2019A proposals

PI Name PI Institution Title Semesters FLOYDS (2m) Spectral (2m) NRES (1m) Sinistro (1m) SBIG (0.4m) GHTS REDCAM (4.0m) GHTS REDCAM IMAGER (4.0m)
Berta-Thompson Z University of Colorado Boulder Transits of the Cool TESS M Dwarf Planets Transits of the Cool TESS M Dwarf Planets The two-year main mission of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) starts this summer. TESS will find thousands of new nearby transiting exoplanets, and some of the most important among them will be the small, cool planets transiting very nearby small, cool stars. TESS will having the continuous coverage needed to find these planets, but its small aperture (0.1m) and limited dwell time (27 days for most of the sky) means that they will have large uncertainties remaining on their basic physical parameters. We propose to use the network of 1m Sinistros to gather precise transit light curves for the coolest TESS M dwarf planet candidates, to confirm their planetary nature, to improve measurements of their radii, and to refine their orbital periods. LCO can contribute meaningfully to the initial characterization of some of TESS' most exciting new exoplanets. 2018B 2019A

Chilean Astronomical Community

PI Name PI Institution Title Semesters FLOYDS (2m) Spectral (2m) NRES (1m) Sinistro (1m) SBIG (0.4m) GHTS REDCAM (4.0m) GHTS REDCAM IMAGER (4.0m)
Munoz R Universidad de Chile The Most Distant Stars in the galactic Halo: improving the light curves of RR Lyrae stars beyond 150 kpc The Most Distant Stars in the galactic Halo: improving the light curves of RR Lyrae stars beyond 150 kpc We request 20 hours of LCOGT-2m telescope to obtain time series of 7 very distant RR Lyrae in the outer halo of the Milky Way. These recently discovered RR Lyrae variables more than double the number of known stars at distances beyond ~120 kpc in our Galaxy. The aim of these observations is to update the light curve of these very distant RR Lyrae stars, a critical step in order to be prepared for spectroscopic observations next year. With spectroscopically-derived radial velocities, these stars in the distant halo are vital tracers of the Milky Way mass, which is currently known only to within a factor of two. Velocities and metallicities of our sample of RR Lyrae will also be used to learn about the recent accretion history of the Galaxy, as models of galaxy formation predict that the outer halo of the Milky Way should be populated entirely by ultra-faint dwarf galaxies and tidal remnants from recently destroyed satellite galaxies 2018B 2019A

Faulkes Telescope Project

PI Name PI Institution Title Semesters FLOYDS (2m) Spectral (2m) NRES (1m) Sinistro (1m) SBIG (0.4m) GHTS REDCAM (4.0m) GHTS REDCAM IMAGER (4.0m)
Roche P Faulkes Telescope Project PR FTP Education - Queue FTP Education - Queue FTP Education - Queue 2014A 2019B 2016B 2018B 2015A 2015B 2014B 2019A 2020A 2016A 2017AB 2018A 10 210 10 128 84
Roche P Faulkes Telescope Project PR FTP Education (Gaia Alerts) FTP Education (Gaia Alerts) FTP Education (Gaia Alerts) 2017AB 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 30 15 10
Roche P Faulkes Telescope Project PR FTP Education (Real-Time Observing) FTP Education (Real-Time Observing) FTP Education (Real-Time Observing) 2017AB 2018A 2019A

