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Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education Conference (RTSRE)

Hilo, Hawai'i, USA. 23rd to 25th of July. 2018


The International Astronomy Teaching Summit (iNATS)
Hilo, Hawai'i, USA. 25th to 27th of July. 2018


It is our great pleasure to thank you for attending the co-located Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education Conference (RTSRE) and the International Astronomy Teaching Summit (iNATS) held in Hilo, Hawaii in July 2018.

Conference Photo
A photo taken on the Wednesday of the physically present attendees of RTSRE and iNATS!

Photographer: Zal Kanga-Parabia
Message from RTSRE Chair
On behalf of the Organizing Committee of RTSRE, myself, Rachel Freed, Sophie Bartlett and Stella Kafka, I would like to thank all of the attendees, presenters, sponsors, workshop facilitators and friends of RTSRE 2018 and our co-located conference partner, iNATS! It was largely due to the quick but careful and strategic thinking on the part of the local iNATS organising team that the numerous volcanically induced changes to the format and location of the conference that the two conferences continued to run mostly smoothly! The cascade of changes that stemmed and flowed from the venue change were numerous but fluidly dealt with by the local iNATS and broader RTSRE teams. For the RTSRE team, aside from my obviously brilliant Organizing Commitee fellow team members, Rachel, Sophie and Stella, thanks also need to go to the AV team (Alexander Beltzer-Sweeney and Zal Kanga-Parabia), Website and Graphic Design whiz (amongst many other things!) Saeed Salimpour and managing editor of the RTSRE proceedings, Stephen White. All members of the RTSRE team took on responsibilities beyond their original brief and were key to making the conference flow.
The conference certainly would not be possible at all without the generosity of our sponsors! Please navigate to lower in this email to see each of the sponsors' banners and links to their websites. If you can, please pay forward their contribution to the RTSRE/iNATS community by making yourself aware of their products and services and passing on their information to people you know whom might be interested.

The conference population statistics are as follows: The attendees numbers for both conference were roughly around 100 (not including roughly 20-30 family and friends of the official attendees). This is, despite the greater cost and distance, roughly the size of the previous RTSRE which is very encouraging! The conference had 39% female attendees registered. For RTSRE, there were 10 female session chairs and 6 male session chairs. Including keynotes, females presented 18 times and males presented 28 times at RTSRE, this is not a selection effect on the organizing committee side, all requested talks were given slots. Across RTSRE and iNATS, there were 4 female keynotes and 4 male keynotes.

The RTSRE conference is a continually developing event and we would like to improve year-in and year-out. For this we have a very open-ended survey to record any suggestions or thoughts you might have had about the 2018 conference (and also 2017 if you were there!). It is not easy to keep track of perceptions from the audience and run the event at the same time, so your anonymous (or not anonymous if you like) feedback will be very useful to improve the conference for next year! The link to the survey is here:

Most of the conference was recorded. These videos will be produced over time as the volunteer crew move through the recordings and polish them up. The speaker will be asked permission before they will be uploaded online. This will happen over the course of the next couple of months. If you would like your video quickly for some purpose, please let us know and we will shuffle your video to the top!

Please paste some photos to the RTSRE facebook page ( at your leisure and tweeting ( is always welcome :) There will be one more mailout in about two weeks with some more post-conference information, but then we will keep your inbox clear until we have major announcements ready for 2019.

Don't hestitate to get in contact ( if you have any questions or suggestions,

Many thanks once again to all attendees and organisers of RTSRE and iNATS in Hawaii 2018! We hope to see you into 2019 (see below :) ),

Michael Fitzgerald
Melbourne, Australia
(9th, 10th, 11th December 2019)
Standing basically anywhere around the harbour in Sydney, Australia, your eyes will melt and water with the beauty of the city and the year-round lovely (some would say boring, but optimal) climate. Connoisseurs of Coffee, Food, Culture and Art, those who appreciate *ahem* varied weather conditions as well as The Economist (who have named it the world's most livable city seven years in a row) would tell you (despite some objections by some Texans we may know and love) that Melbourne is the pick of the cities in Australia.
A City for People, A Creative City, A Knowledge City, A City with an Aboriginal Focus.
We are proud to announce Melbourne as the location of the next RTSRE in December (9th, 10th, 11th) 2019. More details will be provided as the year rolls along. The dates were chosen, with feedback from many RTSRE attendees, to fit both Northern and Southern Hemisphere university and high school holiday periods whilst staying as clear as possible of the various religious and family related holidays towards the end of that month. These are the dates of the core conference, but we do intend to have an extensive social and co-located conference program both before and after these dates.

