Telescopes In Education
From AstronomyOutreach network
The Telescopes in Education (TIE) program founded by Gilbert A. Clark, brings the opportunity to use a remotely controlled telescope and charge-coupled device (CCD) camera in a real-time, hands-on, interactive environment to students around the world.
TIE enables students to increase their knowledge of astronomy, astrophysics, and mathematics; improve their computer literacy; and strengthen their critical thinking skills. Telescopes In Education is a program sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and developed through the efforts of numerous volunteers, businesses, and supporting organizations including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
The TIE program currently utilizes a science-grade 24-inch reflecting telescope located at the Mount Wilson Observatory, high above the Los Angeles basin in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. The telescope has been used by students in grades K-12 to observe galaxies, nebulae, variable stars, eclipsing binaries, and other ambitious projects and experiments. Hundreds of schools in the US and around the world (including Australia, Canada, England, and Japan) have successfully used the prototype telescope on Mount Wilson. Through TIE, students have rediscovered and cataloged a variable star and assisted the Pluto Express project at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to revise the ephemeris (orbital location) for the planet Pluto.
The telescope and CCD camera located at the Mount Wilson Observatory can be operated remotely by educators and students from the convenience of computers in their classrooms via modem and special astronomy software. Images can be downloaded to a remote user of the telescope in five minutes or less (the time depends upon the speed of the user's modem). These images can be stored in the user's computer for later image processing and study. Use of the TIE system is without charge except for the purchase of "The Sky: Remote Astronomy Software" which controls the telescope. The software also serves as an excellent stand-alone, educational astronomy program. The cost of the software is discounted for educators and students using the TIE telescope and can often be obtained by schools through donation from local service clubs and businesses.
Educators and students can reserve observation time on the Mount Wilson telescope for any evening of the week. Observation sessions can last from one hour to an entire night. Arrangements can be made for projects requiring special observation times or long-term, repetitive observing runs.