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Viewing posts from February, 2014

Student science and engineering fair success in Hawai'i

JD Armstrong works on outreach for University of Hawai'i's Institute for Astronomy on Maui. A major part of his job is to mentor hawaiian students in astronomy research projects and in particular projects that involve the LCOGT observatory on Maui, Faulkes Telescope North (FTN).

This year JD mentored 7 students.  All 7 entered science fair and competed at various district fairs throughout the Hawaiian Islands. All 7 students at the Maui, Honolulu, and HAIS district fairs won awards. The Maui fair was held at the Velma Santos Community Center, Maui.  The Honolulu Fair was held at Kapiolani Community College. The Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) science fair was held on February 8, 2014 at the Sullivan Center, 'Iolani School, in Honolulu.

5 of the 7 students won merit awards which qualifies them to compete at the state level.  One of the Maui students, Celeste Jongeneelen, won first place for the junior division.  Celeste used data from FTN to study young open clusters looking for Be stars.  Two of the students M. Thomas Sturm and Christopher Kim entered a joint project and won first place for the senior division and are automatically eligible for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Thomas and Christopher received numerous awards.  A quote from the award ceremony, "Thomas and Chris come back up here."

Yet another student named Christopher, Christopher Lindsay, a freshman attending 'Iolani School in Honolulu who won awards in the HAIS and HSSEF science fairs in 2013, also won the Overall HAIS First Prize and the ISEF Award for his project, "The Search and Discovery of a CoRoT Exoplanet:  Photometry of Transiting Exoplanets Using the CoRoT and Faulkes Telescopes". Christopher's project was a 2 year long observing effort, which involved analysing images from the ESA satellite CoRoT and performing extra observations on FTN. The amazing conclusion to this project was that Christopher's observations helped discover a new exoplanet!

Results of the 2014 Key Project Allocation

Last week the LCOGT Science Advisory Committee met, and, among other activities, reviewed the key project proposals. There were 11 proposals, and the total amount of time requested was more than 17,000 hours on the 1m network and about 1700 hours on the 2m network. Although the pool for key project proposals is about 6000 1m hours and 1200 2m hours, I wanted to allocate no more than half of these hours in the first call. This limitation is (1) so that we can have at least one more call next year and allow additional programs to start, and (2) so that we can lower the overallocation, with the goal of executing nearly all of the requested observations.