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Using Transiting Planet Candidates to Teach Undergraduate Students How to Observe and Reduce Photometric Data

Presentation #312.07 in the session IDEA, Education, Public Engagement, Workforce Development and History (Poster)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Using Transiting Planet Candidates to Teach Undergraduate Students How to Observe and Reduce Photometric Data

Early experience in astronomical research is fundamentally important to the education of undergraduate students and their preparation for graduate school. Learning how to use robotic telescopes to obtain photometric data, and then reducing and analyzing that data is one way to introduce young students to basic data reduction. Meaningful projects that make use of differential photometry are a valuable stepping stone to prepare students for more advanced research opportunities while they are still undergraduates. At BYU we have access to the 20-inch robotic ARCSAT telescope at Apache Point Observatory. In this presentation I will highlight our use of ARCSAT to follow-up TESS transiting planet candidates, the quality of the data we obtain, and how we are using this resource to teach students how to plan, collect, and reduce differential photometry to analyze the light curves. In addition to learning basic skills, these students are producing meaningful results that support the exoplanet community and they are developing a sense of belonging and identity as astronomers.

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