host star is an G0 subgiant star with an apparent magnitude in the V band of 8.17 V, and is visible from the northern hemisphere LCO sites. There are other possible transiting exoworlds that we could use, but for the time being, we want to see if we can get middle grade students to capture the transit as a proof of concept.
To recruit participants into the program, Western Carolina University will partner with the New Kituwah Academy located in the Qualla Boundary, home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. New Kituwah is central to language revitalization efforts as there are now less than 200 fluent speakers of the eastern dialect of the Cherokee language. We are partnering with the WCU Cherokee Center in the Qualla boundary to support the language revitalization aspect by connecting students with native Cherokee speakers and construct a Cherokee language text that explains the process of observing the exoplanet transit.