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.

What’s in a name?

Our next RECON event this coming Monday evening involves Centaur 12CG!  A challenging component of this event is that the target will be rising low in the eastern sky. Note that this won’t give our teams a ton of time to lock on the star field.

We wanted to take this opportunity to talk for a second about the naming convention for TNOs and other minor planets.  For all of our previous events, you may have noticed that objects had names like 14UT114 and 08FC76, while our event this week does not have a number at the end. Let’s break this down.

The name 12CG indicates that this object was the seventh minor planet discovered in the two week period between February 1 – February 15, 2012.  The first two digits (12) represent the year of discovery and the first letter (C) indicates the half-month of discovery. The letter A is for objects discovered between January 1-15, B is for January 16-31, and C for February 1-15. Note that the letter “I” is skipped, resulting in Y representing the 24th half-month of December 16-31. The second character (G) is the order of discover, with A being the first object in that period and G being the seventh. Here again, the letter “I” is not used, so this naming convention can be used for the first 25 objects discovered in a given half-month.

So why do most TNOs end with a number while 12CG does not? After the 25 object discovered in a half month,a number is indexed at the end of the name and second alpha character cycles back through the alphabet. Thus, while the 25th discovered object between February 1 – February 15 would be 12CZ, the 26th object would be named 12CA1, and the 27th would be 12CB1.

Ready to quiz yourself? Try 14UT114:

  • 14U = Object was discovered between October 16-31, 2014
  • T114 = We’ve cycled 114 times through the 25 letters of the alphabet (minus the letter “I”), or 114 x 25 = 2,850 times. The letter T indicates it is the 19th object after these 2,850 prior objects. So the object is the 2,869th discovery of this half-month.

How about 08FC76? . . . yup, the 1,903rd minor discovered between March 16-31, 2008. For more information and clarification, check out the following Wikipage on provisional designation in astronomy.

Good luck to all of our teams this Monday evening!!!

Happy Winter Solstice, 2016!

On this Winter Solstice, the RECON Team wanted to wish all a happy holiday season!!!

RECON Team Meeting in Carson City, August 2016

RECON Team Meeting in Carson City, August 2016

We are extremely grateful to all of our RECON students, teachers, amateur astronomers and community members who have contributed to this year’s activities.  Below is a quick RECON Year in Review!

All together, we attempted 8 full network campaigns, set up essential data infrastructure for RECON campaigns, and published 2 manuscripts in The Astronomical Journal. With most video files now uploaded into the RECON database, we are currently busy analyzing video from the above events as we prepare for our upcoming January 2017 campaigns.

In addition to our team meeting in Nevada, John had the pleasure of visiting sites in Oregon, Northern California, Owens Valley, and along the Colorado River while Marc visited sites in both Washington and Arizona. We also has a new team join from Wildwood School in Los Angeles. Throughout all of our interactions, we continue to be impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of our RECON communities!

Wishing you the warmest of holidays!!!

John, Marc, Ilianna, Diana, Matthew, Audrey, and Jeralyn