UND Unveils Internet-Based National Telescope Network
John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences
Contact: Karen Ryba/Phone: 701-777-4761
August 6, 2007
UND Unveils New Internet-Based National Telescope Network
(Grand Forks, North Dakota): The University of North Dakota has just unveiled the Space Grant Internet Telescope Network (SGITN), an emerging national network of Internet-controllable telescopes that will be used by university faculty and students for astronomical research and education projects. Hosted by UND Space Studies and the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium, the Network consists of participating Space Grant states with observatories that agree to share their astronomical resources in the Network.
â€œOperations will begin with observatories in North and South Dakota,' says Dr. Paul Hardersen, a planetary geologist and assistant professor of space studies. â€œThe goal of the Network is to increase the availability of astronomical resources to students and faculty who otherwise may not have the opportunity to use some of the larger national observatories.'
â€œIn addition,' Hardersen says, â€œthis is just one of our efforts to establish astronomy and planetary science as vibrant research enterprises at UND and in North Dakota. UND Space Studies has become a nationally-known center for asteroid spectroscopic research in the past several years and we have been successful in obtaining NASA funding for near-Earth and main-belt asteroid research. Establishment of this Network will allow North Dakota faculty and students to pursue a wide range of research projects, from discovering new asteroids, comets, and supernovae to studying the variable nature of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Hardersen is also pursuing research collaborations with other institutions, such as the National Solar Observatory and Rice University.
The SGITN is beginning with the UND Observatory and the Badlands Observatory in South Dakota, with the likely addition of observatories in Utah and Oregon by the end of this year. The broad vision of the SGITN is to operate a large network of 20+ observatories around the United States in 5 years and, potentially, an observatory in Australia.
Eligible participants in the SGITN are students and faculty in states that are members of the Network. Hardersen, who is also director of the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium and ND NASA EPSCoR program, has identified astronomical research as a new focus area for North Dakota, along with planetary space suit research. â€œIt is vital,' Hardersen says, â€œto be aggressive in promoting new basic research enterprises in North Dakota. Doing this will give students new research opportunities that will allow them to follow scientific careers paths not previously possible. It will also allow North Dakota colleges and universities to conduct astronomy research that will benefit their faculty and students.'
For more information, check out http://sgitn.space.edu and Hardersen's Web site at http://www.space.edu/aerospace/staff/hardersen.php. NASA's Space Grant Web site is at http://national.spacegrant.org and the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium is at http://www.space.edu/spacegrant or Paul Hardersen, Assistant Professor at 701-777-4896 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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