Las Cumbres Observatory - Education Programs

PI Name PI Institution Title Semesters FLOYDS (2m) Spectral (2m) NRES (1m) Sinistro (1m) SBIG (0.4m) GHTS REDCAM (4.0m) GHTS REDCAM IMAGER (4.0m)
Fitzgerald M Edith Cowan University Our Solar Siblings queue Our Solar Siblings queue 2014B 2015A 2015B 2016A 2016B 2017AB 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 250
Gomez E LCO LCO Education development LCO Education development 2019B 2018B 2016B 2015A 2015B 2014B 2020A 2019A 2016A 2017AB 2018A 10 20 500
Gerbaldi M Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris Astrolab - Starlight in the university lab Astrolab - Starlight in the university lab Astrolab - Starlight in the university lab 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 50
Pennypacker C MIT AstroClub - UC Berkeley A Pilot for Modeling Instruction Teachers A Pilot for Modeling Instruction Teachers A Pilot for Modeling Instruction Teachers 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B
Dominik M Fascination Astronomy Fascination Astronomy Fascination Astronomy 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B
North C Cardiff University Followup of Gravitational Wave sources with LCO Followup of Gravitational Wave sources with LCO Followup of Gravitational Wave sources with LCO 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B
Rodríguez Eugenio N Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias PETeR (Educational Project with Robotic Telescopes) PETeR (Educational Project with Robotic Telescopes) PETeR (Educational Project with Robotic Telescopes) 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 20
Freed R Institute for Student Astronomical Research Astronomy Research Seminars for High School and Undergraduate Instructors and Students Astronomy Research Seminars for High School and Undergraduate Instructors and Students Astronomy Research Seminars for High School and Undergraduate Instructors and Students 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 50
Sienkiewicz F MicroObservatory Exoplanet Exploration Partnership (regular observations) Exoplanet Exploration Partnership (regular observations) Exoplanet Exploration Partnership (Regular priority observations) 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B
Sienkiewicz F MicroObservatory Exoplanet Exploration Partnership (high priority observations) Exoplanet Exploration Partnership (high priority observations) Exoplanet Exploration Partnership (High priority observations) 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B
NUCLIO N NUCLIO Constellations under investigation & Scientist’s Apprenticeship Constellations under investigation & Scientist’s Apprenticeship Constellations under investigation & Scientist’s Apprenticeship 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B
Boyce P BRIEF STEM Through Astronomy Research - San Diego STEM Through Astronomy Research - San Diego STEM Through Astronomy Research - San Diego 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 100
Swift J The Thacher School Thacher Supernovae Thacher Supernovae Thacher Supernovae 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B
Tock K Stanford Online High School Stanford Online High School Stanford Online High School Addition to Education Partners Program 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 50
Gomez E LCO Serol's Cosmic Explorers Serol's Cosmic Explorers 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 20
Drout M University of Toronto West African International Summer School for Young Astronomers West African International Summer School for Young Astronomers The West African International Summer School for Young Astronomers (WAISSYA) is an innovative astronomy summer school featuring inquiry-based activities and lectures for university-level participants from across West Africa. The observing time provided on LCO will allow summer school attendees to carry out short transient astronomy research projects under the guidance of career astronomers. 2019A 2019B
Bonne N University of Portsmouth Tactile Observatory Tactile Observatory The Tactile Universe is an award winning astronomy public engagement project that provides educators and students across the UK with accessible astronomy education resources. Using LCO, Tactile Observatory will observe cosmic objects and make 3D height map tactile galaxy images. These images will be used to teach vision impaired people about current galaxy research, with a focus on working with pupils in upper primary and lower secondary school (age 9-14). 2019A 2019B
