Gee-Whiz Astronomy Modeling is an international, interscholastic group started by UC Berkeley astrophysicist Carlton Pennypacker, a founding member of the Global Hands of Universe (G-HOU), who in 2020 together with teachers and school-level students from the United States United States, New Zealand, a middle eastern nation, and Chile decide to form an online research group in school astronomy.
In order to extend the experience, the Physics and Mathematics professor, Elizabeth Villanueva, with the support and backing of G-HOU, has been coordinating the Gee-Whiz Astronomy Modeling – Chile group since April 2021. This is a free annual online workshop for teachers and students from all over Chile who want to learn about how astronomical images are analyzed. Students learn about astronomy while acquiring skills in using SalsaJ photometry software.
The project has hours of remote observation at the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) through cooperation with educational projects. The images obtained in LCO have been used by two students belonging to the program to replicate the exoplanet transit technique, participating in the 2021 Chilean School Astronomical Congress, obtaining second place in the High School category.
Based on the experience of the year 2021, the workshop has been reformulated in 4 stages in order to guide students from the basic knowledge of astronomical image analysis, requests for images in LCO and the conduct of future research in school astronomy, obtaining the participation of 8 Chilean schools by the year 2022.