by India Westbrook

University of West Georgia’s Assistant Professor of Physics Dr. Nicholas Sterling recently received a $8,900 grant from NASA through the Georgia Space Grant Consortium. The grant will be used to purchase new equipment for UWG’s Observatory, such as a high-resolution spectrometer for solar observations and a webcam that will be used to display the Sun's spectrum and images.

Dr. Bobby Powell, Dr. Nick Sterling, and Ben Jenkins stand together in the UWG observatory in dim lighting, looking skyward
Left to right: Dr. Bobby Powell, Dr. Nick Sterling, and Ben Jenkins

This equipment will be used at the university for Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) events, such as the Coweta County STEAM Expo and K-12 visits. Dr. Sterling and his co-principal investigators, Ben Jenkins and Dr. Bobby Powell, will use this equipment to further their community outreach programs targeting K-12 and STEM interest groups.

“UWG is a regional leader in K-12 astronomy education and public outreach, reaching 1,500-2,000 students and members of the public annually,” Sterling said. “This grant will allow us to significantly enhance our education and outreach efforts.”

Sterling will be purchasing several other pieces of equipment, including a telescope for off-campus night observations, items for spectroscopy demonstrations at daytime school visits and 10,000 solar eclipse glasses for safe viewing of the Sun.

Another major equipment purchase for UWG’s Observatory is an all-sky camera.

“We will use this camera to teach students and the public about light pollution and its effects on local ecological systems,” Sterling said. “This camera can also be used for student research, such as meteor counts and weather conditions in Carrollton.”

Sterling says he is thrilled about receiving this grant and is excited to use this new equipment to educate UWG students, local schools and members of the Carrollton community.

(photo by Amber Kelley)

Posted on September 13, 2016