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 2021 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.

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.

HELIOS GTTP is a work and study group focused on outreach activities and teacher training on the Sun and star variability, based in Colombia. Obtaining data from robotic telescopes is an essential aspect of this project.

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.

Awards and recognition

In 2019 the total reach of the Global Sky Partners program was approximately 24,000 individuals - 11,000 through direct contact, and an additional ~13,000 students indirectly impacted. There were 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, 21 publications in peer-reviewed journals by high school students, and 4 talks at professional conferences 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.

In 2020, the Global Sky Partners has been shortlisted for the HundrED Foundation’s 2021 Global Collection. This recognition is an annual collection of 100 of the most innovative education programs from around the globe.