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Excellence in Education

Education is at the core of Las Cumbres Observatory’s mission. In addition to our comprehensive collection of educational resources, our flagship education program is the “Global Sky Partners”.

Launched in 2017, Global Sky Partners has the goal of inspiring students around the world to engage with science using our unique telescope network in structured, supported educational projects. Particularly, we aim to engage with under-represented communities, those in the developing world, and audiences who would not otherwise have such an opportunity.

Global Sky Partner Projects

The Global Sky Partners are a diverse group of educators and scientists who run fully-supported education projects and investigations using LCO’s education network of 0.4m telescopes. These partner programs offer diverse projects to equally diverse audiences around the world. Teacher training, inspirational first steps in astronomy, student workshops, publication quality scientific research by students, and citizen science are just some of the areas they address.

Below are three 2023 partner projects which encapsulate the innovation and diversity of the Global Sky Partners. For a complete list of the partners see our dedicated Global Sky Partners pages.

Camp Cosmos

Boyce Research Initiatives and Education Foundation (BRIEF) provides research opportunities to students to enhance their educational experience and introduce them to the scientific and technical communities. BRIEF is providing, as its primary education mission, hands-on astronomy research experiences using robotic telescopes for students of all ages that result in their publishing peer-reviewed papers.

Our Solar Siblings provides a fully provisioned, off the shelf, curriculum for secondary teachers teaching astronomy. It provides guidance and support for larger student and teacher research projects and it produces tools and provides mentoring and curriculum materials using robotic telescopes.

Imagens de Céu Profundo aims to train 1000 teachers from all Brazil's 26 states. In particular they engage with teachers without prior astronomy knowledge, providing an introduction to astronomy through observing campaigns with LCO. These teachers and students have won prizes at science fairs and the Astronomical Olympiad of Brazil.

Formosa High School, Brazil member of the Imagens Ceu Profundo partner

Awards and recognition

In 2022-2023 the total reach of the Global Sky Partners program was approximately 58,000 individuals - 15,000 through direct contact, and an additional ~43,000 students indirectly impacted. There are many inspirational works produced by the partner programs, including musical compositions based on astronomical data, 3D printed astronomical images for blind and visually impaired people, talks at professional conferences by high school students, and 110+ publications in peer-reviewed journals by high school students.

In 2020, the Global Sky Partners program was granted funding by the Simons Foundation for a period of 3 years. This vital support allows us to continue to provide the Global Sky Partners with staff and telescope resources at no cost to them. Further support was added in 2021 by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation providing extra support and to upgrade the existing hardware.

In 2021 Global Sky Partners was added to the HundrED Foundation’s Global Collection. This recognition is an annual collection of 100 of the most innovative education programs from around the globe.

In 2023 Serol's Cosmic Explorers was shortlisted for the Lovie Awards in the Beyond Education category.

Students in the HI STAR program demonstrating their work in astronomy.