Observers Track New Horizons’ Next Target – Sky & Telescope

Sky & Telescope just published a nice article about last week’s Southern Hemisphere occultation involving 2014 MU69:

Observers Track New Horizons’ Next Target – Sky & Telescope

All teams on the campaign collected useable data which is currently being analyzed. A photo of RECON Team Member Robert Reaves from Parker, Arizona is included in the article.

RECON Team Member Robert Reaves participating in MU69 campaign in Argentina

RECON Contributes to Southern Hemisphere Campaign

This is an exciting week for RECON Principal Investigator Marc Buie as well as RECON team member Robert Reaves from Parker, Arizona.  Marc is leading a dual continent occultation campaign involving 22 telescopes being deployed in Argentina and South Africa to measure the shadow of 2014 MU69, the next target for the NASA New Horizons mission.  This Friday evening (2017 June 3 at 03:11:50 UT) 22 teams will be deployed on both continents for the first of three occultation opportunities this summer.

Marc invited RECON team member Robert Reaves to join one of these teams for this week’s event.  Both Marc and Robert are currently in South America prepping for the big event. For the next occultation opportunity in early July, Charlene Weisenborn from our Searchlight / Boulder City team will be participating as well.

Marc has been centrally in charge of working on predictions for these campaigns using Hubble and Gaia data.  In addition to observing form Argentina this week, he will also be flying aboard NASA SOFIA during the July event. According to Marc, our experience setting up the RECON network of over 50 telescope sites has been very valuable in prepping for these campaigns. Because 2014 MU69 is only thought to be around 30 km, the spacing of the network will be much tighter than RECON, with telescopes spaced roughly every 10 km rather than 50 km.

For more information, you can check out the New Horizon’s Webpage and the following post:  New Horizons Deploys Global Team for Rare Look at Next Flyby Target

Over the next six weeks, the New Horizons mission team gets an “MU69” preview of sorts – and a chance to gather some critical encounter-planning information – with a rare look at their target object from Earth.

Good luck, Marc, Robert, and all involved in Friday’s campaign!

This Week’s Spotlight: Sisters, OR

Get to know one of our 55 unique RECON communities!

Sisters, OR


Sisters is a charming town in central Oregon with a population of just over 2,000 people. Since Sisters joined in Spring of 2015, the team has grown to include students and teachers from Sisters High School and local community members. The team was initiated by retired park ranger Thomas Jeffrey, local teacher Rima Givot, and the Sisters Astronomy Club. Students Rylee Funk and Alex Burroughs have demonstrated strong leadership for this team. For more information about the Sisters team, check out their Instagram page below!

Astronomy club meeting in Ms. Givot’s room at lunch Wednesday Dec. 7th. Learn more about winter constellations and RECON!

A post shared by Sisters High Astronomy Club (@shsastronomy) on

To explore the full list of RECON communities, visit our communities page. 

If your community is interested in creating a profile either on social media or through the RECON website, email us at recon@calpoly.edu.

RECON Podcasts

We’re excited to announce our series of podcasts! Check out our first episode available on SoundCloud below! In this week’s podcast, Marc Buie describes his current work in preparation for summer occultation campaigns for the New Horizons mission, shares a Venus viewing opportunity, provides tips on timing and sense-up, and previews the April RECON event.

The podcast can be accessed using any browser and no downloads are needed to hear it. Podcasts are now available on itunes and can be found by clicking on the previous link or searching “tnorecon”!

This Week’s Spotlight: Oregon Observatory

The RECON network is made of over 55 communities on the Western United States ranging from Washington to Arizona, made of teachers, students, volunteers, and countless community members who are enthusiastic about science.

Oregon Observatory


The Oregon Observatory is located in Sunriver, a resort community in central Oregon near the Bend area. This community joined RECON in the Spring of 2015 and is made of a team of amateur astronomers and students led by Robert Grossfeld. The Observatory is one of six volunteer communities in the RECON network that has provided their own equipment for observing occultations.

The Observatory is open to the public and serves as an educational and research resource for the Sunriver community. For more information about the Oregon Observatory, visit www.oregonobservatory.org.

To explore the full list of RECON communities, visit our communities page. 

If your community is interested in creating a profile either on social media or through the RECON website, email us at recon@calpoly.edu.

This Week’s Spotlight: Calipatria, CA

The RECON network is made of over 55 communities on the Western United States ranging from Washington to Arizona, made of teachers, students, volunteers, and countless community members who are enthusiastic about science. This year, we are going to be featuring our communities so that we can get to know the unique cities and people that are part of the RECON network.

Calipatria, CA


This week’s feature is Calipatria, CA! This community joined us in November 2014 and is made up of teachers and students from the Astronomy Club at Calipatria High School led by Keitha McCandless. Check out Calipatria’s Facebook profile to learn more about them!

 

 

To explore the full list of RECON communities, visit our communities page. 

If your community is interested in creating a profile either on social media or through the RECON website, email us at recon@calpoly.edu.

Not the best night for occultation astronomy!

Our RECON event this Friday evening involving Centaur 07RG283 is going to be challenging to begin with, given that that target star (UC4-683-022040 in Perseus) is a very dim object at magnitude 16.3.  While still within reach of our telescope-camera system, clear skies will be required.

Unfortunately, as the Clear Sky Clock sky forecast map below shows, clear skies this Friday evening will be hard to come by!  In a rare reversal, sky conditions in Washington could be marginally better than the rest of the network, although even here things will be dicey.  Such are the challenges of ground-based astronomy research.  While we anticipate most sites will be clouded out, we appreciated all teams completing the RECON Campaign Observation Report Form, which will be available for one week following the event time.

Sky forecast map at event time for 07RG283 event.

 

This Week’s Spotlight: Quincy, CA

The RECON network is made of over 55 communities on the Western United States ranging from Washington to Arizona, made of teachers, students, volunteers, and countless community members who are enthusiastic about science. This year, we are going to be feautiring our communities so that we can get to know the unique cities and people that are part of the RECON network.

Quincy, CA


This week’s feature is Quincy, CA. Quincy has been part of the RECON project since the start of our pilot project in Fall 2012. Charles Arrowsmith teaches astronomy at Feather River Community College and leads the Quincy RECON team. Students and teachers from both the college and Quincy High School are involved, and the Quincy site was featured in a ScienceNation Video about the project. The Quincy team maintains an active RECON page on their Google+ site. Check it out to learn more about this community!

 

To explore the full list of RECON communities, visit our communities page. 

If your community is interested in creating a profile either on social media or through the RECON website, email us at recon@calpoly.edu.