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UNL Robotic Telescopes in Education

VIEWS: 21 PAGES: 51

									Using Robotic Telescopes in College
Undergraduate and Secondary
School Education Environments


             R. L. Mutel
       Professor of Astronomy
         University of Iowa
  Outline of Talk
     Web-based Robotic Telescope Systems available for Middle and
      High School Students
          Summary of operating robotic telescopes for education
          Examples of High School Student Astronomy Projects for Robotic
           Telescopes
     Robotic Telescopes for Undergraduate Education
          Astronomy Laboratory Projects
          Student Research Projects
          Advanced research example: Small Comet Search
     Curriculum Issues
     Virtual Astronomy: Is it really astronomy?
     Organizations and Web Resources



21 September 2001           U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                   2
  Robotic Telescopes in Education
     Primarily Middle and High School Level
          Hands-on Universe (U.C. Berkeley Hall of Science)
          Telescopes in Education (Mt. Wilson)
          Micro-Observatory (Harvard CfA)
          Examples of Student Projects
     Primarily College and University Level
          Nassau Station (CWRU)
          Iowa Robotic Observatory (Univ. Iowa)
          Student Projects
          Advanced Research Projects: Small Comets Example
     Project Rigel: A Complete Turn-key Robotic Observatory
     Is Virtual/Robotic Astronomy really Astronomy?


21 September 2001           U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes          3
      Hands-on Universe

 Started in 1994

100+ High Schools
Enrolled
 Uses existing manual
and automated
telescopes
Complete curriculum
available
Teacher training
                                           http://hou.lbl.gov/
summer courses

    21 September 2001    U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes               4
  HOU: Kuiper Belt Object Discovered
  by High School Students




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   5
       Telescopes in Education (Mt. Wilson)

 Started in 1995

380 High Schools
Enrolled
Uses existing 6 in and
24 in telescopes on Mt.
Wilson (S. California)
Complete users guide
available on-line
Image acquisition and
analysis uses „The Sky‟
software (PC)                      http://tie.jpl.nasa.gov/tie/
     21 September 2001    U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes               6
 Started in 1996 at Harvard‟s
Center for Astrophysics
   380 High Schools Enrolled
 Uses weatherproof 6 inch
telescopes in Massachusetts,
Arizona, Hawaii, Australia)
Complete users guide
available on-line
Image acquisition and
                                        http://mo-www.harvard.edu/MicroObservatory
analysis uses „The Sky‟
software (PC)
       21 September 2001         U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                       7
  Micro-Observatory Sample Project:
  Orbit of the Moon from Angular Size




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   8
  Micro-Observatory Weather &
  Observing Queue




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   9
     Micro-Observatory:
     Web-based
     Observing request




21 September 2001    U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   10
  HOU Middle School Sample Curriculum: The Moon

  Our Closest Neighbor: the Moon

  A. The Image Processor (COMPUTER LAB) -- Students learn how to use the HOU Image
         Processing software while exploring characteristics of craters on the Moon. Image
         Processor functions: Open, Zoom, Pixels, Coordinates, Brightness (TERC/LHS)
  B. Crater Game (CLASSROOM) -- In this game, student get practice using their Image
         Processing software to determine diameters of craters.
  C. Moon Measure (COMPUTER LAB) -- Students measure the diameter of a crater and its
         circumference using Image Processing tools.
  D. Model Craters (CLASSROOM) To really see more of how craters appear, students make
         model Moon craters and see how the pattern of shadows associated with craters is
         affected by the angle of sunlight shining on them. Optional: Cratering Experiments.
         Students toss meteoroids (pebbles) into basins of flour to simulate crater formation.
  E. Moon Phases (CLASSROOM) With the Moon being a white polystyrene ball and the Sun
         being a bright light at the center of the room . Each students¹ head is the Earth.
         Students can also observe and record the real phases of the Moon over a period of a
         couple of weeks.



