AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 105. Observations, Outreach and Public Opinion
Display, Saturday, January 15, 2000, 9:20am-4:00pm, Grand Hall

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[105.02] The Little Thompson Observatory

A. E. Schweitzer (Little Thompson Science Foundation (LTSF); Cytomation Inc.; U. of Phoenix), K. VanLew (Front Range Community College), T. Melsheimer (LTSF; Merlin Controls), C. Sackett (LTSF; Johnstown-Milliken school district)

The Little Thompson Observatory is the second member of the Telescopes in Education (TIE) project. Construction of the dome and the remote control system has been completed, and the telescope is now on-line and operational over the Internet. The observatory is located on the grounds of Berthoud High School in northern Colorado.

Local schools and youth organizations have prioritized access to the telescope, and there are monthly opportunities for public viewing. In the future, the telescope will be open after midnight to world-wide use by schools following the model of the first TIE observatory, the 24" telescope on Mt. Wilson. Students remotely connect to the observatory over the Internet, and then receive the images on their local computers.

The observatory grew out of grassroots support from the local community surrounding Berthoud, Colorado, a town of 3,500 residents. TIE has provided the observatory with a Tinsley 18" Cassegrain telescope on a 10-year loan. The facility has been built with tremendous support from volunteers and the local school district.

With funding from an IDEAS grant, we have begun teacher training workshops which will allow K-12 schools in northern Colorado to make use of the Little Thompson Observatory, including remote observing from classrooms.

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