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Stanford Online High School Students Use LCO Data in Astronomical Research

Sep 30, 2020

Figure: Satellite trails observed in LCO data are removed using Python software written by Stanford Online High School student Owen Dugan (work to be presented at the 2021 SAS meeting).

Las Cumbres Observatory provides telescope observing time to student groups doing research through the Global Sky Partners program. This is the fourth in a series that features the published work of students doing astronomical research with data obtained from the LCO global network.

The Stanford Online High School offers an Astronomy Research Seminar as well as an astronomy club, under the guidance of Kaleé Tock, that has been an LCO Global Sky Partner since 2018. The students in both the seminar and the club organize into groups and conduct cutting-edge astronomical research using observations from the LCO network. At the end of the semester, the groups give presentations of their work and submit their final papers to academic journals. Their work using LCO observations covers subjects such as the study of double star periods, transit timing variations of exoplanets, and eclipsing binary star systems.

Stanford OHS, as the name suggests, offers all of its courses and seminars entirely virtually. The students are from around the world and mostly the student groups are composed of students in different countries. Kaleé facilitates all of the student group meetings via video conference, but the project ideas and direction comes from the students themselves.

So far this year the Stanford OHS students had 14 papers using LCO data accepted for publication. Eight of the papers were accepted to the Society for Astronomical Sciences; two papers were presented at the January meeting of the American Astronomical Society; two were published by Astronomy Theory, Observations, and Methods; and two were published in the Journal of Double Star Observations.

The full list of the 2020 Stanford OHS papers that use LCO data have been compiled on our website. Please take a look and follow the links to the papers and videos of the presentations. Las Cumbres Observatory provides opportunities for students throughout the world through the Global Sky Partners program. LCO programs spark an interest in science in students and inspire the next generation of scientific thinkers.

The Global Sky Partners program is supported by the Simons Foundation.