21 September 2001                U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                                11
       Telescopes in Education High School Curriculum
       Sample Project: Near-Earth Objects

    Based on published information in various magazines, journals, and other
    publications, students and interested amateurs will observe and image selected
    Near-Earth Objects (NEOs).
   A catalog of the selected NEOs will be created and updated. Catalog information
    will include object history, classification, orbital elements, photometric data,
    estimated size and mass, and other available data.
   Any changes in NEO magnitude, expected position, orbital characteristics, coma
    size, shape, etc. will become clear as catalog data are accumulated over
    repeated observations.
   The NEOs will be observed and imaged as frequently as possible. As the
    catalog is compiled, recorded data will be of interest to various professionals
    and organizations involved in NEO research, such as the Minor Planet Center
    (MPC). Proper data submission formats are provided by the various
    organizations.
   Observers will be informed how to alert the MPC to substantive or scientifically
    interesting short-term changes, such as "disconnection events," in a given
    NEO's characteristics.

     21 September 2001              U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                          12
         Undergraduate Robotic Facilities:
         Nassau Station (CWRU)

• Located near
Cleveland, Ohio
• Not fully operational
(expected late 2001)
• Will support imaging,
spectroscopy
• Web-based queue
submission

http://www.astr.cwru.edu/nassau.html




      21 September 2001                U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   13
                         http://denali.physics.uiowa.edu/iro



        Iowa Robotic Observatory (Arizona)

• 0.5 m Reflector, fully robotic
• Located near Sonoita, Arizona
• Operational in late 1998
• Generates 10,000+ images per
year
• Web-based queue submission
• Used by 600+ undergraduates,
more than 200 web-registered users
• Occasionally use for MS thesis,
other research
     21 September 2001             U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   14
  Critical List Asteroid 1978 SB8


V=17.8




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   15
   “Collision” of Two Asteroids!




 1147 Stratovos arrives from left, 2099 Opik moves in from North
Note: There is a very faint third asteroid in these frames: can you find it?


 21 September 2001           U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                         16
      Asteroid Rotation Curves
   Although there are
    150,000+ catalogued
    asteroids, only ~1,500
    have known rotational
    periods
   Observations of
    rotational period are
    important for
    determination of
    distribution of angular
    momentum in the solar
    system



    21 September 2001         U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   17
  Asteroid Rotation Curves:
  Observations




                                        Period 5.5 hrs



21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes            18
          Monitoring Variable Stars
          (Dwarf Nova Cataclysmic Variable WZ Sge)

V = 8.4




                               AAVSO
                              Observers
                               (40 days)




      21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   19
     Monitoring Variable Star and Active
     Galactic Nuclei (AGN)




Image of OJ287 with          AGN OJ287: Light curve obtained by
                             Poyner (British amateur astronomer
    10 in LX200

   21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                  20
      Light Curves of Short-Period
      Eclipsing Binaries: AB Andromeda




AB And (V =11.0)
  P = 8.33 hrs
IRO Observations




   21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   21
   Optical Counterparts to Gamma Ray
   Bursts
                                                 V=10 !




GRB 990123
 detected by
   ROTSE
(Jan 23, 1999)
 21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes            22
  ROTSE: Optical Detection of GRB990123
                       Telescope: 4” telephoto lens
                       Camera: AP10 (2Kx2K)


                       Jemez Mountains, New Mexico.




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes         23
         Amateur Astronomers detect a GRB afterglow!
Gamma-ray detectors on the NEAR and
Ulysses spacecraft first recorded the burst,
labeled GRB000301C, on March 1, 2000

Frank Chalupka, Dennis Hohman
and Tom Bakowski, Aquino (Buffalo
NY Astronomy Club) -- pointed the
club's 12-inch reflecting telescope at
the nominal coordinates of the burst
and accumulated data for two
hours. Later when the images were
calibrated and summed, there it
was, a 20th-magnitude fireball just                            V = 20
7 arc seconds from a much brighter
17th-magnitude foreground star.

