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Development of the Virgin Islands Center for Space Science at Etelman Observatory: Research, Education, and Economic Development Through Promotion of NASA’s Vision University of the Virgin Islands/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Science Mission Directorate Carina Nebula

One main goal of this grant-funded program is to increase the Etelman Observatory at the University of the Virgin Islands’ science capacity in astrophysics. The Etelman Observatory tripled its staff of full-time, professional astronomers by hiring its first resident scientist and negotiating a sabbatical position for another. We’ve developed and strengthened ties with other astrophysics research organizations. Two UVI undergraduates participated in the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Summer Intern Program last year; at least several more will have done so by this summer’s end. The Etelman Observatory is now part of several NASA-related research efforts, including the KELT-SOUTH monitoring program. Its researchers have submitted publications on NASA’s GRB and Swift missions for peer review and plan to present EPSCoR-grant findings at the next AAS meeting. One UVI-GSFC summer intern authored an Astronomer’s Telegram detailing the high-energy properties of the Eta Carinae system during its recent periastron period. The goal of financial sustainability is closer due to a 67+% increase in business and public donations. We also continue seeking support from other NASA and nonNASA grant entities to grow UVI’s physics and astronomy course offerings. A fouryear degree in physics and astronomy would keep two-year associates from leaving for mainland partner schools to complete their work; it would also keep junior- and senior-class researchers at the Etelman Observatory. A new high-school intern program allows “next-gen” astronomers to work with the science PI on a focused research project. Finally, more than 1,000 guests visited the Observatory last year for lectures, exhibits and/or sky viewing. Thanks to the support of this NASA EPSCoR grant, we are excited by the potential for continued growth in the coming year.

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NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014 -15

Dr. David Morris, Science PI, University of the Virgin Islands

Dr. J. Hakkila, Co-PI, College of Charleston

Dr. Chryssa Kouveliotou, PhD, NASA Technical Monitor, Marshall Space Flight Center

EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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