Published: February 15, 2010
The Notre Dame extended Research Community (NDeRC), a teacher-driven NSF-sponsored GK-12 project, continues to include the strong astronomy/astrophysics component that originally emerged through Loughran's collaboration with the (then) NOAO/Spitzer teacher research project. Now in its third award year, NDeRC has supported three graduate fellows in astrophysics (Joe Ribaudo, Michelle Dolan and Kate Rueff--see her recent blog) who work with local high school teachers and students. Astroimaging became the basis of summer research experience in 2009 for teachers and students, building on classroom astroimaging experiences here. Also, NDeRC ASTRO collaboration member and Bremen High School astronomy teacher Aaron McNeely and Notre Dame undergraduate Colin Littlefield began an exoplanet observation project, which is expected to form the basis of the summer 2010 research experience of the ASTRO collaboration.
At Saint Joseph's High School, classroom research as independent study continues, now in its 5th year. NOAO's AGN project is the basis for one student's current research project.
Spitzer materials continue to accompany presentations with the IR camera (borrowed from Spitzer collaborator Caty Pilachowski at Indiana University Bloomington). The camera is an annual hit at the Saint Joseph County Public Library's Science Alive! program. Several thousand persons, mostly elementary and middle school children and their families, pass through the exhibit each year. These images (photo credit: Tom Loughran and released unconditionally for Spitzer use) are from the 2009 and 2010 Science Alive! events.