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Session 30 - Amateurs & Professionals: Collaborators in the New Age of Electronic Astronomy.
Display session, Tuesday, June 10
South Main Hall,

[30.06] Stardial -- an autonomous astronomical camera on the WWW

P. R. McCullough (UIUC), U. Thakkar (NCSA, Urbana-Champaign)

The use of an autonomous electronic camera, called ``Stardial,'' for undergraduate instruction is described. Stardial delivers images of the night sky nearly in real-time to the world wide web ( The remote instrumentation of Stardial is robust, inexpensive, and accomodates many students asynchronously with respect to the instructor(s). The guiding philosophy of the curriculum is to provide students with authentic astronomical data so that they may learn about science by doing it themselves on the internet. Students respond favorably to the opportunity to learn from their own experiences with genuine data, complete with its irregularities and its surprises. Perhaps surprisingly, 9 of 10 self-selected student volunteers in our pilot project were female.

Stardial's instrumentation is similar to that of Gaustad et al., and to that of Richmond, Droege, et al. (both at this same meeting).

Stardial has benefitted from contributions from students, especially Lawrence Tan, Troy Klyber, Jim Pulokas, Jim Waldemer, and Diana Lopez, and from a number of professionals, especially G.T. Becker, Mike Newberry, John Dolby, Tom Droege, Bob Mutel, Mike Richmond, John Thorstensen, and Rick White. Stardial is funded by the University of Illinois, primarily from the office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. We welcome participation from amateur astronomers and other educators.

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Program listing for Tuesday