News

Stargazing for BBC

During this week (7 - 9 January 2014) BBC have been showing the latest in their annual series of live space and astronomy programmes on UK television, called Stargazing LIVE. The programmes are hosted by particle physicist and presenter Brian Cox and comedian Dara Ó Briain (who hosted our first Show Me Stars twitter event in 2011).

Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award 2014

Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award 2014, for outstanding outreach by an amateur astronomer to children and the public is awarded to Mr. Chuck Bueter. Bueter, independent informal education professional in South Bend, Indiana, was instrumental in the popularization of astronomy at summer camps as well as diverse astronomy events in the area, and garnered national attention through his programs and website. He has volunteered with Kids Astro Camp at Camp Eberhart in Indiana since 2003, where his enthusiasm for astronomy has helped introduce astronomy to children of all ages. Most recently, his passion for astronomy culminated with the Transit of Venus in 2012, where he orchestrated dozens events in preparation for the event. His efforts resulted in thousands of children and adults viewing the transit with excitement, and became the cover story of the March 2012 issue of Planetarian, the journal of the International Planetarium Society. He also worked with a local planetarium director to organize a program called “Let There be Night,” during which more than 3,000 student from 14 schools learned about the problems of light pollution from hands-on research and activities.

Powerful Ancient Explosions Explain New Class of Supernovae

Astronomers affiliated with the Supernova Legacy Survey (SNLS) have discovered two of the brightest and most distant supernovae ever recorded, 10 billion light-years away and a hundred times more luminous than a normal supernova. Their findings appear in theDec. 20 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.
 
These newly discovered supernovae are especially puzzling because the mechanism that powers most of them -- the collapse of a giant star to a black hole or normal neutron star -- cannot explain their extreme luminosity. Discovered in 2006 and 2007, the supernovae were so unusual that astronomers initially could not figure out what they were or even determine their distances from Earth.

Star in a Box upgraded

The lifecycle of stars is one of the core parts of the science curriculum in many countries around the World. It is, however, one of the more challenging parts of the curriculum for teachers. Many teachers are not specialists in astronomy and possibly did not study physics past their own school careers. This presents a significant problem when they come to teach the unfamiliar topics they meet in astronomy.

For this reason we created Star in a Box. It is a resource which allows people to explore the evolution of stars through different stages of their lives.

We have just released a new version of it based on consultation with a teacher focus group from Cardiff UK. Some of the new features are:

astroEDU: Improving educational activities through peer-review

LCOGT is pleased to announce a new platform for high-quality, peer-reviewed astronomy education activities has been launched today by the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development. astroEDU is a platform that allows educators to discover, review, distribute, improve and remix astronomy education activities, and offers a free peer-review service by professionals in education and science. astroEDU came about through a partnership between LCOGT, Universe Awareness and IAU.

Hundreds of thousands of astronomy education activities exist, but their quality is highly variable. Using the familiar peer-review workflow of scientific publications, astroEDU will improve the quality, visibility and accessibility of these astronomy education activities. Because astroEDU is endorsed by the International Astronomical Union is also lends credibility to these activities.

Call for Key Project proposals 2014A & B

Call for Proposals for Key Projects to use the LCOGT 1m and 2m telescope networks

Excitement at DPS2013 for the LCOGT occultation network

The Division for Planetary Science' (DPS) annual meeting unfolded last week in Denver, CO. This is the main gathering for Solar System and exoplanet scientists, and LCOGT, of course, was there!

LCOGT's unique capabilities help identify supernova progenitor

In June of this year, supernova iPTF13bvn, surprised astrophysicists by revealing  its parentage. To date, Type Ib supernovae have appeared to come from nowhere. Type Ib supernovae explosions appear in surveys, but a search back through the archived data has so far resulted in no evidence of a progenitor, likely because they are simply too faint. A recently documented search for progenitors on a dozen Type Ib supernovae resulted in a dozen non-detections.

Siding Spring open day 2013

Recently the annual Siding Spring Open Day took place. There were several hundred people who were taken on tours around the LCOGT observatory by the observatory manager, Mark Willis.

Call for proposals 2013B

Call for Proposals to use the LCOGT 2m telescope facilities

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