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Here is a year end summery of activities involving the BOS telescope at Sedgwick Reserve covering education and outreach, science, and engineering.
Outreach using the Byrne Observatory at Sedgwick increased slightly over the previous year. In total, there were 10 star parties, as well as a rainy, midday show-and-tell with the observatory. These groups ranged from elementary school groups, family groups, outdoor school groups, youth enrichment programs, college student groups, auctioned events, the California natural reserve system managers, the annual LCOGT star party, and others.
Much of the data for Agent Exoplanet also came from the BOS. Earlier this year when we were preparing for Agent Exoplanet, we weren't sure about the quality of the data and if it would hold up against FTN and FTS. Just after a couple of trial transits which showed the data to be quite reliable, we switched gears and it is now our primary resource for gathering extrasolar planet data. Approximately 75-80% of the full-transit data sets that we have for Agent Exoplanet are from BOS.
The BOS has also been used for significant science research over the past year, observing about 90% of clear nights. Observations from BOS have been significant in supernovae research as it was one of the first eyes on nearby supernovae PTF11kly/SN2011fe in the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) and SN2011dh in the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). There have been countless observations of transiting extrasolar planets, many follow up and some new. Other research that has been done with BOS data includes asteroids and NEOs, occultations, binary white dwarfs, eclipsing binary stars, photometry of AGNs, and more.
Full list of scientific publications which use data taken from BOS:
Fulton et al. 2011
Levitan et al. 2011
Steinfadt et al. 2011
Law, et al. 2011
Bryan, et al. 2011
Arcavi et al. 2011
There have been several upgrades to the BOS over the past year, as well as several more planned to make the observatory more robust. A new primary mirror cover, the fiber launch and guider unit for the spectrograph, a on-mount liquid cooling system, and an improved declination axis cover were all installed. Significant progress was made with automating everything from remote observing (running in a nearly robotic state, in theory taking observations entered into a Google calender to having fully reduced data on the science archive with minimal 'babysitting' of the system) down to the dome fans. Upgrades to the weather station and cameras were also done.
Future upgrades include the expansion of the warm room (where the computer servers are kept), upgrades and modifications to the dome and telescope panel (both of which are needed for a software upgrade), and the installation of the prototype spectrograph (MRES).
Some cool videos:
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