Pinhead: Young Astronomers To Join National Youth Summit

Two students from Telluride’s Pinhead Institute will visit Washington, D.C. this week at the invitation of the Smithsonian Institution as it hosts a National Youth Summit and public program for past participants of its Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos (YCCC) astrophotography program.



Mylo Meyers Ornowski and Sarah Markley, accompanied by their parents and Pinhead Institute Executive Director Sarah Holbrooke, will represent the local, K-12 STEM education non-profit among 13 Smithsonian Affliliate organizations from across the nation. Each affiliate used the YCCC online portal this past year to control real robotic telescopes located at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory sites in Cambridge, Mass., and Amado, Ariz.

Using the same tools, technologies, and techniques as professional astronomers, over 500 students observed planets, stars, and galaxies; analyzed and enhanced their astronomical images with scientific software. They even designed their own robotic telescope components while capturing over 1,000 celestial images.

While in D.C., the Pinhead students will join other youth astronomers in sharing with the public the multi-disciplinary knowledge they have gained from YCCC.

On February 22, the students will host a poster presentation at the National Air and Space Museum, featuring the astronomical images they have captured and processed. The presentation will be followed by a live session, How to Control a Telescope & Create a Colorful Cosmic Image, from youth participants.

“These kids have worked awfully hard to learn how to order up and manipulate images of far away celestial objects. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to show off the wide world of the Smithsonian, and equally delighted to have our students present their findings to the visitors at the National Air and Space Museum – how cool will that be, to have two Pinheads lecturing at Air and Space?” said Holbrooke.

The Youth Summit also includes events to broaden the students’ understanding of science, technology, and innovation, including programming at the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History.

On February 23, select participants will join a forum of Smithsonian educators to learn about their love of space and discover how technology can enhance access to Smithsonian learning experiences.

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos is supported by the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Access Grants program managed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access. The program is a product of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations, and includes participation in YouthAstroNet, a digital network of youth interested in astronomy funded by the National Science Foundation.

More about Pinhead:

The Pinhead Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Affiliate based in Telluride, Colorado that educates and inspires children and adults in the greater Telluride region about the wonders of science and technology through engaging programs, direct interaction with scientists, and unique research-centered internship experiences.

To learn more visit: or call 970-369-5190.

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