The Faulkes Telescope South

The Faulkes Telescope South

Meet one of the stars of Cosmic Comics, and find out how your school can get involved in real astronomical research for free!

Cosmic Comics is now live! Click here to read the latest episode...

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One of the stars of our latest project, astrononomy-based adventure Cosmic Comics, is the Faulkes Telescope South.

What is the Faulkes Telescope Project?

For the last 9 years, the Faulkes Telescope Project (FTP) has been providing schools all over the world, including the UK, the chance to access to research-grade telescopes in Hawaii and Australia - for free!

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Cosmic Comics heroes Mara, Ravi & Jake and Faulkes Telescope
South (click on the photo for more information about their story)

In upcoming astronomy adventure Cosmic Comics our intrepid heroes' astronomy class will be using data from the Faulkes Telescope South (a 2-metre telescope at the Siding Springs Observatory near to the wonderfully-named Coonabarabran in Australia).  Before long, Mara, Ravi and Jake (see below) are caught up in an astronomical adventure of a lifetime…

So is this telescope only found in a science comic?

Not at all - your school can get involved in real science as well. By registering at http://www.faulkes-telescope.com/information/registration you can get access to real data, images and lots more…

What can you observe?

FT South Pics

With a 2-metre telescope, users can obtain stunning images of star clusters, nebulae and galaxies in minutes.  However, the project is about much more than pictures (however gorgeous they are), as the research quality of the facilities means that users can participate in real astronomical investigations, working with professional and amateur astronomers to gather valuable data.

FTP users regularly monitor supernovae in distant galaxies, undertake "target of opportunity" observations of exciting transient objects such as gamma-ray bursts, X-ray binaries and Extra Solar Planets, and assist with discoveries of Main Belt asteroids and Near Earth Objects.

How do schools observe?

An important feature of these telescopes is that they are remotely operable - users with an Internet connection are able to control the telescopes in real time. Transient and moving objects provide immediate connections to the Universe as users can see, measure, and truly experience some astronomical object change in a matter of minutes, hours or days.

Free software allows users to fully analyse their data, and comprehensive training materials allow students to produce colour images, or to measure the position, motion and brightness of objects. There are many observing programmes suitable for GCSE project work, and students can engage in all levels of planning, observing and data analysis.

FTP Website

What other resources are available?

There are also lots of educational resources and observing projects that cover classroom topics and more.

Teacher training workshops are held at venues across the UK. The main FTP website (www.faulkes-telescope.com ) and educational support website (http://resources.faulkes-telescope.com ) also host an extensive online user training facility suitable for both students and teachers.

Whether you are looking for "real science" projects to stretch the most gifted and talented students, an exciting facility for a GCSE Astronomy group or science club, or just want to add a "wow factor" to your classroom teaching on space, FTP offers something for everyone.

Several schools and students have even contributed observations that have led to published articles in astronomical research journals. Recent programmes have seen groups of schools from across the world participating in projects to hunt for icy worlds on the edge of our Solar System, observe the eclipses of binary star systems and help astronomers in the US search for evidence of planets around dim red stars.

This project is all about "real time, real science, real scientists" - FTP users control research facilities, working alongside astronomers from the European Space Agency, NASA and other international organizations to gather observations of targets from nearby asteroids to the most distant galaxies.

Faulkes Telescope Project website: http://www.faulkes-telescope.com

Cosmic Comics: http://www.cosmiccomics.eu