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Proceedings Paper

Education and public engagement in observatory operations
Author(s): Pavel Gabor; Louis Mayo; Dennis Zaritsky
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Paper Abstract

Education and public engagement (EPE) is an essential part of astronomy’s mission. New technologies, remote observing and robotic facilities are opening new possibilities for EPE. A number of projects (e.g., Telescopes In Education, MicroObservatory, Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope and UNC’s Skynet) have developed new infrastructure, a number of observatories (e.g., University of Arizona’s “full-engagement initiative” towards its astronomy majors, Vatican Observatory’s collaboration with high-schools) have dedicated their resources to practical instruction and EPE. Some of the facilities are purpose built, others are legacy telescopes upgraded for remote or automated observing. Networking among institutions is most beneficial for EPE, and its implementation ranges from informal agreements between colleagues to advanced software packages with web interfaces. The deliverables range from reduced data to time and hands-on instruction while operating a telescope. EPE represents a set of tasks and challenges which is distinct from research applications of the new astronomical facilities and operation modes. In this paper we examine the experience with several EPE projects, and some lessons and challenges for observatory operation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 July 2016
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 9910, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI, 99102L (11 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2234465
Show Author Affiliations
Pavel Gabor, Vatican Observatory (United States)
Louis Mayo, ADNET Systems, Inc. (United States)
Dennis Zaritsky, Univ. of Arizona, Steward Observatory (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9910:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI
Alison B. Peck; Robert L. Seaman; Chris R. Benn, Editor(s)

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