AAS 197, January 2001
Session 87. Innovations in Teaching Astronomy II
Joint Display, Wednesday, January 10, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[87.29] A Global Network of Astronomical Telescopes (GNAT) Node as a Tool for Student Research Projects

R.B. Culver (CSU, GNAT), E.R. Craine (WRC, GNAT)

We describe a prototypical university node in the GNAT system which enables the acquisition and analysis of astronomical images for use in a variety of student projects. GNAT student projects have been undertaken at all levels from secondary school through graduate work; in addition, the facility is used for research projects by professional astronomers. These applications help drive the structure of the node and its use within the university system. Colorado State University was the first institution to become a founding GNAT member and the node through which it interacts with the larger organization has been designed by students in conjunction with professional mentors. At this time several student projects are underway, including characterization of low amplitude variations in solar type stars, discovery and monitoring of variable stars in open star clusters, and a search for extrasolar planets using the photometric transit methodology. We present an overview of the operational layout of the node and provide examples of data being produced from some of the student projects. Support of this project has been generously provided by the GNAT membership.

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