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A Large Citizen Science Astronomy Network for All of Us

Presentation #412.06 in the session “Education and Public Engagement I: Public Engagement and Citizen Science”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
A Large Citizen Science Astronomy Network for All of Us

Unistellar’s eVscope network is now made up of ~3000 digital telescopes. These revolutionary, light-amplifying, user-friendly devices allow citizen astronomers to observe the universe, either from downtown or the countryside, in unprecedented clarity and detail. Thanks to our partnership with the SETI Institute, every eVscope user will also be able to join a global network of observers conducting coordinated, worldwide viewing campaigns under the aegis of professional astronomers.

We have identified scientific investigations that can be conducted with the eVscope, including the determination of the size, shape, and multiplicity of asteroids by occultation, the characterization of Near-Earth Asteroids shortly after their detection, the study of Jupiter-sized exoplanets by transit, and other transient events. Shortly after the first eVscope deliveries (end of 2019) we initiated several pilot science campaigns involving our citizen astronomers and began collecting our first scientific results which will be presented here.

Teachers and their students can also experience the thrill of scientific discovery. We are committed to make this happen, and have already begun discussions with non-profit organizations like Global Hands-On Universe, American Modeling Teachers Association, and Astronomical Society of the Pacific to anchor our projects into existing programs and participate in outreach events so scientists, amateur astronomers, and students have access to an eVscope, get the opportunity to use it, and conduct science with it. With these partners we propose to develop programs to usher students, teachers, and aspiring astronomers into the 21st century by offering them access, guidance, and training in the use of our technology.

The eVscope is much more than a telescope. By allowing anybody to stargaze and find deep sky objects and enjoy their beauty, it becomes a window to the universe. The eVscope is now in the hands of a diverse population of citizen astronomers including artists, musicians, teachers, scientists, engineers, techies, coders and urban families. This community has delivered the first-of-its-kind crowd-sourced image of the Comet ATLAS which was disintegrating.

In 2020, we have demonstrated that eVscope users can experience the thrill of scientific discovery and be part of an active community of citizen astronomers. We will discuss our plans to expand the network beyond 2021 and how we anticipate to reach a broader population.

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