CosmoQuest@SIUE Hosting Hangout-a-Thon Fundraiser June 15-16 Tune in to Support Science Education & Research

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CosmoQuest Virtual Research Facility (CosmoQuest.org) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is hosting a telethon with a twist using Google Hangout on Air from June 15-16.

“We know one team and one telethon can't fix everything, but we hope this event can raise awareness, while protecting one small corner of astronomy research and education.” Nicole Gugliucci, SIUE postdoctoral fellow.

Faced with governmental funding cuts to science education and research, the CosmoQuest Virtual Research Facility (CosmoQuest.org) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has decided to host a telethon with a twist using Google Hangout on Air from June 15-16.

Google Hangout on Air is a live web based format used to communicate in real time. The group will focus on raising money to support public engagement in science. The Hangout-a-thon will begin at 11 a.m. (CT) June 15 and extend through June 16. The event is being hosted by Drs. Pamela Gay and Nicole Gugliucci of the SIUE STEM Center.

The weekend will be filled with numerous guests, including scientists who will perform science demonstrations, artists and musicians who connect to science in innovative ways, and researchers who will discuss citizen science. Each segment will be featured as a stand-alone YouTube video on AstrosphereVids channel following airing. This will create a library of content, while raising money for future programs, said Gay, an SIUE research assistant professor and CosmoQuest’s co-designer.

Gay and Universe Today Publisher Fraser Cain came up with the design concept for the widely popular CosmoQuest virtual research facility. The virtual research facility is a place where everyday people can participate in modern research, while enjoying the same facilities (in virtual form) that professional researchers have at top universities. It was launched under the technological leadership of SIUE STEM Center lead programmer Cory Lehan.

The facility supports online citizen science programs, weekly seminars, virtual star parties, and educational programs for both kids and adults. According to Alexa.com, a web tracking service, CosmoQuest.org is the most trafficked astronomy related citizen science site on the internet.

Confirmed guests are being announced at http://CosmoQuest.org/blog /2013/06/24-hour-hangout-a-thon. Individuals can follow the event’s planning on Google+ at http://bit.ly/15ynxKr

“Planning for the hangout-a-thon was triggered by the cuts created by sequestration, and by the current plans to transition education out of NASA,” Gay said.

She continued, “CosmoQuest is working to raise the funds needed to keep its programs going and to build new citizen science programs for researchers that won’t otherwise have the means to accomplish their projects. With adequate funding, the group will be able to contract extraordinary people laid off by other institutions so they can keep doing great things through CosmoQuest.”

“CosmoQuest wants to make sure astronomy education survives and remains strong,” said Gugliucci, an SIUE postdoctoral fellow. “We know one team and one telethon can't fix everything, but we hope this event can raise awareness, while protecting one small corner of astronomy research and education.”

For more information, contact Gay, (618) 307-6546.

Editors: Please note the new link through Google + to access planning information for the weekend event. A link to this feature is available on the SIUE news site:
http://www.siue.edu/news/current.shtml#CosmoQuestSIUEHostingHangoutaThonFundraiserJune1516TuneintoSupportScienceEducationampResearch

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Bethany Behrhorst
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
618-401-1691
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