Logistics and Setup This section will cover basic logistics and setup for implementation of a YCCC Program.
We strongly suggest that each participant have their own USB memory stick that they use throughout the workshop. This is the best way to ensure that no hard work is lost, since participants will most likely be switching between computers that may have their contents cleared. Also, the MicroObservatory software can be stored and run from the memory stick itself, so there’s no need to install anything on the computers beforehand.
When you first insert your USB drive, choose “Open Folder to View Files.”
The key to making this work is to very clearly explain that all work should be explicitly saved to the USB drive. The easiest way to find the drive is to have participants change the name of the drive to their own name, so they may easily find it under “Computer.” To do this, right click on the flash drive and choose “Rename.”
When you save an image, MicroObservatory image will not automatically choose the USB drive as the location, so you must navigate there yourself to make that happen. Choose Computer, then your USB drive name.
Running MicroObservatory Image
To run MicroObservatory Image from the flash drive on a windows computer, open the folder “MicroObservatory_Windows2.3.E” and then click on “run.” This will open up a MicroObservatory image window. To open FITS files, drag them into the open program window.
When requesting images from the telescopes, MicroObservatory asks you for an email address to send the image after it has been taken that night.
We suggest that you use a group email address for requesting class images. This prevents students from being distracted by their personal email during workshop time, and is also a good solution for students who don’t have email addresses of their own. After requesting images, students should make sure to write down the names of the images they requested since there is no way to know who requested which image once they are sent to the group email address. They can use the Observing Log on the YCCC website, or you can create your own observing log.
Images are sent from the telescopes to requesters at 1pm the next day. Since workshop time is precious, as a facilitator you may want to log into the email account and download the groups’ images before the workshop begins. We would then suggest that you check the observing log and distribute the images to participants’ USB drives before the workshop begins. That way, when the workshop day begins, everyone already has the images they requested on their USB drives, and you can spend more time processing and less time searching for downloaded images.
You will notice that some of your images are not as clear as others, and may contain clouds or may even appear blank. These images are taken the night of each request, regardless of the weather conditions. If there are clouds in the sky, there will be clouds in your images! If you have bad luck on a particular night of imaging, but desperately need images so that your workshop participants can process images in their program period, you can easily visit the MicroObservatory image directory linked at the bottom of MicroObservatory.org. Here you can see all the images taken by the MicroObservatory telescopes, and choose a recent image of the same object taken on a less cloudy evening. You can then transfer these images on your participants’ flash drives for processing.
At the beginning of the workshop, all participants should be given a folder where they can keep the different activities they will complete. This folder is also a perfect place for participants to store their printed out processed images that they can use in their final exhibit. It is very important to print out as many images each day for each student, so that they have a wide variety of images to choose from when it comes down to choosing topics and images for their final project. As you print out each image, it is very helpful to label each one with the students name and the file name they chose for the image. Later on, when the students use the images, they will know whose is whose and can more easily credit their fellow workshop participants work.
Star System of Rewards
If you like, you can create a star chart for your class to act as a rewards system throughout the workshop. When a student answers a question correctly, when they are the first to raise their hand or follow an instruction, or when they do a particularly good job with an activity, you can choose to reward them with a star sticker next to their name. At the end of the program, the student or students who collected the most stars throughout earn an extra prize!