Global Sky Partners

LCO launched the Global Sky Partners program in 2017 with the goal of inspiring students around the world to engage in astronomy and science endeavors by providing 1,000 hours of observing time on our telescope network to educational organizations.

The Global Sky Partners are a diverse group of educators and scientists who run their own fully-supported education projects and investigations using our telescopes. Training, advice and continuous support are offered to all education partner programs by our education staff, and partners engage in monthly online meetings where they discuss ideas and share accomplishments.

Each selected Partner has an exemplary track record in astronomy education and allows LCO to reach unprecedented audiences. Some Partners manage their programs in person and others run their programs entirely online, offering a global reach to students, teachers, and the wider public. Each Partner program has its own goals and target audiences—some provide a large variety of projects, all of them using LCO while others use LCO as part of a wider educational curriculum.

Our Global Sky Partners run programs using LCO for long-term studies of asteroids, teacher training, student apprenticeships, inspirational space outreach events, in-depth investigations for journal publication, training for the next generation of scientists in the developing world, and the search for gravitational waves.

In the inaugural year of 2018, there were 16 Global Sky Partners selected from many applications. The first year was a great success and over 15 peer-reviewed papers have been published by the Partners. During 2018, the Partners shared LCO data and resources with 15,000 people directly. Because of their use of LCO, middle- and high-school students from our Partners have presented their research at international conferences to professional astronomers, won state-level science fairs, and attracted college scholarships.

In 2019, there are 12 returning and 9 new Partners for a total of 21 projects using 1,300 hours of telescope time. The program is truly international and now includes groups based in East Asia, Europe, North America, Africa, Australia and the Middle East.

The Global Sky Partners program is a unique resource for conducting scientific research that has great potential for education. Partners who have already created their own infrastructure are able to use LCO's hardware to leverage their own talents and resources. As access to the internet grows around the world, interest in the unique type of science education provided by LCO will soar.

The great strength of our cutting-edge program is that it uses our robotic telescope network as a tool to inspire an appreciation of science and a curiosity about the Universe that will hopefully spark a lifelong love of learning. Providing students with access to our telescopes fosters a feeling of ownership over their learning and opens the potential for real discovery and contribution to scientific knowledge. While a scientific career is not for everyone, by inspiring an appreciation for learning in our audiences and helping them hone their scientific skills, we can help ensure they’ll become science literate members of society who are capable of making well-informed decisions.

2019 Education partners

Below is a complete list of all of our education partners for 2019. Their programs will run from 1 December 2018 to 1 December 2019.

New Partners

100 hours for 100 schools

Supported by Galileo Teacher Training Programme, IASC and G-HoU

Audience: Schools across the world

Organizers: Rosa Doran, Patrick Miller, Carl Pennypacker

The Appalachian Star Song Project

Supported by Western Carolina University

Audience: Middle grade and high school students in an Appalachian rural community

Organizers: Enrique Gomez

Bringing Astronomy Research to Underrepresented Groups

Supported by Sonoma State University

Audience: Schools across the world

Organizers: Laura Peticolas

GCC Cluster Map and Asteroid Hunt

Supported by Glendale Community College

Audience: Community college students in USA

Organizers: Brian Gleim

Investigating the Sky

Supported by Canada Aviation and Space Museum and Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario

The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is partnering with the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario to give high school students the opportunity to create and carry out their own investigations of the night sky. Guided by a professional astronomer, student participants will be taught how to research the background of a topic, choose a target and create an observing plan, and then analyze the data from the telescope. They will lead their own research project, asking and answering their own questions.

Audience: High school students in Canada

Organizers: Jesse Rogerson

For more information see Ingenium's website

Tactile Observatory: VI accessible observations with the Tactile Universe

Supported by Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth

The Tactile Observatory is a pilot extension of the Tactile Universe (TU) project, which will allow blind and vision impaired students learning about galaxies research through the TU project, to make observations using LCO. Using the TU's tactile image processing pipeline, students will then be able to 3D print their observations as tactile images. The involved students will also act as a test group to give feedback on the best ways to maximise the accessibility of the LCO observing interface.

