Sunday, May 1, 2016

PANOPTES at AstroDay

April 30th marked the 15th annual AstroDay event at the local mall, with heavy participation by everyone with the Big Island astronomy community. This year PANOPTES had their own booth right near the main stage and we were able to set up a demonstration unit, poster, and a simple light curve demo.
Olivier demonstrating how light curves work with a small red planet and bright light.

The event is always good for the local community, allowing keiki (kids) and families the opportunity to directly interact with astronomers and staff of the local observatories. There was wide interest in PANOPTES at the event, with people understanding the potential educational and scientific value. And kids love being able to see a moving unit!

Local keiki preparing a planet for transit.
We also put together a small piece of software that can easily demonstrate how light curves are formed using just a webcam and a bright light source. By plotting the decrease in light as various "planets" are moved in front of the light source, people are easier able to understand how PANOPTES works via the transit method to look for exoplanets. We took a number of pictures at the event so checkout out the gallery.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth this year! Thanks also to Subaru Telescope for the support!

Various light curves created at AstroDay. Click for gallery.

Olivier testing the light curve demo for the first time.

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