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Creating Infrastructure for Celestial Observations In Support of Community Outreach

Presentation #242.17 in the session Education Programs, Resources, and Research ­— iPoster Session.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Creating Infrastructure for Celestial Observations In Support of Community Outreach

Building on initial attempts to perform follow up observations of transiting exoplanets, we have created an infrastructure designed to encapsulate the very meaning of community participation. The project began with determining viable candidates that can be observed with the Towson University 16 inch telescope. We filtered the TESS candidates in the NASA Exoplanet Archive by host star magnitude and declination, and the transit depth of the candidate exoplanet light curve. By adding other variable stars and asteroids to our list of targets, we hope to increase the list of possible targets throughout a given year. The new infrastructure will train astronomy students and potentially provide local amateur astronomers with a new resource. The infrastructure includes a webpage summarizing the steps to participate, including: a weather tool, an object finder tool which uses the local sidereal time (LST) to determine which right ascensions are available to our location at any given time, and instructions on how to use the software for data reduction and analysis. To ensure that the project has a long lifespan, we will implement short, peer-run, training which allows students to pass down their knowledge of telescopes and observation techniques to the next class.

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