Gomez E Western Carolina University The Appalachian Star Song Project The Appalachian Star Song Project The Appalachian Star Song Project engages with middle grade and high school students in an Appalachian rural community in a science and art project that turns variable star light curves from RR Lyrae stars in globular clusters into short musical pieces. Students use LCO observations to measure stars' brightness, and through “sonification” take light curve data and turn it into musical notes. 2019A 2019B
Rogerson J Canada Aviation and Space Museum Investigating the Sky Investigating the Sky The Canada Aviation and Space Museum (CASM) has expertise in professional astronomy and educational programs, offering hundreds of educational programs to over 15,000 students each year. In partnership with the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario, CASM will be working with LCO to invite Grade 9 students from a school in the Ottawa Region to use robotic telescopes to observe and investigate the properties of different types of celestial objects in the solar system and beyond. 2019A 2019B
Thurber B Educational Continuum Org, GHOU 100 Hours for 100 Schools 100 Hours for 100 Schools 100 Hours for 100 Schools will build the on-going collaborative programme between Global Hands-On Universe and LCO, 50 hours for 50 nations. This programme will deliver unique activities in astronomy to teachers all over the world, with 100 schools from at least 50 countries being selected. Each school will use LCO to image deep sky objects for use in their classrooms with their students. 2019A 2019B 2020A 75
Gleim B Glendale Community College GCC Cluster Map and Asteroid Hunt GCC Cluster Map and Asteroid Hunt The Astronomy Club at Glendale Community College will use LCO telescopes for public engagement and educational research. Honors students and club members will work together as one research cohort and engage in the authentic practice of experimental design and execution as they carry out two observing projects: mapping a star cluster and hunting for asteroids. 2019A 2019B
Liu B YATL YATL Astronomy Research Project for High School YATL Astronomy Research Project for High School Youth Astronomy Teachers' Link (YATL) is a Chinese astronomy education NGO affiliated with Beijing Normal University Education Foundation. YATL works to build connections between young astronomers, astronomy teachers and students who are interested in astronomy. With the observing time awarded by LCO, the project will provide high school students with the opportunity to do real astronomical research, meet prestigious astronomers and present their results at international conferences. 2019A 2019B 2020A 20
Peticolas L Sonoma State University Bringing Astronomy Research to Underrepresented Groups Bringing Astronomy Research to Underrepresented Groups This program is unique in its requirement for publication by students, and has been successful due to the large Community-of-Practice involved in the program. This proposal would expand the seminar to other groups of students, outside of Cuesta. The longer-term goal is to expand the program nationally, incorporating a larger community being established through the Global Telescope Network (GTN). Working with advanced amateurs, such as AAVSO members, as well as NASA and other subject matter experts, we hope to include research projects on eclipsing binaries, asteroids and exoplanet transits. This is a pilot program aimed at scaling the research seminar nationally and internationally. 2019A 2019B 2020A 75
Boyajian T LSU Where's the flux Where's the flux KIC 8462852 is a star that citizen scientists identified to have unusual brightness variations. This otherwise seemingly normal F star underwent erratic and completely unpredictable dips in flux ranging from <1% to more than 20%, with each event lasting from days to weeks at a time. In addition to this puzzling variability, the star was later discovered to undergo variable secular declines in its brightness over month, year, decade, and even century-long timescales. We propose to conduct weekly, multi-band photometric monitoring of this star with the LCO 40-cm network in order to measure the extent and chromaticity of the secular dimming throughout the 2019 calendar year. Additionally, this proposal will allow for our community to respond and follow the start of any “dip” identified by more frequent AAVSO measurements, through Reddit. 2019A 2019B 2020A 50

