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Las Cumbres Observatory Selects Key Projects for 2020

Sep 8, 2020

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Las Cumbres Observatory recently began observations for ten new Key Projects. The LCO Key Projects are large observing programs designed to take maximum advantage of the unique capabilities of the LCO global telescope network. LCO issues a Call for Proposals during the year, looking for projects that will have substantial scientific impact on problems that are widely considered to be of significant astrophysical interest. The projects were awarded 36,760 hours observations over three years. This investment of observing time enables results that promise maximum scientific impact through major, multi-institute, collaborations.

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The ten Key Projects address diverse areas of astrophysics, including gravitational-wave follow-up, microlensing events, active galactic nuclei, asteroids and comets, magnetic activity of stars, follow-up of TESS planet candidates, and mapping black hole growth. This broad range of science illustrates the power of continuous and long-term monitoring that can only be offered by a global telescope network.

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Three of the 2020 Key Projects are highlighted in the insets and all of the Key Projects are detailed on the LCO website, with the name and institution of each Principal Investigator, the title of the Project, a public summary, and the full abstract. Eight individual institutions are represented and each of the projects is a collaboration of teams that spans many institutions. Collaborators on Key Project teams commit significant resources to the work, including observing facilities, computing resources, and additional scientist time. For example, the Global Supernova Project, headed by Dr. Andy Howell of LCO, is a worldwide collaboration studying stellar explosions using more than 40 telescopes around the world and in space. This next phase of the Global Supernova Project will study 500 supernovae over 3 years to add to the more than 800 events already in the catalogue.

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LCO is proud to support the 2020 Key Projects and their science collaborations. We look forward to featuring the published results of the Projects, so please stay tuned.

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