Skip to Navigation ↓
I represented LCOGT in a four days roadshow astronomy outreach program in three towns (Sutherland, Williston and Fraserburg) near the home of the LCOGT telescopes in Sutherland, South Africa. Organised by the Cape Town Science centre, SAAO and LCOGT, the event created to participants an opportunity to develop and expand their understanding about our and other solar systems in the Universe.
The Cape Town science centre conducted a tour of the night sky as well as other interesting activities through their mobile planetarium in three sessiones in each town and the learners are exited about it. In the afternoon of each day, teachers workshop focused on our solar system was conducted. During the evening, the students and their teachers enjoyed observing the beautiful dark sky of the karoo using Dobsonian telescopes from SAAO. Saturn, Mars and Venus together with some star clusters were among the objects observed in the nights and most of the students got a chance to look these objects through telescope for the first time.
The most interesting part of the visit was the participation of some of the students in the LCOGT web based Agent-Exoplanet citizen science project and the star in a box activity. The event happened in the Sutherland community centre (supported by SAAO) internet connected computer facility. In this activity about 30 grade eight students in two groups from Roggeveld primary school participated. The students learned all the steps they need to measure the brightness of the host star of the exoplanet taken at different time and produce the light curve which ultimately, together with contributions from others, help astronomers at LCOGT characterize the physical properties of the different exoplanets in the project better.
A follow up activity with the same group of students on the Agent Exoplanet project was also conducted this week (June 11 and 12, 2012). Apart from developing their knowledge about exoplanet and exposing to real data analysis of astronomy, the project created a good opportunity to develop the computer skills of the students. In order to mark the event, the participants were given mugs with LCOGT and SAAO logos. This type of public engagement will continue in the future in a more organised and expanded manner in order to include even more participants both in the Sutherland and Cape Town area. I would like to thank the Cape Town Science Center and the SAAO education stuffs based in Sutherland (especially Mr. Karel Klein) for making this event happen!
Sign up for the LCOGT newsletter