A new internet telescope was launched by State Education Minister Hon. Dr Elizabeth Constable at The University of Western Australia last Friday the 24th of September.
SPIRIT (SPICE-Physics-ICRAR Remote Internet Telescope) is a research-grade instrument that is accessible to schools across WA, regardless of a rural or remote location and without specialised software.
It will give high school students the potential to discover new planets and exploding stars in distant galaxies and will also be used to enrich tertiary studies in astronomy.
“SPIRIT will give students the opportunity to try their hand at professional astronomy and will inspire the next generation of astronomers and scientists, something we’re very passionate about at ICRAR,” says Pete Wheeler, Outreach and Education Manager.
The SPIRIT initiative was developed by ICRAR with the secondary teachers’ enrichment program, SPICE, including support from the School of Physics at UWA.
SPIRIT was made possible with the expertise of Paul Luckas, SPICE Curriculum writer and astronomer, and has already achieved a significant milestone during its pilot phase. Students from Shenton College and Mount Lawley Senior High School in Perth successfully obtained ‘Minor Planet Center’ observatory status for the telescope.
This allows future observations and discoveries to be recognised by the international scientific community, and demonstrates the quality of this new educational resource.