[Workshop] - Skynet’s Cluster HR Diagram and Image Processing Tools
13:30 - 15:00
Aimed at both in-person and online participants
This workshop will introduce participants to the Skynet Robotic Telescope Network’s photometry-based tri-colour image processing software and its cluster HR diagram plotting and isochrone modelling tool, which were created for the second-semester STEAM education Multi-Wavelength Universe! curriculum. Participants will work through the standard implementation of a star cluster project: data collection and raw image reduction with Skynet; source extraction, photometry, and image processing with Skynet’s Afterglow Access software; and HR Diagram plotting and isochrone fitting with Skynet’s Cluster Pro Plus webapp. Thus, participants will learn how to use this web-based software to: create photometrically-calibrated and reddening-corrected colour images; automatically photometer all sources in a set of images; incorporate information from Gaia to remove field stars based on proper motion and parallax; estimate a cluster’s distance, age, metallicity, and reddening through isochrone fitting; and query external catalogues (Gaia, APASS, WISE, 2MASS) for supplemental photometry and (often) improved isochrone fitting. Along the way, we will highlight ways to accommodate partial or non-standard implementations, such as the ability to query catalogues directly from Cluster Pro Plus without adding personal data.
Day 3 - Fri 12th May
Three Cornerstones of Modern Astronomy Education
16:45 - 17:00
Co-authors: Kalée Tock
Active, skills-based learning experiences involving real data promote deeper learning. Three recent innovations have opened doors to a variety of learning opportunities that astronomy educators can offer their students, which were not possible even a decade ago: web-based computing tools such as Jupyter Notebooks and Google Colaboratory; the proliferation of publicly available datasets from surveys such as Gaia, TESS, and ASAS; and robotic telescope networks such as Skynet and LCOGT which students can use to collect supplemental information that is not given by survey data. We will discuss three projects we have implemented in high school and university courses, involving star clusters, periodic variable stars, and double stars, focusing on the different ways each of these cornerstones of modern astronomy education add value through key project outcomes.