Las Cumbres Observatory - Science Programs

PI Name PI Institution Title Semesters FLOYDS (2m) Spectral (2m) NRES (1m) Sinistro (1m) SBIG (0.4m) GHTS REDCAM (4.0m) GHTS REDCAM IMAGER (4.0m)
Nordin J Humbolt Universität zu Berlin SNe Typing for Completeness SNe Typing for Completeness Get typing spectra of SNe at peak in the z = 0.05 to 0.1 range. 2018B 2019A
Lund M CalTech/IPAC-NExScI An Unusual, Possibly Pulsating, EB An Unusual, Possibly Pulsating, EB Our goal is to get multiband photometry of this object concurrent with 30-minute cadence observations currently being taken by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in order to characterize the nature of this system. This target is currently being observed with 30-minute cadence by TESS as part of sector 9 observations until March 26, 2019. This provides the opportunity for ground-based photometry to complement the TESS observations with additional bandpasses to search for any color dependencies in both the 2 day sinusoidal variations and the eclipses that occur 6 days. This request for DDT is made through the author’s current affiliation with IPAC. 2019A 2019B
Lund M CalTech/IPAC-NExScI An Unusual, Possibly Pulsating, EB (Time-Critical Obs) An Unusual, Possibly Pulsating, EB (Time-Critical Obs) Our goal is to get multiband photometry of this object concurrent with 30-minute cadence observations currently being taken by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in order to characterize the nature of this system. This target is currently being observed with 30-minute cadence by TESS as part of sector 9 observations until March 26, 2019. This provides the opportunity for ground-based photometry to complement the TESS observations with additional bandpasses to search for any color dependencies in both the 2 day sinusoidal variations and the eclipses that occur 6 days. This request for DDT is made through the author’s current affiliation with IPAC. 2019A
Volgenau N Las Cumbres Observatory Spectral standards for FLOYDS Spectral standards for FLOYDS LCO observations of spectral standard stars for FLOYDS 2019A

