Location: Mason theatre, ground floor
Zoom link: https://macquarie.zoom.us/j/82321436522
Slack channel: #asa2023-facilities-surveys-outreach
Chair: Kirsten Banks, Co-Chair: Ben Montet
2:30pm: SkyMapper Southern Survey - Data Release 4 - Christopher Onken†, ANU
We present the fourth data release from the SkyMapper Southern Survey (SMSS). Covering the full Southern hemisphere in 6 optical filters, with half a million images acquired over more than 7 years, DR4 increases the survey's area of deep sky coverage and improves its photometric quality by calibrating to synthetic photometry from Gaia's low-resolution spectra. SMSS DR4 is being made available to astronomers worldwide to support research stretching from Solar System objects to high-redshift quasars. We will describe the enhancements in DR4 and demonstrate the data access tools of the SkyMapper node of the All-Sky Virtual Observatory.
2:45pm: The Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey - Stefan Duchesne†, CSIRO
Surveys of the sky at myriad wavelengths provide a view into the large-scale properties of the Universe while also allowing studies of individual and sometimes unique astrophysical objects and processes. The Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) is completing a series of shallow radio-frequency surveys as part of the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey” (RACS). RACS covers three radio-frequency bands centered on 888, 1367, and 1632 MHz and covers the whole sky up to declination +48 degrees. RACS provides a combination of frequency, sensitivity (~ 150-300 micro Jansky/beam), and resolution (~8-15 arcsec) that fills a niche in the existing ecosystem of all-sky surveys. Imaging and catalogue releases are underway and focus on the continuum total intensity and circularly polarized emission of the sky accessible to ASKAP, featuring >3M radio sources in each of the three bands. As well as this continuum component, spectro-polarimetric work in linear polarization is also underway. On behalf of the team behind RACS, I will describe the surveys, highlight a selection of science results so far, and report on the progress of RACS.
3:00pm: SDSS-V: The fifth generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey - Andrew Casey, Monash University
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is one of the most successful astrophysics experiments, with nearly 20 public data releases made over 23 years. The fifth generation of SDSS is now acquiring multi-epoch optical and infrared spectroscopy across the entire sky, as well as contiguous integral-field unit spectroscopy of the Milky Way and local volume galaxies. These data address the three mapper programs of SDSS-V: (1) the Black Hole Mapper will explore the growth of black holes in the universe; (2) the Milky Way Mapper will comprehensively map stars and dust in our galaxy's disk, and (3); the Local Volume Mapper will contiguously map the local bubble with integral-field unit spectra. This data volume will exceed previous generations of SDSS by orders of magnitude, and is only realisable with new telescopes, new fibre-fed positioning systems, and new approaches to data analysis and calibration. The science goals of SDSS-V -- and the technologies used to achieve them -- have strong overlap with Australian astronomy, and there are opportunities for Australia to continue to make key contributions. In this talk I will present a first look at the new scientific discoveries of SDSS-V, as well as the telescopes, instruments, and software that underpins that science.
3:15pm: Balancing the Equation: Representation of Scientists in High School Physics - Kathryn Ross, Curtin Uni./ICRAR
The visibility of female role models in science is vital for engaging and retaining women in scientific fields. Unfortunately, for many minorities in STEM, there is a lack of accessible and relatable role models, especially at critical career stages where students are considering potential career paths. In this talk, we present the results of a comprehensive content analysis of year 11 and year 12 Physics courses around Australia and the biased representation of scientists within them. In particular, this talk will discuss the problematic narrative of the “lone-male-genius” and the Eurocentric focus of all content and their implications for gender diverse and minority students. Lastly, this talk will outline possible solutions to address this issue, including the accreditation of scientific discoveries to include female scientists and explicit discussion of structural barriers preventing the participation and progression of women in STEM and the role research institutes and higher education will need to have in addressing these complex issues.
3:30pm: Motivating students in an online astronomy course - Kate Jackson, UNSW
Student motivation is a perennial problem in all stages of education. Most students find astronomy a fascinating and intriguing topic, but even in tertiary astronomy courses, it can be a struggle to maintain student motivation. Students are typically extrinsically motivated, often by grades and other rewards systems, but extensive research shows that intrinsic motivation leads to more positive outcomes, such as a growth mindset, better grades, lower academic misconduct, and more fulfilment in goals and achievements. To reduce instances of academic dishonesty, students must be intrinsically motivated to learn, which can be fostered through increasing students' feelings of competence and autonomy (i.e., by allowing greater freedom of choice and creativity). Using imagery has also been shown to increase non-science students’ motivations and understanding of scientific concepts. By designing courses and assessments that use imagery, give students choice, and allow for creativity, students’ intrinsic motivation should increase. This presentation focuses on the approach and development of the learning activities in a wholly online introductory astronomy course and highlights simple evidence-based techniques that improve students’ intrinsic motivation.
3:45pm: SciX: Scalable and sustainable authentic research experiences for high-school students - Laura McKemmish, UNSW
In NSW, the new Yr 12 HSC Science Extension course recommends students find university mentorship to support their individual research projects. The SciX high-school outreach program (unsw.to/scix) has been developed and refined to meet this demand in an equitable, sustainable, scalable, effective and quality-controlled way. SciX centres around an intensive one-week authentic research experience with online pre-work and post-summer-school Q&A sessions. High school students select a research area, such as astronomy or spectroscopy, and are placed in small groups led by SciX mentors, usually paid PhD candidates. Students are taught disciplinary research topics and tools then supported to develop their individual hypothesis and conduct their research. Surveys show students not only love the experience, but strongly increase their self-identification as a scientist and develop crucial transferable and scientific skills. Mentors develop important professional skills, e.g. in supervising, mentoring, teaching and management. Careful project design and program structure are crucial for delivering a high-quality, scalable experience with modest resources. As inspiration for how you might deliver short enriching research experiences for high-school or undergraduate students, I will describe how SciX has addressed key challenges to scale to more than 150 students (63% female) with 40% fee-waivers for low-SES and regional students."
Poster sparklers in this session:
P83: James Tocknell, AAO Macquarie
P85: Vanessa Moss, CSIRO
P88: Nian Jiang, Astralis
P89: Chris Lidman, ANU