While the 11.5 hour, 986 kilometre direct non-stop drive from Melbourne to Siding Spring Observatory may help you to redefine your definition of 'remote', it is not too far from Sydney (only 6 hours and 510 kilometres) and is relatively close(*) to other major astronomical facilities such as Parkes, Mt Stromlo and Narrabri. We will be providing a number of options for official RTSRE tours (with both flying and driving recommendations) to these facilities, obviously not during the actual conference. There will not be a quick trip up from 0 to 14,000 feet like Mauna Kea in 2018! Another must see, if possible in your trip, is the Red Center of Australia around Alice Springs, in particular Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, about 2500 kms away. You could drive, but in this instance it would be better to fly then drive!

(* close in an Australian sense... a few hours and a few hundred kilometres.)
A Day in Melbourne.
December is a wonderful time to visit Australia*. Rather than being an entirely sunburnt country, most of the major cities are only just starting to get a tan after the spring rains with temperatures being quite warm with the usual peak temperature range of 21C-30C or 70-85F. Although it is entirely possible to push towards occasional days of 30-40C or 85-105F in later December, this is relatively rare at the beginning. January and February are great months to cook eggs using the sun's heat alone, where high temperatures become much more frequent and sustained, although this is a great time to visit the more temperate oceanic state of Tasmania without having to rug up too much.

If you are considering attending RTSRE from the Northern Hemisphere, perhaps you could consider an extended trip with family, friends or by yourself. Do not hesitate to email and ask some advice! Seeing New Years Eve in first (**) with one million people on Sydney Harbour or perhaps a traditional Australian Christmas BBQ (as presented below***) might be a nice change from shivering in the snow!

(* This is rather a blanket statement for a country the size of the United States that stretches from the tropics halfway to Antarctica, but true enough for the major cities.)

(** Aside from New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, New Caledonia and some parts of Eastern Siberia of course)

(*** Vegetarian Options Definitely Available.)
A Traditional Australian Christmas BBQ
Proceedings Update
The Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education (RTSRE) Conference proceedings series focusses on the publication of proceedings articles stemming from the annual Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education Conference Series ( If your topic was accepted as a talk, workshop, panel or poster, then the topic is acceptable to be submitted to the proceedings. We expect submitted articles to be written following high quality academic guidelines common to our field. RTSRE Proceedings articles are not simple outlines of conference participation but rather scholarly articles in their own right.

Article submission for the 2018 RTSRE Conference Proceedings are open. These proceedings will also accept articles from the co-located iNATS conference as well. The deadline for proceedings articles is the 14th of September 2018

The main Author Guidelines page is here. It includes screencasts on how to submit your article as well as how to use TeX/Overleaf (although submitting a Word document is equally fine if you want to go that route). If you are not sure what your article should look like (considering most 2017 articles are not online yet), please contact and we will send you some samples.

Last year we received many high quality articles across the RTSRE spectrum. At this point, all articles have been double-peer reviewed with author revisions received, 17 are ready for production and 17 are waiting final author proofs. So 34 articles in total. This issue will likely officially appear in September, although some authors have already started uploading to arxiv (e.g., and
Las Cumbres Observatory
Call for Education Partners for 2019
Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) is pleased to announce that we are accepting applications for new education partners. We are seeking applications for organized and structured astronomy-education programs with well-defined target audiences. Education partners will observe astronomical phenomena with LCO telescopes and use the data as part of their educational activities.
We are looking for interesting, engaging, and innovative ideas for astronomy education or outreach projects that make use of LCO's unique capabilities, including our global network of telescopes and scheduling software. Projects that involve monitoring of astronomical events or following up on recent astronomical discoveries are particularly suitable.

Essential information:
  • We are offering a total of 1,000 hours of observing time on the LCO 0.4-meter telescope network for use between 1 December 2018 and 1 December 2019 for all projects;
  • We are offering this time only for educational projects as part of organized programs, not to individuals;
  • A full proposal application needs to be submitted and will be reviewed by a panel of experts;
  • Proposal deadline is 1 September 2018.
For full information about this call, eligibility criteria, and how to apply, please visit the LCO website:

Exclusively for RTSRE, we are providing trial access to our observing portal:

username: edudemo
password: rtsre2018

There is an observing 'cheat sheet' available here:

If you requested your observations at RTSRE, then you can log in to the portal and explore and download your requests.

For further queries on either the Education Partner program or the observing portal, please email Edward Gomez: 
Art Recap and Further Connection
This year at RTSRE, we trialled having an Arts-focussed section to the proceedings. Many thanks to Michael Gleave, Zal Kanga-Parabia and Saeed Salimpour for providing an Arts and Arts Education perspective on astronomy and astronomy education. Given the feedback received so far, it is certainly something we will again be scheduling for upcoming RTSRE conferences!

Michaela and Zal welcome contact into the future about anything creative or artist driven you have in mind. If that is collaborations or questions we are very excited to help! 

Please feel free to contact at:
Michaela Gleave: |
Zal Kanga-Parabia: |
Thanks to our Sponsors!
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