Over the past few months, I have been working with local artist Laura Sorvala from Auralab. We are both keen on science and both comic book fans, so we decided to make a comic book. The comic book is going to accompany our education programme, particularly our partnership with Universe in the Classroom (a primary school programme in Wales, UK). Sarah Eve Roberts (who works jointly for LCOGT and Universe in the Classroom) was also involved in creating the comic book and will be using it as a learning resource in Welsh schools. A part of that programme is about empowering kids to see themselves as scientists, and the key to making that happen is to encourage them to ask questions.
This week we are proud to launch version 1.0 of WhatsUP. This is small app which provides On Sky (our education observing interface) with a list of suggested observing targets. This list has been curated by me (Edward Gomez) and other members of LCOGT education team and provides beautiful examples of over 400 different types of object which can be seen in the Universe. Everyone observing with On Sky (over 800 people currently) has seen this app, working hard behind the scenes to provide you with interesting and exciting things to observe.
5 weeks ago (May 2015) we successfully installed 2 of our 0.4-meter class telescopes on Mount Teide in Tenerife. Since then we have been commissioning these telescopes, getting them ready for autonomous, robotic operations.
Today is Asteroid Day! At LCOGT We have been observing asteroids since the 2005, back when we only had our 2 flagship, 2-meter class telescopes. Asteroid Day is about sharing global awareness of asteroid impacts. So, we are sharing this movie of the past few nights images of (1566) Icarus, an asteroid which passed 5 million miles from Earth (thats 21 times further than the Moon is away). It made its closet approach to the Earth on 16 June 2015, and is now heading in towards the Sun.
Call for proposals to use LCOGT 1m & 2m telescope Network.
Over the past 2 months I have attended 2 conferences about software development. The first, Python in Astronomy, focused on the software tools astronomers have developed to help them to do research and how we can support each other, mostly in Python. The second, DjangoCon Europe, was for developers who are either freelancers or work for software houses. There were almost 10 times as many people at DjangoCon (400) as at Python in Astronomy (50).
You may remember that in 2012 we prepared an observatory site on mount Teide on the island of Tenerife (one of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean). Sadly that site has remained empty of LCOGT telescopes. However, are pleased to announce that after a very successful trip we now have not 1 but 2 telescopes there. This trip was very significant for LCOGT in a number of ways; not only have we added a new site to our global network but we have tripled the number of 0.4-meter telescopes we have deployed (the first 0.4-meter was installed at our Chile node in 2014).
A Near Earth Object (NEO), an asteroid which can come close to the Earth, which has been designated 2004 BL86, passed safely past the Earth on January 26 at a distance about three times the distance of Earth to the moon. Less than 11 hours later, one of the LCOGT 1-meter telescopes at Cerro Tololo in Chile was used by Tim Lister to track and image the high speed rock. At the time, the NEO was a little more than 1.3 million kilometers from the Earth and travelling at a speed that meant it would cross the diameter of the Full Moon in less than 15 minutes. The animation consists of a series of 2 second exposure images taken through a broad w-band filter with LCOGT's Sinistro CCD camera. The LCOGT NEO Program has been tracking this and other NEOs in order to provide important position and brightness updates to enable the risk from these objects to be understood and to determine the rotation rate, shape and learn more about these objects and their place in the Solar System.
Call for Proposals for Key Projects to use the LCOGT 1m and 2m telescope networks
Call for Proposals to use the LCOGT 1m & 2m telescope facilities