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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[105.01] The Madison Metropolitan School District Remote Observatory

G.L. Brissenden (AAS Ed. Office), B.J. Senson (Madison Metropolitan School Dist.), K.G. Stassun (Univ. Wisconsin)

We present the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Observatory, a new remotely controlled, Internet-accessible, 14-inch telescope in Madison, Wisconsin. The facility provides for live and automated CCD imaging with the aim of incorporating observational astronomy into the K-12 science curriculum by making inquiry-based, collaborative astronomy projects accessible to the K-12 classroom.

The MMSD Observatory supports student scientists in their pursuit of amateur-level astronomical research projects. These projects include but are not limited to planetary imaging, the study of variable stars, and the search for asteroids, comets, novae and supernovae. In order to accomplish this goal, a program has been designed to give students, teachers, and community members the training required to make effective use of the facility. This program includes courses designed for middle and high school teachers, elementary school teachers, and students. The essential elements of these courses are being integrated into an Internet-based course that will be available in the Spring of 2000.

Details of the training program and of the physical facility are provided. Cost estimates for various facility components are also discussed.

A long-term goal of the Observatory is to promote the development of---and to eventually connect with---similar facilities around the globe so as to form an international network capable of offering live observing sessions to students during their regular class time. This will require not only the development of the physical facilities but also the infrastructure to support the training of students and a collaborative approach to student research projects. An organizational meeting is being planned to assess the prospects for such a network.

We acknowledge the generous support of: The Madison Metropolitan School District, The Evjue Foundation, RayOVac Corporation, TDS Telecom, LaForce Incorporated, Cellular One, Thinkquest, Eagle Optics, and the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.madison.k12.wi.us/planetarium/obs.htm. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: bsenson@madison.k12.wi.us

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