Viewing posts from November, 2012
On Thursday November 15 I visited the MESA Club at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, CA. This visit was arranged through a fantastic program called Santa Barbara Partners in Education that, among other activities, links schools with professionals in the community who want to donate their time. The acronym MESA stands for math, science, and engineering acheivement, and the club at Dos Pueblos has about 20 members. The students are all interested in science, and they wanted a hands-on demonstration about astronomy. I decided to have them use LCOGT's citizen science project, Agent Exoplanet. As an introduction we had a brief discussion about exoplanets, why they are scientifically important to find, the type of data that is required, and how it is analyzed. Then, the students dug in! We only had 45 minutes, but I was very impressed by how quickly these MESA Club students caught on to the technique of relative photometry.
Sky & Telescope published The Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope in the October, 2012 edition. Researched and written by Santa Barbara author Cameron Walker, the article offers a snapshot of LCOGT as we deployed the first 1-meter telescopes in Chile, acquired first light on the FLOYDS spectrograph, and completed three 1-meter enclosures in South Africa.
Rounding out Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope's 1-meter southern ring development, the final two enclosures were completed last week at Siding Spring Observatory. Telescope Operations Manager Mark Willis led the effort, first building two 19-ft Ash domes on site, then erecting the prefabricated wall set from LCOGT's headquarters in Goleta, California. Finally, the two domes were mated with the two wall sets.