Published: March 15, 2007
January 6-10, 2007 - American Astronomical Society Meeting - Four students, Nick Kelley, Matt Walentosky, Sandy Weiser, and Paige Morton, along with Tim Spuck attended the meeting to co-present with the rest of the team their current findings on IC 2118. In addition they co-presented the educational component of the M81 project. Both presentations were done in the form of a poster session. In the months prior to this meeting, extensive preparation for the poster, as well as the oral presentation of the poster was conducted.
January 19-24, 2007 - Palomar Observing Run - As part of the IC2118 research project, and thanks to Dr. Luisa Rebull, the IC2118 team was awarded 2 nights of observing time on the Palomar 200-inch Hale Telescope. The observing conditions were fairly poor the first night, but they improved for the second night. In all they were able to get spectra on approximately 12 targets before IC 2118 moved to far to the west. The second half of the evening was spent taking spectra of asteroids and AGN. This was a very rewarding experience in so many different ways. As a science educator it helped me gain a deep understanding of the observing process, and the value of being at the telescope when observing.
January 26-29, 2007 - Kitt Peak Observing Run - Several of Mr. Spuck's students were awarded time on the Kitt Peak 9-meter Telescope to conduct H-alpha observations of IC2118. Because T-tauri stars are very young, they are active. The outbursts give off H-alpha emissions. Oil City Students Nick Kelley, Matt Walentosky, and Sandy Weiser, proposed observing the region in H-alpha in an effort to further support that their suspected objects are indeed T-tauri stars. Their proposal was accepted, and they were awarded two nights of observing on the telescope.
Observing at Kitt Peak was a fantastic experience. The students were able to struggle with the same things all scientists struggle with. They had to maintain coolant in the telescope's CCD camera, and struggle with computer command language. Their first night produced some exceptional seeing, some on the mountain said it was the best they had seen in 20 years. Unfortunately, the dome stopped functioning shortly after set up, so they lost about 2 hours of observing time. However the exceptional seeing allowed them to decrease exposure times and they were still able to image four of the ten fields they had hoped to. On the second night they had some bad luck as well and were clouded out the entire night.
February and March 2007 - Mr. Spuck and his students have been using a robotic telescope in Perth Australia to monitor several of the T-tauri candidates. This includes approximately 20 students in Mr. Spuck's space science classes. In addition, Mr. Spuck has been meeting with his core team of students to reduce and begin the process of analyzing the h-alpha data from Kitt Peak, and begin planning the long term process of putting the data together to make the case for each T-Tauri candidate. The core group is now meeting about every other week.