Audience: Blind and vision impaired students from KS2 (upper primary) and KS3 (lower secondary) in UK

Organizers: Nicolas Bonne

For more information see Tactile Universe website

West African International Summer School for Young Astronomers (WAISSYA)

Supported by the American Association of Physics Teachers, DARA: Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Office of Astronomy for Development, Royal Society (UK), Square Kilometre Array (South Africa), University of Ghana, West African Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (Nigeria), Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, Centre for Basic Space Science (Nigeria), Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, European Space Agency, Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute, Kansas State University (USA), National Space Research and Development Agency (Nigeria), New York University (USA), Schmidt Science Fellows in Partnership with the Rhodes Trust (UK), University of British Columbia (Canada), University of Nigeria Nsukka, University of Oxford (UK), University of Tübingen (Germany), University of the Western Cape (South Africa), Yale University (USA) and generous donations from individuals via crowdfunding.

The West African International Summer School for Young Astronomers (WAISSYA) is an innovative short course in astronomy for West African university students and school teachers who teach STEM. The school is designed and taught by a team of professional astronomers from West Africa and the rest of the world using educational research principles. Our mission is to build a critical mass of Astronomers and develop a community of scientific leaders in related fields in the West African Region and Africa as a whole. Through WAISSYA, two networks are being established: a mentor network and a network of astronomers who exchange educational ideas and further their own professional development.

Audience: West African university students

Organizers: Maria Drout

For more information see their website or contact the organizers

Where's the Flux?

Supported by Louisiana State University

Community observations of secular dimming in the enigmatic dipper, KIC8462852.

Audience: Open collaboration with interested users connected through the sub-Reddit, /r/KIC8462852

Organizers: Tabetha Boyajian

For more information see their sub-Reddit page

YATL Astronomy Research Project for High School

Supported by Youth Astronomy Teachers' Link (YATL)

The Youth Astronomy Teachers' Link(YATL) is one of China's leading astronomy education NGO. We provide world-class astronomy and planetary science education resources to Chinese curious young minds. The YATL Astronomy Research Project for High School started from 2016, more than 15 schools compete for the research opportunities we provide each year. The Project aims to set an excellent start for the students' research career. LCO will be a highlighted & brilliant part of this year's Project.

Audience: High school teachers and students in China, under the supervision of Beijing Normal University Education Foundation and the Department of Astronomy of Beijing Normal University.

Organizers: Boyang Liu

Contact: WeChat ID: TeachForAstro

Returning Partners

Astrolab (Starlight in the university lab)

This project is developed and run in collaboration with the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), an Office of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) as well as the OAD Regional Offices : SAROAD (Southern African Regional Office of Astronomy for Development) and WAROAD (West African Regional Office of Astronomy for Development). This project is already running in Kenya, in Nigeria, and in Zambia.

Astrolab is a tutorial, based on telescopic observations, to learn how to do science and discover that science can be challenging, interesting and manageable. This tutorial has been developed primarily for undergraduate science students in order to emphasize the nature of science with the interdisciplinary nature of astronomy, and its natural links with technology and instrumentation. In doing Astrolab, students in sciences plan and perform real-time observations with a LCO 40cm telescope, and transform those observations into a scientific result. It is a learning-by-doing tutorial to acquire research competences and to understand the complexity of practical work.

The access to a telescope is the key point for this programme which has as main characteristics: - introducing students to the scientific research method, - enhancing interest in science studies, - obtaining active involvement in the “learning”. Astrolab is primarily for undergraduate students to teach them: - understanding the complexity and ambiguity of empirical work, - developing teamwork abilities, - developing practical skills, - defending their results in written and oral form, - developing critical thinking.

Audience: Assistant professors and professors at Universities from Southern, Eastern and West African countries and their undergraduate students.
Contact Michele Gerbaldi
For more information please see their website.

Constellations under investigation & Scientists' Apprentice

Supported by NUCLIO

NUCLIO is a non-profit association from Portugal dedicated to science education and outreach with a special focus on Astronomy. Its scope is global since it is deeply involved in internacional projects with similar goals and objectives. NUCLIO has been promoting teacher training activities thru the "Galileo Teachers Training Program” (GTTP) since the International Year of Astronomy 2009. It is also co-managing the "Portuguese Language Expertise Center" (PLOAD) of IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD).

Audience: School students and teachers, international
Contact for more details

Fascination Astronomy

Supported by Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute

Supporting the Qatar National Olympiad and Fascination astronomy workshops with 200 schools throughout Qatar.

