This summer a group of McQuown Scholars will embark upon a large project to survey the night sky using the Stone Edge Observatory! Utilizing the remote observing during this time of social distancing allows students to work on this group project safely from their homes.
The goal of the project is to image as much of the sky as can be seen from Sonoma California in six different filters. Think of filters as colored sunglasses that are placed between the telescope and camera so scientists can study one type of light or electromagnetic radiation at a time. Each “color” tells a different story about the objects in the image. The goal for the students is to learn all the astronomy and instrumentation skills they need to conduct astronomy research. This will require late nights, deep thinking, careful measurements, and significant coding to stack and align all the images.
Sky surveys are valuable resources in astronomy. They provide in depth observations of an entire region of the sky, allowing astronomers to have some sort of check for their observations. One of the great aspects of astronomy surveys is the broad range of scientific research that they open up. A project like this will open opportunities for many groups to come and provide a ton of data for students to work with.