Outreach Programs

Education and Public Outreach Summary

Douglass R. Hayes, Jr. and Rebecca Hayes The staff of the Winer Observatory believes that education and research are each meaningless without the other. We must teach the next generation what we know, and do research so we have more to teach. We also believe in giving back to the community in which we operate our observatory, to the community that supports our operations by observing light pollution ordinances and by other actions.

The Winer public outreach program, which was funded by a generous donation by Douglass R. Hayes, Jr. and Rebecca Hayes (seen in the photo at top left) in 1999, currently consists of the following:


The following tables represent support of varying educational levels by the Winer Observatory. Each table lists academic degrees or other achievements obtained using data from telescopes located at the Winer Observatory Sonoita Facility. Furthermore, countless students have used the 20-inch and 14.5-inch telescopes placed here by the University of Iowa in their undergraduate astronomy laboratory courses. A list of refereed publications resulting from the telescopes at our facility is given under the Science section of this Web site.

Doctoral Degrees

Date Student Advisor University Thesis Title
6/2007 Joshua Pepper Richard Pogge Ohio State KELT: The Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope
6/2011 Jason Eastman Scott Gaudi Ohio State DEMONEX: The DEdicated MONitor of EXotransits

Masters Degrees

Date Student Advisor University Thesis Title
6/2000 Allen Rogel Robert Mutel Univ. of Iowa A Search for Supernovae in Nearby Late-Type Spiral Galaxies
12/2003 Michael Wilson Robert Mutel Univ. of Iowa A Photometric Search for Extrasolar Planets Around White Dwarfs

High School Science Fairs

Date Student School Town Project Title
5/2000 Mario Gonzales Our Lady of Lourdes H.S. Nogales, AZ Stellar Evolution

REU Student

During the summer of 2011, Winer Director Mark Trueblood and observing colleague Robert Crawford mentored a student as part of NOAO's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program, funded by the National Science Foundation. Our student, Morgan Rehnberg of Beloit College in southern Wisconsin, began with an existing IDL tool, ATV, that displays an image and performs some rudimentary photometry. Morgan developed from ATV a new IDL tool called PhAst (Photometry and Astrometry) that measures both the brightnesses (photometry) and the positions (astrometry) of objects in CCD images. Morgan used existing routines SExtractor, SCAMP, and missFITS to generate his new tool. More information can be found regarding our observations of Near Earth Asteroid 2008QT3.

Project ASTRO

Project ASTRO (Astronomers and Teachers as Partners in the Classroom) is promoted by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific with funding assistance from the National Science Foundation. In Tucson, Project ASTRO is led by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (the US national observatory that operates Kitt Peak National Observatory). Winer's Project ASTRO history is given in the table below. In the Project ASTRO program, the astronomer and teacher attend a one- to two-day training course to become familiar with the goals and techniques of the program. The astronomer then visits the classroom about four to six times a year to explain what astronomers do, and to give lectures and demonstrations that supplement and augment what the teachers can do with their materials. Click on the picture of the "figure-8" (analemma) above to learn more about this "sundial" that was painted on the sidewalk of the Elgin Elementary School by Lori Barille's Fourth Grade class in 1997.

School School Year Teacher Grade(s)
Elgin ES 1995 - 1996 Lori Barille 4th
Elgin ES 1996 - 1997 Lori Barille 4th
Elgin ES 1997 - 1998 Beth Wilkerson 4th
Elgin ES 1999 - 2000 Susan Sacco 6th, 7th, 8th
Elgin ES 2000 - 2001 Susan Sacco 6th, 7th, 8th
Patagonia ES Spring 2005 Patty Cooper 3rd

Local Astronomy Clubs

The astronomy club in Sonoita consisted for a few years of about a dozen interested adults. The Winer director assisted the club president in finding speakers, and often gave the monthly talk himself. Lecture topics have included demonstrations of the phases of the moon, building a comet, a slide presentation on the planets of the solar system, the life and death of stars, and the organization of matter and energy in the universe.

Our Director is a member of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association. He has lectured at the monthly meeting of this group. He also supports many group activities.

Invited Talks

The Winer Director, Mark Trueblood, gave the following invited talks, among others:

Science Fair Projects

During the Spring of 2000, our Director spent a few weekends instructing Mario Gonzalez, then a high school student in Nogales, AZ, in astronomy. Mario was assembling a science fair project on stellar evolution, and needed help in understanding the processes involved, and data for the project. Using the University of Iowa IRO telescope, images of M67, an open star cluster, were obtained in Johnson B, V, R, and I bands and the software provided with the ocaas telescope control system from Clear Sky Institute was used to generate a color-magnitude diagram for the cluster that clearly showed the giant branch turnoff from the main sequence. From this, Mario was able to estimate the age of the cluster and to describe the evolution of the various stars within the cluster. He obtained an A on his project, and in the Fall of 2000, entered the University of Arizona declaring a major in Astronomy.

Promoting Good Outdoor Lighting

Our Director has been a member of the International Dark-sky Association (IDA) since its founding in 1988, and in 2000 received an award from its Executive Director for his efforts to promote good outdoor lighting in Sonoita.

Page last updated on: December 6, 2013