Planetary Scientists Marc Buie and John Keller are excited to announce the expansion of RECON — the Research and Education Collaborative Occultation Network — across the entire western United States! The full network will involve at least 55 telescope sites operated by teachers, students, and volunteers from 60 communities located in the rain shadow of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges and along the Colorado River.
Over the next five years, the communities shown on the map below will be involved in this cutting-edge, NSF-funded citizen science astronomy research endeavor to measure and characterize Kuiper Belt Objects located in the outer Solar System. Project Leads Buie and Keller are honored to have visited all of the sites shown on the map during recruitment of the pilot network in fall 2012 and the expanded network in fall 2014.
With this expansion, the project will engage over 60 high schools, 12 colleges and community colleges, 7 astronomy clubs, and 2 astronomy education centers. NSF funding for RECON will be used to provide camera systems to all 54 sites and 46 CPC-1100 telescopes to the communities shown on the map in green. To sites shown in blue, an additional 8 telescopes are being provided by the following RECON collaborators:
- Central Washington University Gear Up Program (2)
- Columbia Basin College Robert & Elisabeth Moore Observatory
- Oregon State University SMILE Program
- Sisters Astronomy Club
- The Bateson Observatory
- Western Nevada College Jack C. Davis Observatory
- Guided Discoveries – Astrocamp
Telescopes and cameras will be delivered to new RECON communities over the next month. During the spring, representatives from each community will receive training at workshops held in Kingman, Arizona, and Pasco, Washington. By early May, the network will be fully prepared to conduct up to eight coordinated observation campaigns of Kuiper Belt Objects each year through 2019.
Buie and Keller are also grateful for volunteer collaborators such as Jerry Bardecker from Gardnerville and others associated with the International Occultation Time Association (IOTA) who are providing significant contributions to the project and joining in RECON occultation campaign events to create an even stronger network (current sites shown in purple on map). Individuals interested in learning more about opportunities to participate are encouraged to complete a RECON Individual Interest Form.
Welcome to all of our new RECON students, teachers, and community members!!!