South Dakota Tech News
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Phone: (605) 394-6082/2554 • Fax: (605) 394-6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2004
Contact: Steve Buchholz, Public Information Manager, 394-6082
See The Stars From The Classroom
A new astronomy outreach program will allow South Dakota schools, colleges, and universities to remotely access the powerful telescope at Badlands Observatory from any location in the state.
Dr. Sherry Farwell, director of the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium at South Dakota Tech, announced today that the Consortium, along with the observatory in Quinn, S.D., will offer the program, called “Dark Skies, Bright Minds.”
The program will fund projects that provide educational enrichment through remote use of the telescope. Through this program, objects in space such as the sun, moon, planets, nebulae, comets, stars and others can be observed from classrooms.
For the past four years, Ron Dyvig, director of Badlands Observatory, has concentrated on asteroid research using the 26-inch Newtonian telescope that he fabricated. In addition to participating in NASA's Space Guard Program, Badlands Observatory has also been credited for discovering 27 main belt asteroids. One of those was recently named after the State of South Dakota by the International Astronomical Union.
Last year, using a state-funded grant, Dyvig upgraded the telescope and its camera, and purchased software that permits outside use over the Internet. A test group of observers has observed celestial objects from remote locations as far away as Hawaii using desktop and laptop computers connected through cable, dial-up and wireless networks. Several schools have already signed up for observing sessions, and more may do so.
“The South Dakota Space Grant Consortium has set aside funds from NASA to allow
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use of this unique remote telescope facility by schools within the state without charge,”
Farwell said. “We are pleased to offer this new and exciting teaching aid to educators in South Dakota.”
Dyvig added that if the response from the schools were high enough to expend the NASA funds, Badlands Observatory would still offer the program at no charge to schools that wish to participate.
Badlands Observatory is an educational affiliate of the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium. Additional information about this program can be found by visiting Badlands Observatory’s website at www.sdsmt.edu/space/bo.htm, or by contacting:
Ron Dyvig, Badlands Observatory – e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone: (605) 386-2105.
Tom Durkin, SD Space Grant Consortium – e-mail: Thomas.Durkin@sdsmt.edu; telephone: (605) 394-1975.
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