NRAO and Partners Select 2015 Class for ‘Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program’

A collation of leading U.S. astronomy organizations and observatories has selected its first class of educators who will travel to Chile as part of the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program (ACEAP).

Chosen from a pool of more than 50 applicants, this inaugural group of nine amateur astronomers, planetarium personnel, and astronomy educators will tour and learn about the major U.S.-funded astronomy facilities in Chile.

While there, each ACEAP Ambassador will receive an in-depth, behind-the-scenes learning experience on the instruments, science, and research coming out of some of the world’s most productive and advanced astronomy observatories. In addition, participants will learn essential communication skills to help share these exciting experiences with others.

The Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program is a collaborative project of Associated Universities, Inc., the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, and Gemini Observatory. It is supported by the National Science Foundation.

The United States operates and supports leading astronomy research facilities in Chile and new facilities already underway. These observatories, which take advantage of the superb observing conditions in Chile, are helping to reshape our understanding of the cosmos.

Each ambassador selected for this new program has already demonstrated a passion for astronomy and remarkable skills at sharing this passion with others in formal and informal educational settings.

The inaugural trip is scheduled for June 20-29, 2015. The nine-day expedition will include stops at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Gemini South Observatory, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

“The way astronomy is done has changed significantly over the past 50 years. ACEAP will help learners of all ages understand the current practice, and the significant investment the United States is making in remote parts of the world to unlock the secrets of the universe,” said Tim Spuck, principal investigator for the ACEAP project and education officer for Associated Universities, Inc. “Each ambassador has demonstrated exceptional dedication to science outreach and will be able to take this experience and multiply its impact by sharing it with others.”

Participants will also experience Chilean culture and society, as well as the astrotourism industry that has emerged in Chile. In addition to the professional facilities, ACEAP Ambassadors will visit smaller amateur-public observatories.

ACEAP takes a shared-cost approach so the majority of the cost for each ambassador is covered by the NSF grant. Airfare, however, is the responsibility of each ambassador.

The full list of ambassadors and the rest of the ACEAP team is listed here:

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

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Contacts: Charles Blue
NRAO Public Information Officer
Charlottesville, Virginia
Tel: (434) 296-0314

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