Published: January 15, 2008
In May, Ms. Kelly's team (Spitzer/WISE) received word that a proposal to study the dust distribution of the accretion disk of NGC 4051 had been approved by the director. The primary investigator, Varoujan Gorjian, arranged a teleconference at the end of May. During this time the details of the project were presented and discussed. It was noted that collecting visible light data around the scheduled Spitzer time (June 10-21) would be valuable. The team members presented the idea of using the remote-access telescopes at New Mexico Skies Observatory. A protocol for collecting visible light data via NMSO was subsequently made and reviewed by Varoujan Gorjian. Team members and their students took turns collecting visible light data between May 25-June 21, 2008. Ms. Kelly and her students collected data for three days as part of this effort. Having experienced poor weather/seeing conditions at NMSO, she foresaw the benefit of securing other resources for collecting daily visible light data. Ms. Kelly successfully obtained the help of the following observatories:
Besides collecting visible light data in preparation for their analysis meeting in August at JPL, Ms. Kelly created a web site with links to support the development of her students' knowledge of AGN-related topics. She will change the content of the online tutorials each week. In addition, Ms. Kelly will meet with her students in person this summer in order to review photometry/light curves.
Although the benefit of space-based observing had been a strong undercurrent in Invisible Universe online course Ms. Kelly had taken last year, it really hit home during the many nights of poor weather/seeing at various observing sites. Ms. Kelly gained information about previously known, but never accessed, resources (such as Faulkes Telescope). The Spitzer Space Telescope Research Program for Teachers and Students has provided Ms. Kelly with the opportunity to expand her research program to include multi-wavelength astronomy.
Ms. Kelly's students are very excited to be part of this program. They are highly motivated to pursue the research - even if it means staying up in the middle of the night to collect data from NMSO! The students are preparing to meet with the team to analyze the data.
Ms. Kelly's students will submit science fair projects related to the Spitzer Space Telescope proposal. She will be presenting a one hour workshop for teachers at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics conference in Hartford on July 22nd. The workshop is entitled: "Seeing" the Infrared Light: Classroom Activities and Research Applications. The main focus of the workshop is infrared light and infrared research. She will be presenting a one hour hands-on program about infrared light at the J.J. McCarthy Observatory in Connecticut. These programs are well-attended by community members and amateur astronomers alike. Ms. Kelly and her students will conduct a radio broadcast of their experience via Slooh press contacts this fall. The community is eager to hear about the students' experience. It has helped her garner increased interest in expanding the research program.
NSTA National Conference, Boston
March 31, 2008
Association for Astronomy Education: What's Up? Workshop
"Seeing" the Infrared Light: Classroom Activities and Research Applications
30 audience members