National Optical Astronomy Observatory

PI Name PI Institution Title Semesters FLOYDS (2m) Spectral (2m) NRES (1m) Sinistro (1m) SBIG (0.4m) GHTS REDCAM (4.0m) GHTS REDCAM IMAGER (4.0m)
Miles-Paez P The University of Western Ontario The Spitzer search for Earth-sized planets around ultra-cool dwarfs: using LCO 1-m telescopes to confirm transits The Spitzer search for Earth-sized planets around ultra-cool dwarfs: using LCO 1-m telescopes to confirm transits We are commencing a large (1075 hours) {sl Spitzer Space Telescope} program to detect Earth-sized planets around carefully selected ultra- cool dwarfs. We will continuously monitor each of our 15 M7-T2 equator- on targets over three days to detect transits from habitable-zone planets. However, our monochromatic {sl Spitzer} observations leave ambiguity about the true nature of the target's light curve fluctuations, since ultra-cool dwarfs are commonly spotted. We seek simultaneous, uninterrupted I-band observations with the LCO 1 m telescope network to confirm the achromatic signature of exoplanetary transits. Two of our 15 targets are continuously observable with the LCO in semester 2019A. We seek 80 contiguous hours per target. 2019A 2019B

Science Collaboration Key Projects

PI Name PI Institution Title Semesters FLOYDS (2m) Spectral (2m) NRES (1m) Sinistro (1m) SBIG (0.4m) GHTS REDCAM (4.0m) GHTS REDCAM IMAGER (4.0m)
Howell A Las Cumbres Observatory The Global Supernova Project The Global Supernova Project We propose a new 3 year Key Project to build a sample of 600 supernovae over 3 years to add to the approximately 450 supernovae from the first Supernova Key Project. Together this will be the largest low-redshift sample of supernovae ever obtained. The scientific objectives include: (1) studies to reveal the progenitors of SNe, particularly from early observations; (2) thorough studies of nearby SNe across all wavelengths; (3) building samples of exotic SNe; and (4) building statistically significant samples of SNe for comparison studies, host galaxy studies, rates, and luminosity functions. 2017AB 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 400 65 1067
Brown T LCO Using NRES to Validate and Characterize Exoplanets Found by TESS and Other Surveys (Commissioning and Precise Radial Velocities) Using NRES to Validate and Characterize Exoplanets Found by TESS and Other Surveys (Commissioning and Precise Radial Velocities) We propose to address two outstanding questions concerning exoplanets, both requiring large new datasets: (1) What is the exoplanet mass/period distribution, in particular for the poorly-represented ``Hot Neptune`` and ``Warm Jupiter`` populations, and (2) Why are the orbital axes of some planets so strongly inclined to the rotational axes of their parent stars? To do this, we will combine intensive observations with<br/>the new LCO- NRES spectrograph network with discovery data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS -- to be launched near the end of calendar 2017), and from existing space- and ground-based transiting planet discovery facilities.<br/><br/>Our proposed project will carry out all of LCO&#39;s observing commitments to the TESS mission, but will greatly extend the TESS sample in order to answer the above science questions, which are uniquely accessible to LCO-NRES. The project will run for 6 semesters, obtain repeated spectra of some 500 exoplanet host stars<br/>and use a total of 12,700 observing hours, about half of which will come from the LCO Key Project pool. Our main activities will be to bring NRES up to its full potential as a global observing system, to develop software tools to enhance its scientific productivity, to carry out and analyze the needed observations for our science program, and to publish our scientific and technical results promptly. 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 250
Brown T LCO Using NRES to Validate and Characterize Exoplanets Found by TESS and Other Surveys (Stellar Obliquity and Photometry) Using NRES to Validate and Characterize Exoplanets Found by TESS and Other Surveys (Stellar Obliquity and Photometry) We propose to address two outstanding questions concerning exoplanets, both requiring large new datasets: (1) What is the exoplanet mass/period distribution, in particular for the poorly-represented ``Hot Neptune`` and ``Warm Jupiter`` populations, and (2) Why are the orbital axes of some planets so strongly inclined to the rotational axes of their parent stars? To do this, we will combine intensive observations with<br/>the new LCO- NRES spectrograph network with discovery data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS -- to be launched near the end of calendar 2017), and from existing space- and ground-based transiting planet discovery facilities.<br/><br/>Our proposed project will carry out all of LCO&#39;s observing commitments to the TESS mission, but will greatly extend the TESS sample in order to answer the above science questions, which are uniquely accessible to LCO-NRES. The project will run for 6 semesters, obtain repeated spectra of some 500 exoplanet host stars<br/>and use a total of 12,700 observing hours, about half of which will come from the LCO Key Project pool. Our main activities will be to bring NRES up to its full potential as a global observing system, to develop software tools to enhance its scientific productivity, to carry out and analyze the needed observations for our science program, and to publish our scientific and technical results promptly. 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 100
Brown T LCO Using NRES to Validate and Characterize Exoplanets Found by TESS and Other Surveys (Stellar Classification) Using NRES to Validate and Characterize Exoplanets Found by TESS and Other Surveys (Stellar Classification) We propose to address two outstanding questions concerning exoplanets, both requiring large new datasets: (1) What is the exoplanet mass/period distribution, in particular for the poorly-represented ``Hot Neptune`` and ``Warm Jupiter`` populations, and (2) Why are the orbital axes of some planets so strongly inclined to the rotational axes of their parent stars? To do this, we will combine intensive observations with<br/>the new LCO- NRES spectrograph network with discovery data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS -- to be launched near the end of calendar 2017), and from existing space- and ground-based transiting planet discovery facilities.<br/><br/>Our proposed project will carry out all of LCO&#39;s observing commitments to the TESS mission, but will greatly extend the TESS sample in order to answer the above science questions, which are uniquely accessible to LCO-NRES. The project will run for 6 semesters, obtain repeated spectra of some 500 exoplanet host stars<br/>and use a total of 12,700 observing hours, about half of which will come from the LCO Key Project pool. Our main activities will be to bring NRES up to its full potential as a global observing system, to develop software tools to enhance its scientific productivity, to carry out and analyze the needed observations for our science program, and to publish our scientific and technical results promptly. 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 700
