JD Armstrong's blog

If You Stand Still They Can't See You

"A geosynchronous satellite doesn't move, right?"  That's the question I was asked every time I mentioned the idea of trying to image a geosynchronous satellite with the Faulkes Telescope North.

"No it moves relative to the background of stars.  The stars don't move.  We do and the satellite moves with us."  That's the challenge is that the Faulkes Telescopes naturally track the stars.  They weren't designed to track satellites.  

A Keiki's Dream

A Keiki's Dream The Keiki's Dream program grants dream days to children who have gone through particular hardships.  Recently a boy going through the program wanted to visit the observatories on Haleakala.  Any kid who gets a golden ticket and wants to spend it on astronomy is my kind of kid.  Mark Elphick, the site manager of the Faulkes Telescope North showed the kid the observatory and even let him open the mirror cover. After the tour he came down to Pukalani for a 2 hour RTI session.

New Director of IfA, New Fan of Faulkes.

   When Dr. Günther Hasinger, the new director of the University of Hawai`i Institute for Astronomy (IfA), recently visited Maui I was more than happy to give him some time on the Faulkes Telescope North.  I did this to help him a better understanding of what the facility can and does mean to education and outreach in Hawai`i.  Dr. Hasinger had prepared to image Hartley 2G.  We mistook a faint galaxy for the target and nearly slewed away from the target.

UH Maui College Students Visit Faulkes North

Recently Dr. John Pye brought students from his astronomy class to visit the Faulkes Telescope North. Each semester Dr. Pye brings his students from UH Maui College to the summit for an evening observing with the Faulkes Telescope North, and with smaller telescopes brought by the HaleakalāAmateur astronomers. The event allows students to compare objects seen through the eye piece with objects imaged with a professional telescope. Students are also able to collect data for their projects, including asteroid follow-up.


Last year the Clue Crew from Jeopardy! Visited Haleakalā to film clues for the show. They filmed at the University of Hawai`i sites, including the Laser Ranging Station, PanSTARRS, and of course they filmed at the Faulkes Telescope North. On March 25th the show aired. The show devoted a category to Haleakalā.

The crew found a particular interest in LCOGT, and our strong educational mission. They filmed an extra 30 second segment on LCOGT, telling people that if they wanted to see the heavens from their laptop they should visit us.

Here Come The Men In Black

I have dubbed Ross Ito, Taylor Nakamura, and Dane Oshiro "The Men In Black".  They have started showing up at the Science and Engineering fairs dressed in black and looking sharp.  The students have been working with the assistance of Avi Shporer, BJ Foulton, and J. D. Armwstong with data from the Faulkes Telescope North, the Faulkes Telescope South, and the Sedgwick observatory.  The students, who attend Maui High School, have been studying exoplanets -- investigating new techniques for detecting orbital variations.

Rocking In The New Year

I didn't mean to be a geek at the NewYears party. Really I didn't. I brought my laptop, and the host told me I could set it up at a table. I think that the intent was for me to post on FB or something like that. I had a set of data from the Faulkes that was burning a hole in my pocket, and so I told myself I would just look at one field.

Rain Or Shine Maui Libraries Love The Faulkes

On a late Tuesday evening, going to the library usually isn't the first thing on my list of things to do, but on September 21 2010, that's exactly what a large group of community members from Kihei did. The Kihei Public Library hosted “A Night With The Stars”. The events center around the opportunity to use LCOGT's 2.0 meter Faulkes Telescope North at the summit of Haleakalā. This is the third in what has become a bi-annual event at the Kahului Public Library. Librarian Tracy Latimer arranges the events which draw record numbers of people.

Students Reach For The HI Stars

Students from the Hawaiian islands havebeen attending the 2010 HI-STAR program at the University of Hawai`iat Mānoa.The program pairs students with researchers at the University ofHawai`i to work on research projects. Topics include “Young HotStars”, exoplanets, asteroids detection, comets, nebulae, and CVstars. The program has an impressive track record. Students areencouraged to enter the engineering and science fair. Approximatelyone third of the students who go to the program enter the sciencefair and have their project recommended by local judges for the statescience fair.


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