Capturing the cosmos

Young astronomers from around the country are coming to Washington for an out-of-this-world summit in February.


Banner for YCCC Youth Summit

Young astronomers from across the nation will convene for an out of this world Youth Summit in Washington, D.C., on February 22 and 23. The astro-photographers, ranging in age from 10 to 14 years old, have all participated in the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos program, held at 13 Smithsonian Affiliate organizations over the past year. Participants used an online portal to control real robotic telescopes located at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory sites in Cambridge, Mass., and Amado, Ariz. Using the same tools, technologies and techniques as professional astronomers, the youth observed planets, stars and galaxies; analyzed and enhanced their astronomical images with scientific software; and even designed their own robotic telescope components.

Child using camera on tripod

A student astronomer at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo courtesy Carolinas Aviation Museum.)

While in D.C. these young astronomers will share the multi-disciplinary knowledge they have gained from Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos with the public. On Wednesday, February 22nd at 1:00 p.m. the kids will host a poster presentation at the National Air and Space Museum, featuring the astronomical images they have captured and processed. This poster session will be followed by a live presentation from the students, How to Control a Telescope & Create a Colorful Cosmic Image.

The Youth Summit also includes events to broaden the students’ understanding of science, technology, and innovation, including programming at the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History. On Thursday, February 23rd, select participants will interact with a forum of Smithsonian educators to learn about their love of space, and discover how technology can enhance access to Smithsonian learning experiences.

Girl using computer at desk

Students at Cerritos Library’s astrophysics camp, where Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos was a featured program. (Courtesy Cerritos Library, Cerritos, Calif.)

Affiliate Participants:

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos is supported by the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Access Grants program managed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access. The program is a product of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations, and includes participation in YouthAstroNet, a digital network of youth interested in astronomy funded by the National Science Foundation.

This post was written by Caroline Mah, National Outreach Manager for Smithsonian Affiliations.


Posted: 10 February 2017
About the Author:

The Torch relies on contributions from the entire Smithsonian community.

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