||Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network: Keeping Citizen Scientists in the Dark
||457, Connecting People to Science
||Ross, R. J.
||Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT) is creating a network of telescopes at excellent sites around the world providing 24/7 all sky coverage for astronomical observations.
The network of telescopes, ranging in size from 0.4 m to 2.0 m, will be available for both scientific and education users.
The LCOGT telescopes are being built quickly and will be deployed soon.
The two 2.0 m Faulkes Telescopes, one on Haleakala, Maui (FTN), the other
at Siding Spring Observatory, Australia (FTS), are currently in operation.
There is also a 0.8 m telescope in the Santa Ynez Valley, California (BOS),
which is being used for commissioning and for many local outreach programs.
The first 1.0 m telescopes will be heading to Chile and South Africa in
2011 and will each be accompanied by a 0.4 m telescope. Other sites,
including Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), McDonald Observatory (Texas),
Siding Spring (Australia), and Haleakala (Hawaii) will follow, with the
possibility of up to two additional sites yet to be selected.
The LCOGT education and public outreach effort is transforming into a
“Citizen Science” program. Several projects will
encompass taking observations through the network, analyzing the data, and
sharing the results with other citizen scientists from around the world.
The first of these projects, “Agent Exoplanet,” will be launched in
mid-2011, and will involve analyzing brand-new data to create a light curve
of an exoplanet. As the network is not yet complete, this test project
will not include actual observing as future ones will.
More information about LCOGT and its Citizen Science program can be found
online (http://www.lcogt.net). In addition to material to get
started in the Citizen Science program, the website also includes resources
and content for more hands-on activities using archived data, general
astronomy pages, network information, complete access to the public data
archive, current news, and recent publications. And don't forget to register for the LCOGT monthly newsletter.