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STN: Internet Based Telescope for High School Students

Press Release From: Student Telescope Network
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2002

Contact: STNmedia@hotmail.com, (610) 926-6638

No longer does a high school student trying to prepare an assignment or science fair project have to copy pictures from a book to illustrate ideas about astronomical objects.  Now they can dial up an on-line telescope using the Internet and get real-time pictures of what they want, almost independent of weather and the school's budget for expensive optics.  This is arguably the first telescope controllable over the Internet that is not located at a multi-million dollar observatory complex, and is available exclusively for high school student's use.

The Student Telescope Network (STN) is a collaborative project to enable high school students interested in astronomical observing, to access a telescope with digital camera in a remote dark location via the Internet, and to pursue basic observational research. High school students and their science teachers are invited to look at website www.youthinastronomy.org for information about the pilot project, and how to participate!

STN is made possible by the cooperation of the Youth Activities Committee of the Astronomical League, the University of Denver Astronomy Program, New Mexico Skies, and Software Bisque. Ryan Hannahoe, Chairman of the Youth Activities Committee (www.youthinastronomy.org), himself a high school student at Schuylkill Valley High School in Leesport, Pennsylvania, says, "I personally like the real-time, live control of the Internet telescope. No more waiting in line at an observatory to pursue my research observations."  Hannahoe also says, "Command the telescope where to go and how long of an exposure to take and within seconds you have your image. It's just that easy to use and to learn. The best part about it is you need NO software to run the telescope, just an Internet connection and it is free to use and very user friendly!"

"Talk with high school students, and you will quickly learn what holds their interest: live, real-time, hands-on, student driven activity.  Observational astronomy easily fits these expectations" says Dr. Robert Stencel, professor of Astronomy at the University of Denver."

The New Mexico Skies Observatory in southern New Mexico hosts the on-line telescope.  Software Bisque of Golden, Colorado invented the telescope control hardware and software that makes this revolutionary observing possible.  Astronomers at the University of Denver are playing the role of coordinator and scheduler during the remainder of the current school year.  STN is happy to acknowledge sponsorship by the Toyota Foundation's Institute for Connecting Science Research to the Classroom.

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