Tsapras Y Heidelberg University ROME/REA - A three-color window to planets beyond the snow-line ROME/REA - A three-color window to planets beyond the snow-line Current planet formation theories predict that planets with semi-major axes between 1-10 AU should be abundant, yet they lie beyond the detection limits of most planet finding techniques. To this day, this important region of planetary parameter space remains largely unexplored. Discovering them is critical in understanding the physical processes that drive planet formation. - We propose a 3-year gravitational microlensing Key Project to discover new exoplanets in the cold outer regions of planetary systems, including free-floating planets and, potentially, planets around stellar remnants. Previous microlensing programs were limited in their ability to characterize source stars and could not obtain uninterrupted 24/7 observational coverage. We propose a novel approach that combines a multi-wavelength survey with reactive follow-up observations, and which relies on the unique capabilities of the global Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) network and its newly deployed wider-field cameras. - We will achieve enhanced sensitivity to planets with smaller masses (less than 10 MEarth) by placing better constraints on the spectral type of the source stars and by employing software that optimizes light curve coverage during the most planet-sensitive sections of the microlensing event. We will thus be able to better constrain the physical properties of these new planets exclusively based on LCO data. 2017AB 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 600
Robertson P Penn State University High-Cadence Monitoring of the Sun's Coolest Neighbors High-Cadence Monitoring of the Sun's Coolest Neighbors In 2017, the new near-IR Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) spectrograph will begin surveying nearby mid-late M dwarfs for low-mass exoplanets. We propose to use the LCO network to acquire V- and i-band photometry of our HPF survey targets every night they are observable. These observations will facilitate the identification of rotation periods, magnetic cycles, and other activity phenomena, providing valuable insight into the magnetic fields of fully convective stars, and be crucial in the separation of Doppler exoplanet signals from activity-induced noise. Our targets are bright enough to be observed with any of the LCO telescopes, and distributed across the northern sky. Thus, our program takes maximal advantage of LCO`s flexibility, especially as the new northern and equatorial telescopes come online. 2017AB 2018A 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 100 1400
Edelson R University of Maryland LCO/Swift/multi-mission intensive accretion disk reverberation mapping of AGN LCO/Swift/multi-mission intensive accretion disk reverberation mapping of AGN Intensive Disk Reverberation Mapping of Active Galactic Nuclei (IDRM of AGN) uses high-cadence LCO/Swift monitoring to measure interband lags across the optical/UV/X-rays due to "light echoes" between the central X-ray source and the accretion disk and within the disk. The four IDRM campaigns analyzed to date indicate disk sizes ~3 times larger than expected and also show a puzzling disconnectedness with the X-rays. This poses severe problems for the standard thin disk reprocessing model. We propose simultaneous LCO monitoring of two AGN for which we have already-approved intensive Swift monitoring (Fairall 9 and Mrk 142) and a third that lies near enough to the ecliptic pole to get 351 days continuous TESS coverage (Mrk 876). These AGN all have higher or lower black hole masses and/or higher Eddington rates that any previously probed with IDRM, greatly increasing our source parameter space coverage. Ground-based monitoring is needed to expand the Swift coverage to longer wavelengths at higher S/N, probing the outer regions of the disk. Only LCO can reliably sample at the sub-daily rate required by this experiment. 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 52 82 845
Arcavi I LCOGT / UCSB Discovery and Follow-up of Optical Counterparts to Gravitational-Wave Events Discovery and Follow-up of Optical Counterparts to Gravitational-Wave Events The discovery of the first gravitational-wave signal from a neutron-star merger last year, followed by the first kilonova, initiated the era of gravitational-wave - electromagnetic-wave multi-messenger astronomy. Using LCO, we obtained some of the earliest and best-sampled optical to near-infrared observations of the rapidly-evolving kilonova (not possible with almost any other facility). This discovery provided a wealth of insights into many open issues in astrophysics, including the neutron-star equation of state, the source of heavy elements in the Universe, and the first "standard-siren" constraints on the Hubble constant. Yet many open questions remain, most of which can be tied to the nature of the early optical emission. Competing models can be distinguished only with very early observations for a sample of events. We propose a key project to obtain such observations for ~10 new kilonovae to be discovered during the next LIGO-Virgo observing run, and perhaps for the first optical counterpart to a neutron-star - black-hole merger. Our proposal for automatic ultra-rapid triggering of a galaxy-targeted search in the localization region following gravitational-wave events, and high-cadence followup of counterpart candidates, is based on a strategy that was highly successful during the previous event. The coming year presents us with the opportunity to go from a single source to the first sample of joint gravitational - electromagnetic wave events. LCO's unique robotic, global, and rapid-response capabilities are ideal for significantly advancing this exciting new field. 2018B 2019A 2019B 2020A 0 58 154 0