The Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC) is a joint project, between the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and West Virginia University (WVU), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The goal of the PSC is to give high school students experience doing real research. With this experience they gain the confidence they need to succeed in STEM majors in college!
In 2007, the Green Bank Telescope was in need of repairs. Specifically, it needed a new track. While this track was being replaced, the telescope was unable to move and could only point at a fixed position in the sky. During this time, two astronomers from WVU, Dr. Maura McLaughlin and Dr. Duncan Lorimer used the Green Bank Telescope to observe the sky as it drifted overhead. And as the sky drifted by, they took data. And more data. And more data. By the end, they had over 300 hours of observing time and acquired more than 30 terabytes of data! And they want to use this data to search for new pulsars.
Sue Ann Heatherly, the Education Officer at the Green Bank Telescope, designed this project to help students use the data to search for new pulsars. In addition to Duncan and Maura, students get lots of help from WVU grad students Joe Swiggum, Fernando Cardoso, and Pete Gentile, and experienced PSC members from around the US!
Sue Ann Heatherly
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I am so pleased to announce that thanks to the generosity of the NRAO Director we will hold a five-day capstone/camp this year at the NRAO in Green Bank WV. Let’s call it a Campstone! To qualify to participate in Campstone, you must diligently examine 200 pointings by May 25, 2014, and prepare a poster that highlights your work over the year.
If you qualify for capstone, you qualify for this 5-day campstone event!!
As part of Campstone, you will get to use radio telescopes and work with PSC astronomers to learn more in-depth data analysis techniques with GBT data, and hang out with your fellow PSC members!
PSC Campstone will begin at 4:00 PM on Sunday June 8 and will conclude Friday June 13 at noon. Your parents are welcome to join us for a cookout on the 8th and lunch on the 13th.
This year we require a $50.00 registration fee from each participant but your room and board will be covered. Upon notification that you have been accepted into the program, we’ll provide more information.
Want to attend? Your first step is to complete this short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/campstone
Here we are! This is the new home for the PSC: pulsarsearchcollaboratory.org (pulsarsearchcollaboratory.com will still work too). One of the features of this new website is that we have a forum! We hope this will replace the old mode of communicating through the pulsarsearchcollaboratory.com email. If you use the forum to talk about plots or other PSC related stuff, then all PSC members will see it. But I think that is wonderful, as there is so much expertise in the PSC group.We have also jettisoned the school pages. If you desire to use the old google site, it has not disappeared, but we will not be updating it. Go to: https://sites.google.com/a/pulsarsearchcollaboratory.com/pulsar-search-collaboratory/Home…
~ Sue Ann
STUDENTS: Are you a senior or a junior in your second year with the PSC? If so you can register for undergraduate credit from WVU at a cost of $40/ credit hour for 3 credits. To learn more about course requirements check out the course syllabus here.
Dr. Duncan Lorimer wrote a song about pulsars. Check out the lyrics and sing along to help you remember pulsars’ properties!
How much data has your team analyzed this school year? See the statistics on the Student Page.
Be sure to check out the Rogue Gallery. Don’t be fooled by earthly signals!
View our poster, presented at the American Astronomical Society conference, about the PSC’s positive effects on students.
Read our publication about the PSC in Astronomy Education Review!