Pine Mountain Observatory

For four years in a row (2008-2011), a Seminar similar to Cuesta College's in-person Astronomy Research Seminar was conducted as an informal (non-college credit) student Seminar in conjunction with the University of Oregon at their Pine Mountain Observatory (PMO) east of Bend, Oregon. Students from high schools and universities across the Pacific Northwest participated in this informal summer Seminar. Their research was primarily double star astrometry.

Each intense Seminar took place over a long weekend.  Teams of students from various high schools and colleges attended the Seminar, as did several amateur astronomers, complete with telescopes and astrometric eyepieces.  A dozen papers were coauthored by the Pine Mountain Observatory research teams.

A typical Seminar at Pine Mountain Observatory began with each team deciding what double star they were going to observe and preparing a PowerPoint presentation of their research plan.  All teams presented their observations in a joint meeting. Their plans were critiqued by experienced double star researchers who attended the Seminar. Student teams then made the observations, typically in a single evening, usually finishing by midnight. Then it was on to writing and rewriting papers under the guidance of the experienced team leaders. External referees were standing by on the Internet to review near-final papers, and their suggestions were incorporated into the final papers. Each team then prepared PowerPoint briefings on their research results, and all teams presented their results in the Seminar's final meeting.

A typical team at Pine Mountain Observatory.  Jo Johnson (far left), from Cuesta College, led this team, while Rebecca Chamberlin, far right, from Evergreen College, was the assistant team leader. The four students in the middle were all Evergreen students.

High school and college students gather for a photograph in front of the University of Oregon's Pine Mountain Observatory during one of four annual summer science camps that featured published observations of double stars.