LCO Education Director Dr. Edward Gomez teaching astronomy at Camp Cosmos
Las Cumbres Observatory is pleased to welcome 9 new education partners and 11 returning education partners for 2019. The LCO program established last year offered 1,000 hours of viewing time on the network of 0.4m telescopes to educational courses that feature astronomy. The program was a success in its first year, providing 17 partners with telescope time and support resources. Building on last year's model, we held another open call for proposals for educational programs. We were oversubscribed for this call of 1,000 hours of telescope time, receiving proposals totalling 2,300 hours. This is an excellent sign that there is high demand for education projects using LCO's robotic telescopes.
The partner proposals were reviewed by an independent committee of astronomers with expertise in astronomy research and education. The final group selected include highly innovative projects that will use robotic telescopes for musical composition, the citizen-science study of an exoplanet, and bringing astronomy to a visually impaired audience. Several programs are more traditional STEM mentoring projects for students and teachers.
Along with access to LCO's research quality telescopes, instrumentation, and data infrastructure; all partners are supported and mentored by the LCO education team of Dr. Edward Gomez and Sarah Eve Roberts. Our experiences with the 2018 partners showed us that this mentoring is an essential aspect of the partnership. The education partners have benefitted from this relationship and they have also helped improve LCO's capabilities.
We are especially pleased to welcome back 11 partners from 2018, with whom we have worked closely over the past year. The large proportion of our 2018 partners who reapplied to continue their projects in 2019, is a testament to the strength of the LCO education program.
These 20 education partners will join our two legacy education programs - the Faulkes Telescope Project and the University of Hawai'i - for 2019. A full list of partners is available on our 2019 education partners page.
We look forward to continuing to expand the influence of LCO's unique telescope resources and capabilities on high-quality science education and outreach with all of our partners during 2019.