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Session 4 - Education: Telescopes, the Web and Curricula.
Display session, Wednesday, January 07
Exhibit Hall,

[4.12] A Program to Train Minority Undergraduate Students in Astronomical Research

B. J. McNamara, P. A. Mason, T. E. Harrison, M. French, D. Olivares, T. Jarvis, J. Galvan (NMSU)

Under the sponsorship of the NSF, a multi-year program has been established at New Mexico State University to have undergraduate students monitor different classes of variable stars. Amongst our targets are the optical counterparts of high-energy sources such as Low-Mass X-ray Binaries (LMXBs), Algol eclipsing binaries, and cataclysmic variables. This program included the installation, and debugging of a 16" Meade telescope at the NMSU campus observatory. This telescope is equipped with a Santa Barbara Instruments Group ST-8 CCD camera, and a standard UBVRI filter set. The students are responsible for collecting the data, reducing the CCD images, and modeling their results. During the Fall semester we have a program of monitoring infrequently observed Algol eclipsing binaries. Our students will determine the system parameters of these Algol binaries by modeling the photometry they have obtained using a light curve synthesis program (``Binary Maker 2.0'', by D. Bradstreet). [For the initial results of this program see the poster by P. A. Mason et al.] During the Spring semester we anticipate an intense monitoring program of the LMXB Sco X-1. The optical data will be combined with simultaneous 10-20 keV data from the BATSE Spectroscopy Detectors on the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory to understand how the x-rays are reprocessed in the accretion disk surrounding the neutron star in Sco X-1.

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