Over the past eight summers I have mentored a total of 22 students in the field of observational astronomy. Students use BGSU's 0.5-meter telescope and CCD camera to obtain images of selected variable stars. Students learn the equipment and discipline used in unsupervised, nighttime observing, then by day learn software and techniques used to "process" the images to remove artifacts from the images and to measure the stars' brightness and color. Repeated observations over the course of the summer enable students to chart the stars' brightness and color variations over time. Most of the stars were selected as part of a large survey to clarify the behavior of these stars for a Key Project on NASA's Space Interferometry Mission, and students are encouraged to participate in writing their results for presentation at conferences and/or journal publication. Students are also encouraged to select several stars of their own and to design and carry out an observational experiment to characterize these stars' brightness and color variations.
Details of the project can be found at: http://physics.bgsu.edu/~layden/observatory.htm
112 Overman Hall