       21 September 2001           U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes            24
  Detection of New Supernovae (M88)




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   25
  Detection of Extra-Solar Planets: Doppler Effect




                                            HD89744 (F7V)
                                            P 256 days
                                            Mass 7MJ




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes               26
  Detection of Extra-Solar Planets: Occultations




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   27
   Detection of Extra-Solar Planets: Occultation of
   HD 209458 (V = 7.6)




First detection by Henry et al.
    2001 (0.8 m, Fairborn                                 STARE Light Curve)
Observatory, Tennessee State
             Univ.)
Occultation is 0.017 mag = 1.
             58%
21 September 2001                 U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                    28
         Detection of Extra-Solar Planets: STARE
         Telescope (currently in Canary Islands)
  The current STARE telescope, as of
 July, 1999, is a field-flattened Schmidt
 working aperture of 4 in, (f/2.9). The
  telescope is coupled to a Pixelvision
      2K x 2K CCD (Charge-Coupled
 Device) camera to obtain images with
  a scale of 10.8 arcseconds per pixel
over a field of view 6.1 degrees square.
 Broad-band color filters (B, V, and R)
  that approximate the Johnson bands
   are slid between the telescope and
    camera. By taking exposures with
   different colored filters, the colors of
   stars in the field can be determined.
       This is necessary for accurate
                 photometry.


      21 September 2001                 U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   29
  Software for Astronomical Research

     Maxim DL (v. 3.0) Excellent for astrometry,
      photometry, image calibration, manipulation.
      Highly Recomended
     MIRA 6.1. Very good, not as user-friendly.
      Recommended
     CCDSoft. Newest version not tested.
     Pinpoint 2.1 Outstanding for astrometry.



21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   30
  Recommended Image Processing Software: Maxim DL
  (Beta version 3.0) Tools for Astrometry, Photometry




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes       31
    Sample faculty-student research project:
    “A Search for Small Comets using the IRO”




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   32
       Small Comet Detection Papers




      DE-1 (April 1986)                       Polar (May 1997)

21 September 2001         U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes              33
                                Small Comet Parameters
                              (from Frank and Sigwarth 1993, Small comet Web site)



Mass:                ~20,000 kg (steep mass spectrum -see next slide)
Density:             ~0.1 x H20 (F&S 93)
Size:                8 -10 m (assuming density 0.1)
Number density: (3 ± 1) · 10-11 km-3 (M > 12,000 kg) Sigwarth 1989; FSC 90
Flux at Earth:       1 every 3 seconds (107 per yr. = > 200 Tg-yr-1)
Composition:         Water ice with very dark carbonaceous mantle
Albedo               low (~0.02, F&S 93)
Orbit:               “Prograde, nearly parallel to ecliptic”, most q 0.9 AU (F&S 93)
Speed:               V ~10 km-sec-1 at 1 AU, 20 km -sec-1 before impact
Origin:              Hypothesized comet belt beyond Neptune



          21 September 2001                   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                 34
        IRO Small Comet Search: Observational Summary
The observations were made using the 0.5 m f/8 reflector of the Iowa
Robotic Observatory between 24 September 1998 and 11 June 1999.
 Observations were scheduled every month within one week of new moon.
A total of 6,148 images were obtained, of which 2,718 were classified as
category A (visual detection magnitude 16.5 or brighter in a 100 pixel trail).
 Seeing conditions varied from 2 - 5 arcsec (see histogram). For quality A
images, seeing was < 3.5 arcsec.
 All images were has thermal and bias corrections applied.
 Images were recorded on CDROM and sent to the University of Iowa for
analysis.
 All images are available for independent analysis via anonymous ftp at
node atf.physics.uiowa.edu.




      21 September 2001        U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                  35
  Search Geometry




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   36
     Using synthetic trails to calibrate visual inspection

 Synthetic comet trails were
added to 520 search images
with randomly chosen
magnitudes and trail lengths.
 Three observers
independently inspected all
images
 Result: Visual detection
threshold is ~0.9  per pixel,
with a suggestion that longer
trails can be detected slightly
fainter, perhaps 0.7 - 0.8 .

