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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!
Cosmic Comics heroes Mara, Ravi
& Jake and Faulkes Telescope
South (click on the photo for more information about their
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
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?
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
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.
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
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
Cosmic Comics: http://www.cosmiccomics.eu