Monday, June 22, 2009

More Citizen Science in the news: The Central Texas Astronomical Society

As I've mentioned before, the white dwarf research group of which I'm a member collaborates with local citizen scientists, primarily the Central Texas Astronomical Society, CTAS. Their current president, Dean Chandler, has helped us through some thorny instrumental problems, and many of their members (including Dean and Willie Strickland) have helped us with observing, both at our McDonald 2.1-meter Struve Telescope and with their own Paul and Jane Meyer Observatory outside of Temple, TX. (CTAS members, if you've helped us with some observing, feel free to write your names in the comments section or to send me an angry email lambasting me for not mentioning you. You deserve credit for the research and service that you do.)

Anyway, CTAS has finally received some press attention for the work that they've done. A couple of weeks ago, the Waco Tribune wrote an article talking about CTAS and their participation in professional astronomy research; the story was picked up by Austin's News 8 channel and included on their telecast last Friday; you can watch the video of that news story from the News 8 story.

In addition to their help with our white dwarf research, CTAS also works with many middle- and high-school students on science projects. In 2008, one of their middle schools students, Zane Foster, won first place in the Physics and Astronomy Junior (i.e., middle school) Division of the Texas Science and Engineering Fair for a research project on extrasolar planets that he did with the CTAS telescopes and their mentoring.

Way to go, CTAS!

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