AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 10. Telescopes and Observatories for Education and Outreach
Poster, Monday, January 6, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[10.06] The STate of the ARt Telescope Educational Collaboration (STARTEC)

D.G. Finley (NRAO), J.L. Alonso, D. Altschuler (NAIC/Arecibo Observatory), F. Cianciolo (McDonald Observatory/HET), L. Cuesta (IAC/GTC), R. Harrison (NRAO), M.K. Hemenway (McDonald Observatory/HET), P. Michaud (Gemini Observatory), I. Morison (Jodrell Bank Observatory/PPARC), S. Preston (McDonald Observatory/HET), C. Rijsdjk (SAAO/SALT), T. Teays (CSC), R.M. West (ESO/VLT), M. Wetzel (McDonald Observatory/HET)

The State of the Art Telescope Educational Collaboration (STARTEC) was founded in February 2001 at a meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. The meeting was attended by educational representatives of some of the largest and most advanced astronomical facilities in the world. The attending representatives agreed that astronomy, a basic science with roots in every human culture, possesses an exceptional potential to attract public interest and elevate science literacy around the world. In addition, they agreed that large, state-of-the-art astronomical facilities, as public icons of science and technology, have a responsibility to assume a leading role in astronomy education and public outreach. Accordingly, STARTEC was formed to establish a forum for exchanging resources and expertise in education and public outreach. Goals of the collaboration include: inspiring the general public to appreciate and support astronomy; inspiring and preparing future generations of scientists, engineers and technicians; using the collective visibility of STARTEC institutions to improve science literacy through the news media and to improve public awareness of the threats of light pollution, radio interference and space debris to the world's astronomical environment; leveraging resources and fostering collaborations among STARTEC members for educational programs; and improving members' education and public outreach efforts as well as encouraging other institutions and other scientific disciplines to collaborate on educational and outreach programs. The current members of STARTEC are: Arecibo Observatory, the European Southern Observatory, Gemini Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias and Gran Telescopio Canarias, Jodrell Bank Observatory/PPARC, McDonald Observatory and the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and the South African Astronomical Observatory/Southern Africa Large Telescope. Subsequent meetings of STARTEC were held at Arecibo Observatory in 2001 and at McDonald Observatory in 2002, and plans for cooperative educational efforts are underway. A STARTEC Web site will serve as a resource for those engaged in astronomical education and public outreach efforts.

This work was supported by NSF Grant 0084618, "U.S.-South Africa Workshop: Educational Outreach for Observatories with State-of-the-Art Telescopes, Cape Town, South Africa, Feb. 2-6, 2001." The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: dfinley@nrao.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #4
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.