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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[105.03] The Einstein Observatory: A New Public/Private Observatory Complex for Community Education and Scientific Research

J. Sowell (GA Tech)

The Development Authority of Cherokee County (Georgia) is leading a public/private partnership of business/industry professionals, educators, and university scientists that seeks to develop a national prototype educational and scientific research facility for grades K-12, as well as college-level research, that will inspire our youth to become literate in science and technology. In particular, the goal is to make this complex a science, math, and engineering magnet learning facility and to raise the average SAT scores of local area students by 100 points.

A dark-site mountain, nestled on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the northern-most edge of Atlanta, will become the home for the "Einstein" Observatory. The complex will have four telescopes: one 50-inch, one 24-inch, and two 16-inch telescopes. Each telescope will have digital cameras and an optic-fiber feed to a single, medium-resolution spectroscope. All four telescopes will be electronically accessible from local schools. Professional astronomers will establish suitable observational research projects and will lead K-12 and college students in the acquisition and analysis of data. Astronomers will also assist the local area schoolteachers in methods for nurturing children's scientific inquiry.

The observatory mountain will have 100 platform locations for individual viewing by visiting families, school groups, and amateur astronomers. The Atlanta Astronomer Club will provide numerous evening programs and viewing opportunities for the general public. An accompanying Planetarium & Science Center will be located on the nearby campus of Reinhardt College. The Planetarium & Science Center will be integrated with Reinhardt College's theme of learning focused upon studying the past and present as a basis for projecting the future.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: jim.sowell@physics.gatech.edu

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