   21 September 2001          U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes      37
    No detections: Mass-albedo constraints




21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   38
                             18cm refractor, HPC-1 CCD camera,
                             located on campus in Iowa City. ($50K)




History of
automated and
robotic telescopes           50cm reflector, AP-8 camera, located in
at the University of         Sonoita, AZ. ($160K)

Iowa
Project Goal: To provide a
complete turn-key robotic
Observatory for use in       37cm reflector, AP-8 camera,
undergraduate astronomy      spectrometer, located in Sonoita, AZ.
teaching and research.       ( appx. $100K)




        21 September 2001            U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes         40
  Rigel Performance Specifications
 Subsystem        Specification                    Value


   Mount       Pointing error        30 arcsec RMS full sky


               Tracking error        < 0.01 arcsec per second


   Optics      Surface Error         < 0.2 wave peak to valley
                                     < 0.06 RMS
                                                                         M101
               Point Spread          > 88% of stellar photons within
               Function              one pixel (24) at sensor edge    (16‟ x 16‟)
  Imaging      Field of View         16.4 x 16.4 arcmin


               Pixel Resolution      0.96 arcsec


               Sensitivity           > 10:1 SNR 19th magnitude star
                                     with clear filter in 60 seconds

Spectroscopy   Spectral Resolution   0.6 nm (0.3 nm pixels)


               Total Spectrum        300 – 1000 nm continuous
               Coverage

               Sensitivity           >10:1 SNR on 6th magnitude
                                     star in 10 sec (1nm resolution)


      21 September 2001                  U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                   41
                    Network Architecture




                             Schedules
                               images
                              TCS data
                              weather




                                              Shared Rigel Observatories



21 September 2001      U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                           42
                    Data Rates

     Imaging per              4 MB per 30sec =
     telescope                133 kB/s

     Control,weather,         10KB/s
     real-time TV image,
     and scheduling
     Spectroscopy             0.1-1MB per min =2-
                              20 kB/s

     Totals                   160 KB/s per
                              telescope




21 September 2001    U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes      43
                                                   Astronomy Lab Room
    Image storage
    Web server
    Application server




                                       LAN



                          Internet
                         Image, schedule,
                         monitor database
                         transfer

                                                  OCAAS-compatible
Local Site
                                                  Remote Sites




 21 September 2001                U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes             44
           Telescope Control Panel (on-site, real time observing)




Axis calibration
      tool




 Automatic
 focus tool


                                                                Weather information
                                                                    and alerts


                                               Audio messages




         21 September 2001    U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                      45
Automated
WCS
astrometric                                                         Differential
solution                                                            photometry
                                                                    tool




                                                    Gaussian fits
                                                     with FWHM


          21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                    46
                                                Multiple filter with
                                                separate exposure
                                                times
                                                                       Multiple image
                                                                       request with 1hr
                                                                       spacing
     Automatic asteroid
     ephemeris calculation




Web-based
schedule
entry




                                        Manual position
                                        entry with
                                        specified user
                                        epoch
    21 September 2001        U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes                           47
Web-based
schedule status
reports


   Astrophysics
   laboratory observing
   projects



     Introductory
    Astronomy lab
       projects



        Internet
         guest
       observers



    Faculty, graduate
    student research
        projects



   21 September 2001      U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   48
21 September 2001   U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes   49
    Date              Project benchmark                       OK?
 1 Feb 2000           NSF Funding approved                    
 1 Jun 2000           Hardware, software design finalized     
15 Nov 2000           Optical tube Assembly acceptance test   
15 Feb 2001           Mount, telescope control, camera
                      acceptance test
 15 May 2001          Subsystems acceptance test
 15 July 2001         Delivery to Univ. of Iowa
 15 Aug 2001          Acceptance test of all systems
  1 Sep 2001          Transport to Arizona
Sep01 – Feb02         6 month rigorous test phase
 2nd quarter          Torus delivery of first commercial
     2002             Rigel system



  21 September 2001          U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes              50
                        Rigel Web site




                    http://denali.physics.uiowa.edu/rigel
21 September 2001       U.N.L. Robotic Telescopes           51

								
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