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The NEON (Network of European Observatories in the North) astronomical observing school


The active observatories within the NEON consortium ( Asiago, Calar Alto, Haute-Provence and LaPalma Observatories) are proposing, together with ESO (European Southern Observatory), to increase the efficiency of astronomical observations, by providing trai ning directly at the telescope for young researchers or PhD students with little or no previous observational experience. This is done by proposing real observing programs, to be executed in small groups, under the supervision of experienced observers (tut ors), and conducted from the initial definition of the program (including instrument needs and set-up), through the observations themselves, the data reduction, and the final presentation of the scientific results. The fundamentals are presented in lect ures given by experts in the field. The schools are held successively, and in turn, in each of the participating observatories, allowing fruitful exchanges of experience, leading to improved observing techniques and possibly coordinated software developmen ts. In addition to schools directly at the telescope, it will also propose shorter events, with all the technical training, but based on the use of archival data.The participation of young researchers from various European countries will lead, as shown by past experience, to many collaborative projects in the future. It will prepare them to successful applications to, and efficient use of, the forefront instruments like the VLT or space observatories. This is particularly important for scientists from th e accessing countries (or the NIS), which generally do not have direct access to high-level observing facilities.

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