Audience: Teachers and students in Qatar
Contact for more details

The Faulkes Telescope Project offers real-time and queue-scheduled observing on the LCO network. Our mission is to get school students doing real science with research class telescopes from their classrooms. The projects we run include colour imaging, tracking asteroids, the lifecycle of stars and observing supernovae. We provide observing support along with a wide variety of educational resources and teacher CPD programmes. If you are a teacher in the UK or Europe then please contact us for more details on your eligibility to join.

Audience: Teachers and students in UK and Europe
Contact for more details

Follow-up of Gravitational Wave sources with LCO

Supported by Cardiff University

With the advent of the latest generation gravitational wave detectors (Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo), dawn is breaking on multi-messenger astronomy. The detection of gravitational wave sources when accompanied by a companion source seen in "traditional" electromagnetic telescopes would bring breakthroughs in a huge range of astrophysics as well as fundamental physics. This project will bring this process into schools around the world using LCO's unique network of telescopes.

Audience: General audience, online

Organizer: Dr Chris North
Contact Chris North for more details


Affiliated with University of Hawaii and supported by the Maui Economic Development Board, Air Force Research Labs, and LCO

HI STAR is a program for students entering grades 8-11, who are interested in doing genuine astronomical research. After attending one week cam in the summer, students work with researchers on authentic and contemporary research projects.

Audience: Target audience students entering grades 8-11

Organizer: JD Armstrong
Contact JD Armstrong for more details

Institute for Student Astronomical Research

InStAR’s mission is to develop, conduct, and promote the adoption of the Astronomy Research Seminar, which is an immersive, student team-based astronomical research experience for high school, 2-year community college, and 4-year university students. InStAR also serves as a central coordination site and resource, primarily through its web site, for student research teams in the U.S. to obtain resources, talk with other research groups, and to be a part of a growing community of practice. 

Audience: High school students, USA

Contact for more details

Supported by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Through a pilot partnership with LCO, MicroObservatory aims to enhance our users’ learning experience. Specifically, we will offer our audiences periodic opportunities to request “Target of Opportunity” exoplanet datasets from the LCO network, which they would then analyze using the same skills and tools that they have employed with MicroObservatory data.

Audience:General audience, online

Contact for more details

Modeling Astronomy

Supported by Global Hands-On Universe

A pilot program of workshops during 2018, where we will instruct American Modeling Instruction Teachers Association teachers our new activities and how to use LCO telescopes

Audience: US Teachers

Contact for more details

Our Solar Siblings does three things. It freely provides a fully provisioned, off the shelf, curriculum for secondary teachers teaching astronomy, it freely provides guidance and support for larger student (and teacher) research projects and it produces tools and provides mentoring, curriculum materials and support for other existing and potential robotic telescope education projects where it can. 

Audience: Largely Teachers and Students from Year 9 to 12, (although 7-8 is possible but not as common). Working worldwide but based in Australia. They also accept “proto-projects”, where people might like to test their idea out before applying to become an education partner.

Contact Michael Fitzgerald for more details

PETeR is an enquiry-based online lab which aims to familiarize the Spanish educational community with the scientific method and practice, while contributing to the diffusion of Astronomy and Astrophysics. This is achieved dedicating some observation time with robotic telescopes to educational activities and e-science projects aimed at students and amateur astronomy associations.

Audience: High school students and teachers in Spain
Contact for more details

Stanford Online High School (SOHS) is an accredited, independent school for intellectually passionate students in grades 7 - 12. The SOHS Astronomy Research Club involves students across the world in astronomy research education and projects.

Audience: Intellectually passionate middle and high school students, regardless of location

Contact Kalée Tock for more details

The 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 for students of all ages that result in their publishing peer-reviewed papers.

Audience: High-school and college students in San Diego area
Contact for more details

Become a Global Sky Partner

If you run an astronomy education project and are looking to do something innovative with your audience involving robotic telescopes, we'd love to talk about partnering with you. We run an annual open call for new partners. Applications for this year are currently closed, but please be in touch with Edward Gomez or Sarah Eve Roberts if you would like more information.

Individual membership?

All of the partners above are currently accepting members to join their programs. Please look through the list and see if you could join any of them. At this time we are not accepting registrations from individuals.