Arecibo Remote Command Center (ARCC)
The Arecibo Remote Command Center (ARCC) is a new model of education that uses radio astronomy to attract, train, and retain students into STEM fields. In 2006, ARCC brought the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope to South Texas - the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center’s Arecibo radio telescope. The idea was to attract local students into serious research by enabling them to play a role in Arecibo-related science. The ARCC students control many of the world’s major radio telescopes in addition to Arecibo including the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank radio telescope, the Long Wavelength Array, and the Effelsberg Radio Telescope.
For the first two years, all ARCC Scholars participate in radio pulsar surveys that involve going through massive amounts of data from throughout the galaxy gathered by the Arecibo and Green Bank radio telescopes. Students are responsible for the discovery of over 50 radio pulsars, including a double neutron star system, one of only 10 ever discovered. In their third year, ARCC Scholars work on their own research project supervised by one of the department faculty professors; at the same time, they graduate to “Team Leader” positions and mentor junior students. By their fourth year, they continue as team leaders and submit a thesis of their research work to the department. Upon graduation, the ARCC scholars pursue doctoral programs in physics, astronomy, or related STEM fields.
The ARCC program was developed at the university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and is one of the top ten programs in the nation to graduate Hispanic students with bachelor degrees in physics and underscores the profound effect research can have on the careers of students. The ARCC program is being replicated at other universities throughout the United States.
Making South Texas a leader in space exploration through research, innovation, education, and commercialization
- ARCC has proven effective in attracting and retaining young talent in physics and astronomy.
- The ARCC program by itself is one of the top 10 producers of Hispanic Physics Bachelors recipients in the US.
- ARCC students complete their degree in four years.
- ARCC is currently graduating five students per year.
- All ARCC students are going to graduate school.
- Thanks to funding from the DoD, ARCC students are building their own radio telescopes, the Low Frequency All Sky Monitor (LoFASM), based on technology developed for the Long Wavelength Array (LWA).