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Las Cumbres Observatory Launches Global Education Program

Telescope network based in California donates 1,000 hours of observation time to new education partners across the globe

Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) is pleased to announce the launch of a new education program that will start on December 1, 2017, with 12 new education partners from around the globe, adding to our 4 core education partners.

For the first time in its history, LCO is offering free observation time - 1,000 hours on our network of 0.4-meter telescopes - to educators around the world for their use in education and outreach projects. LCO issued an open invitation to educators to apply to use our unique telescope resources.  Groups and individuals from across the globe submitted proposals for the chance to use LCO for their innovative educational ventures.

Each proposal was reviewed by an independent panel of experts in astronomy education and research. The panel has selected 12 projects, which will share the 1,000 hours of observation time on our 0.4-meter telescope network.

These 12 projects will receive exclusive access to LCO and they will earn the title 2018 LCO Education Partner. Some of our new partners will manage their programs in person and are based in the USA, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Australia. The remainder will run their programs entirely online, offering a global reach to students, teachers, and the wider public.

“Our education partners are essential to the education mission of LCO.”, said Dr. Edward Gomez, LCO Director of Education. “They allow us to extend outside of our expertise, inspiring new and diverse communities with robotic telescopes.”

Our new partners have proposed a wide variety of innovative programs. These programs will include the search for gravitational waves, long-term studies of asteroids, teacher training and student apprentices, inspirational space outreach events, in-depth investigations for journal publication, and training for the next generation of scientists in the developing world.

“The range of programs and audiences is impressive. It is the perfect demonstration of how versatile Las Cumbres Observatory is”, said Dr. Todd Boroson, LCO President and Observatory Director.

The selected partners are a mixture of groups with whom LCO has worked over the past few years and new groups who have never used LCO.  The new education partner leaders are mostly professional astronomers, amateur astronomers, or former K-12 teachers. All of them have established excellent track records in astronomy education.

“These partnerships are just the type of activities LCO was built for”, said Wayne Rosing, the founder of Las Cumbres Observatory. “I’m looking forward to seeing the impact LCO has on kids around the world.”

Las Cumbres Observatory is very excited about this new phase in its global education program. We know that offering telescope time, free of charge, to educators has the potential to make a big impact on astronomy education throughout the world.

For more information about all of these groups and projects, please see our Education Partners web page.

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