Telescope Challenge for Schools is Launched as Part of International Year of Ast

Thursday, 8 January 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) The Faulkes Telescopes Universe Challenge will be launched today (Thursday, 8 January) at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in the RDS, as part of the Irish celebrations of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Transition Year students, and their equivalents in Northern Ireland, will be asked to take part in scientific research projects involving the Faulkes Telescopes. The state-of-the-art, 2m diameter telescopes are situated on mountain-top sites in Australia and Hawaii, and can be remotely operated by school groups. Members of the professional astronomy community in universities and institutes throughout the island of Ireland will suggest research projects and assist school students in their delivery. On the basis of their results, to be presented at the Galway Science and Technology Festival in October 2009, the best group, including their teacher and professional mentor, will be invited to visit the Chilean Observatories of the European Southern Observatory. There they will see one of the world s best telescopes and try out one of the smaller telescopes for their own research. The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) is a global celebration of astronomy and its contribution to society and culture. 2009 is the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo, in reality the beginning of the modern age in astronomy. The aim of IYA2009 is to stimulate a worldwide interest and encourage participation in astronomy and in science amongst students at all levels, and among the general public. In Ireland, a programme of events is being organised by the Irish Node of IYA2009, headed by Professor Michael Redfern, Centre for Astronomy, NUI Galway. According to Professor Michael Redfern: "The Faulkes Telescopes Universe Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for school students to experience original scientific research, and for them to meet and work with real scientists. There can be immense satisfaction from achievements that take time and effort - which I think can sometimes be missed in school curricula, and in the scramble for points. The research these students will undertake is original, no one can tell them in advance what the results are supposed to be - I think that this is a very exciting opportunity. The prize is very generously sponsored by the European Southern Observatory, even though Ireland is not a member". The Faulkes Telescopes Universe Challenge is sponsored by Discover Science & Engineering, NUI Galway, Northern Ireland Space Office and Armagh Observatory. Further information can be found at www.astronomy2009.ie.
Dúshlán Teileascóp na Scoileanna Seolta mar chuid de Bhliain Idirnáisiúnta na Réalteolaíochta 2009
(View in English) Seolfar Dúshlán Theileascóip Faulkes na Cruinne inniu (Déardaoin, 8 Eanáir) ag Taispeántas Eolaithe Óga agus Teicneolaíochta BT san RDS, mar chuid de cheiliúradh na hÉireann ar Bhliain Idirnáisiúnta na Réalteolaíochta 2009. Iarrfar ar dhaltaí Idirbhliana, agus ar a gcomhdhaltaí as Tuaisceart Éireann, a bheith rannpháirteach i dtionscadail taighde eolaíochta a bhaineann le Teileascóip Faulkes. Tá na teileascóip seo, a bhfuil trastomhas 2m iontu, suite ar láithreáin ar bharr na gcnoc san Astráil agus i Haváí agus is féidir le grúpaí scoile iad a oibriú go cianda. Molfaidh baill de phobal gairmiúil na réalteolaíochta in ollscoileanna agus in institiúidí ar fud oileán na hÉireann tionscadail taighde agus cuideoidh siad leis na daltaí scoile na tionscadail a chur i gcrích. Bunaithe ar na torthaí, a fhógrófar ag Féile Eolaíochta & Teicneolaíochta na Gaillimhe i mí Dheireadh Fómhair 2009, tabharfar cuireadh don ghrúpa is fearr, dá múinteoir agus dá meantóir gairmiúil, cuairt a thabhairt ar Réadlanna Sileacha Réadlann na hEorpa Theas. Feicfidh siad ceann de scoth-theileascóip an domhain ansin agus bainfidh siad triail as ceann de na teileascóip bheaga dá gcuid taighde féin. Is ceiliúradh domhanda Bliain Idirnáisiúnta na Réalteolaíochta (IYA2009) ar an réalteolaíocht agus ar an gcaoi a gcuireann sí leis an tsochaí agus leis an gcultúr. Táthar ag déanamh ceiliúradh comórtha 400 bliain ar an uair ar úsáid Galileo teileascóp réalteolaíochta, arb éard a bhí ann i ndáiríre tús na réalteolaíochta nua-aimseartha. Is é aidhm IYA2009 spéis a chothú ar fud an domhain agus rannpháirtíocht a spreagadh sa réalteolaíocht agus san eolaíocht i measc mac léinn ag gach leibhéal, agus i measc an phobail i gcoitinne. Tá clár imeachtaí á eagrú in Éirinn ag Nód Éireannach an IYA2009, faoi stiúir an Ollaimh Michael Redfern, Ionad na Réalteolaíochta, OÉ Gaillimh. Deir an tOllamh Michael Redfern: "Is deis iontach Dúshlán Theileascóip Faulkes na Cruinne do dhaltaí scoile taithí a fháil ar an mbuntaighde eolaíoch, agus bualadh le fíoreolaithe agus oibriú leo. Bíonn an-sásamh le baint as éachtaí a mbaineann am agus dianiarracht leo – rud a shílim a bhíonn in easnamh in amanna ar churaclaim scoile agus sa sciob sceab ar phointí. Is buntaighde a bhíonn ar bun ag na mic léinn seo, ní bhíonn aon duine in ann a rá leo roimh ré cén toradh ba cheart a bheith air – sílim gur deis iontach é seo. Rinne Réadlann na hEorpa Theas urraíocht ar an duais, cé nach bhfuil Éire ina comhalta di." Tá Discover Science & Engineering, OÉ Gaillimh, Northern Ireland Space Office agus Réadlann Ard Mhacha ag déanamh urraíochta ar Dhúshlán Theileascóip Faulkes na Cruinne. Tá tuilleadh eolais le fáil ag www.astronomy2009.ie
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