The SPIRIT Telescope initiative: Engaging students in contemporary astronomy
Now in its seventh year, the SPIRIT initiative remains unique in Australia as a robust web-enabled robotic telescope program funded for education and research. With multiple modes of operation including real time control, SPIRIT provides free access to contemporary astronomical tools for students and educators in Western Australia and beyond. The internet enabled telescope solution itself has proven an excellent model for low cost robotic telescope deployments, and the supporting education program has evolved over time to include a broad range of student engagement activities as well as opportunities to undertake authentic science. This paper summarises the technical solution and education program, and also examines the results from a recent Girls in STEM program of activities.