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This year marks the fourth year that LCOGT has participated in the KITP's annual Teacher's Conference. Teachers from around the country all come to UCSB for this one day conference to meet with some of the world's leading experts in different areas of physics. This year, held on March 27, the theme was Planets Beyond the Solar System: The New Astronomical Revolution and included Alan Boss, Debra Fischer, James Kastings, and Adam Burgasser as the primary speakers with Rachel Ross giving an overview of LCOGT.
In conjunction with this conference, LCOGT holds a one day workshop for several of the teachers, held on March 28. Rachel Ross, Jessica Barton, Gary White, and Federica Bianco spent the day with teachers as well as docents from Sedgwick Reserve doing photometry to find the lightcurve of a transiting planet, watching for asteroids blink across several images, downloading images from the public archive, and exploring the LCOGT website while testing activities and resources online. For the first time, the class was held at the LCOGT facilities and included a tour where the teachers were able to see different stages of the telescope assembly including the prototype 1.0m telescope move around in its dome in the parking lot.
This year we also had some special guests, three 8th graders from Goleta Valley Jr. High School come and present their science fair projects. The projects included studying open star clusters and creating H-R diagrams using photometry. They are currently preparing for the county science fair.
For more information about how you may attend these conferences, go to http://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/outreach/teachers/conferences where you can sign up for the mailing list to keep updated, check out past conferences which include the presentations downloadable in several formats, and find out when the next one will be held.
Update for 05 April, 2010: Talks from this year's sessions complete with slides are at: http://online.kitp.ucsb.edu/online/exoplanetst_c10/
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