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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Educational Image Request Form for Classrooms

Insight Observatory's Educational Image Request form for the Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach (ATEO) is now available for use with classroom teachers and students.

The staff at Insight Observatory would like to thank the Plymouth Public School District located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, for allowing a few of their classes to participate with a trial program utilizing the ATEO remote robotic imaging telescope integrated with the Educational Image Request form (EIR) for their astronomy research projects.

Secure login for access to the  Insight Observatory ATEO Educational Image Request Form.
Secure login for access to the  Insight Observatory ATEO Educational Image Request Form.

The process begins with an account created by the teacher for their class. Once the account is created, credentials are created for the EIR form that each student in the class would use to access the form. When the students log into the EIR form, they are then prompted to enter their name followed by requesting a deep-sky astronomical object to image with the requested exposure parameters. 

There is a drop down set of user instructions for completing the form. When a deep-sky object is chosen, a message will appear confirming that the object is visible that night for imaging. Once the EIR form is submitted by the student, the class instructor receives a receipt of the student's request and the image request is then submitted in the remote imaging telescopes queue.

Screenshot of the Insight Observatory's Educational Image Request (EIR) Form for the ATEO.
Screenshot of the Insight Observatory's Educational Image Request (EIR) Form for the ATEO.

A couple of examples of classes using the EIR form with the Astronomical Telescope for Education were 5th grade students at Plymouth South Elementary School and Earth Science students at Plymouth North High School.

If you are an educator and interested in using the ATEO Educational Image Request form for your classroom projects, please Contact Us for a free consultation.
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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

High School Earth Science Classes Utilize the ATEO

This past fall, Insight Observatory had the pleasure of collaborating with Karen Merrill and Sawyer Thompson's Earth Science classes at Plymouth North High School located in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This was the first project Insight Observatory had undertaken with high school students utilizing their remote Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach (ATEO).

Plymouth North High School Earth Science students researching and presenting their research projects using the Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach (ATEO).
Plymouth North High School Earth Science students researching and presenting their research projects using the Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach (ATEO).

Ms. Merrill stated "This unique experience gave students the opportunity to gain access to a remote telescope located in New Mexico. Students remotely requested an image of their assigned celestial body (nebula or galaxy). Students then researched their celestial object, mapped it using constellations, and created a presentation to teach the class about their object. Students highlighted their image by giving a detailed description about how their object formed and how long it has existed in the universe."

Both instructors used Insight Observatory's Educational Image Request (EIR) application that allowed each student to submit their image request to the remote telescope's imaging queue. After the student submits their assigned image request, the EIR application then sends a receipt to the class instructor so the instructor can keep track of the class' submissions.

Examples of Deep-Sky Objects imaged on the ATEO by the Plymouth North High School students.

There were roughly 100 image requests submitted between both Ms. Merrill's and Mr. Thompson's classes. The students selected their imaging targets by referring to the DSO Browser website. This online resource lists all of the deep-sky objects that are visible in the current night sky.
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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Featured Deep-Sky Object - IC 405 - Flaming Star Nebula

This Insight Observatory "Feature Deep-Sky Object" post highlights the emission/reflection nebula, IC 405 - The Flaming Star Nebula, located in the constellation of Auriga. On the evening of December 22, 2017, Insight Observatory's managing member and project developer, Michael Petrasko was remoted into their Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach (ATEO) system downloading data from a previous observing run to gather image data requested from users utilizing Insight Observatory's ATEO Public Image Request Form. The sky conditions were pristine and as Michael was wrapping up with his tasks, he figured; why not take advantage of the weather conditions and image an object he has never imaged or visually observed through a telescope before.

IC 405 (also known as the Flaming Star Nebula, SH 2-229, or Caldwell 31) imaged on the ATEO  by Michael Petrasko and processed with PixInsight 8.1 by Muir Evenden.
IC 405 (also known as the Flaming Star Nebula, SH 2-229, or Caldwell 31) imaged on the ATEO
by Michael Petrasko and processed with PixInsight 8.1 by Muir Evenden.

Browsing through the open-source planetarium software, Stellarium, Michael spotted a deep-sky object that was placed perfectly in the sky for imaging out in New Mexico where the remote  telescope system resides. He then proceeded to acquire 10 images at 120 seconds each with the Luminance filter and 5 - 120 second exposures each with the Red, Green and Blue filters.

IC 405 shines at magnitude +6.0 and surrounds the irregular variable star AE Aurigae. It is also located near the emission nebula IC 410, the open clusters M38 and M36, and the K-class star Iota Aurigae. The nebula measures approximately 37.0' x 19.0', and lies about 1,500 light-years away from Earth. It is believed that the proper motion of the central star can be traced back to the Orion's Belt area. The nebula is about 5 light-years across.

Location of IC 405 - The Flaming Star Nebula as displayed on Stellarium.
Location of IC 405 - The Flaming Star Nebula as displayed on Stellarium.

The full resolution image of IC 405 can be viewed on Insight Observatory's Image Gallery. If you are interested in imaging deep-sky images like this using the Astronomical Telescope for Educational Outreach (ATEO), please visit the ATEO Image Request Page for more information.
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