Motivating young high school graduates to have a taste for science through the Mexican Network of Radio Telescopes

Motivating young high school graduates to have a taste for science through the Mexican Network of Radio Telescopes

The students who will join will study the 2023 and 2024 eclipses that will appear in Mexico

Science-savvy youngsters – from the headquarters of National Prep (ENP) and College of the Sciences and Humanities (CCH) – will once again be observing the sun, Jupiter and the center of the galaxy, among other astronomical phenomena, David Lyons reports. Salinas, Academician at the United Nations University School of Science; and Alfonso Castillo Obrego, Coordinator of the Mexican Network of Radio Telescopes (RMR).

Educators and experts, who support RMR, will welcome a new generation of students, after monitoring work has been halted due to the health emergency, to teach them how to operate radio telescopes and learn about working with large space agencies such as NASA.

At the beginning of the school year, they explained in detail, students were invited to make use of their free time to learn astronomy and radioastronomy, as well as to provide organization or advice on mathematics and physics.

Now that schools can be entered, academics have maintained receivers, antennas, computers and, in some cases, telescopes, which during the pandemic have operated 24 hours a day, explained Leon Salinas.

The physics professor at ENP 7 also noted that since its inception in 2009, the network has grown and has permanent monitoring teams on campuses 9, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 2, CCH Vallejo, Naucalpan, Azcapotzalco and Sur, as well as the Faculty of Science. , Institute of Geophysics and Universum.

It also includes universities from Zacatecas, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Querétaro and Nuevo León, an entity that is proposed to create a governmental network similar to that of UNAM.

“With the outbreak of the pandemic, conditions have changed and now that the facilities are reopened, we are trying to reactivate and publish what the radio telescope is made of; temporary images have been taken of what a black hole is, the center of the Milky Way, and we intend to motivate students to research, research and see living science” , the teacher stuck in teaching.

The academic also added for graduate studies in the Faculty of Science that at this time cooperation with NASA was maintained, specifically with the JOVE radio telescope, which detects at 20.1 MHz and through which solar activity is observed, information that has been published on the Internet for public access.

Even before the pandemic, the RMR had 150 to 200 students on each campus; That is more than 1,200 in secondary schools, and nearly 1,000 in CCH schools have been added to it.

“National Prep is currently ready to revitalize this project and start working radio telescopes again, so that when students arrive they can adapt to the conditions we require and see that what they are learning is something real that other parts of the world are watching as well,” added Leon Salinas.

In turn, Alfonso Castillo Obrego, coordinator and founder of RMR, explained that a measure to maintain a network presence with students was the start of online conversations, starting in March 2020, to bring science back home. And to keep people safe from the epidemic. .

Project advisors Stanley Eugene Kurtz and Luis Felipe Rodriguez Jorge, of the Institute of Radioastronomy and Astrophysics at UNAM, supported this task; and Alejandro Lara Sanchez, of the Institute of Geophysics, among others.

He emphasized that “the first mover should be the teacher to motivate the students and collaborators, and this is the reason why we are working on it, to bring young people to new sciences and technologies.”

“We teach them diurnal astronomy which consists of observing the sun, moon, and Venus, and taking advantage of the 25th new solar cycle; we discover that it comes with a lot of activity, we observe whether our charts of radio waves and X-rays also detect it, and we take that evidence, and we consolidate it With the other radio telescopes of the Mexican Network of Radio Telescopes and see Castillo Obrego explained that solar and geophysical reporting on NASA will be insurance, and that’s how we cooperate with NASA.

The engineer added that those who join RMR will also have the opportunity to study the 2023 and 2024 eclipses that will be seen in Mexico.

The network’s work – which began as a small project at ENP 5, of which Castillo Obrego was a professor – opened the doors for the many young people today studying at the Faculty of Science. Likewise, training has made it possible for culturally upright people, that is, even if they no longer devote themselves to science, in the future they can be decision makers and what they have learned online will allow them to do better.

During the holiday period, network talks every Thursday will focus on the properties of the Sun and the radiation it emits, an introduction to radio astronomy, dealing with radio telescopes and how to make observations of the King’s star, with the aim of motivating students entering the high school level, teachers advance.

Additionally, for those who wish to work on these issues, but are not part of the RMR, the academics have made available a guide where practical activities are suggested online, with theoretical and empirical information ranging from studying basic principles to how to assemble a radio telescope. It can be downloaded from:

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