Astronomy Research Seminars
The Seminar Approach
The fundamental goals of all Seminar courses are to expose Seminar researchers to a rigorous, in-depth, team-led research experience that leads to scientific publications. While the Seminar thus far focuses on different aspects of the astronomical sciences, Seminar researchers do not need, per se, any background in astronomy to have a Seminar experience.
A larger goal of the Seminar is to help Seminar researchers have a greater understanding, and appreciation, of the scientific method, scientific way-of-thinking, and critical thinking, as well as the practical aspects of conducting real science. We hope that this knowledge and experience will positively impact society so that more people have the ability to think and act in a scientifically rigorous manner to promote sound public policies and science policies.
Below is a list and description of the different types of Seminars that are offered. They are generally ordered, from top to bottom, in terms of general difficulty and the astronomy background that will be helpful for participants to possess. Potential Seminar researchers are encouraged to take the Basic Double Star Astrometry course first, which will build their skills for more time-intensive Seminars.
InStAR Online Astronomy Research Seminar
Beginning in Summer 2018, InStAR will begin offering online versions of the Astronomy Research Seminar to undergraduate college students, interested college faculty, citizen scientists, and anyone interested in learning how to perform authentic scientific research.
Enrolled students in these non-accredited courses will receive the appropriate astronomical datasets, learn how to understand the quality and characteristics of their datasets, learn how to reduce the data with provided astronomical software, receive guidance on how to interpret the resulting data products, and contribute to a team-led publication that will be submitted to an appropriate scientific journal. Course enrollment is limited to 20 students.
There will eventually be four versions of the online Seminar available:
Double Star Astrometry (8-week course).
Speckle Interferometry (12-week course)
Exoplanet Photometry (12-week course).
Solar Astronomy Research (12-week course).
What students receive: Access to course materials on the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS); astronomical datasets, software and manuals to reduce the appropriate datasets; informational PDF documents with relevant instructional material; interactive and personalized instruction from highly-qualified astronomers and educators; weekly interactive chat sessions via Zoom (or a similar platform); and – ultimately – authorship and publication in a scientific research paper!
What student need to purchase/provide: Course textbooks (if necessary), self-motivation, and a desire to work in a team environment.