Students in Sub-Saharan Africa participating in Astrolab, an LCO Global Sky Partner program run by the International Astronomical Union Office of Astronomy Development. Students in Astrolab utilize the LCO 40 cm telescopes to plan, perform, and analyze their own astronomical observations.
Our Global Sky Partners program represents the core mission of LCO: to inspire understanding of the universe through the use of robotic telescopes. The Global Sky Partners are selected through an annual call for education projects and an independent review process. Our partners all have exemplary track records in delivering astronomy education programs. By working with LCO, these partners add the full power of a global telescope network for their audience to use.
“A fundamental aspect of this program,” said Dr. Edward Gomez, LCO education director, “is to give people who would not normally be in position to use professional scientific equipment, the opportunity to be inspired to do science. We are very happy that 21% of the 2019 Global Sky Partner audience was from under-represented communities or the developing world.”
Each partner uses LCO’s unique network of 40cm robotic telescopes for structured educational and outreach purposes, with a clearly defined target audience. The range of activities spans teacher training, student research projects, beginners’ introductions to astronomy, high-level science investigations, science-art exhibitions and citizen science.
The LCO education team supports the partners’ use of the network, assisting with technical queries. We also host a monthly forum where the partners support each other to achieve their individual educational goals.
“As a result of the Global Sky Partner program,” said Dr Lisa Storrie-Lombardi, LCO observatory director, “we have seen over 20 peer-reviewed publications and 4 talks at professional, astronomical conferences by high-school students in 2019 alone.”
Some of the Global Sky Partners will be giving talks at the international conference, Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education, in Melbourne, Australia (8-11 December 2019). They will be highlighting the discoveries their students have made using LCO.
Through this unique partnership LCO has a much broader and diverse reach, than would be possible through a program run in-house. The 2020 Global Sky Partners’ audiences span 6 continents of the globe and have a direct reach of over 15,000 individuals and an indirect audience of around 30,000.
We welcome the 2020 partners and look forward to working with them all to realise a world class education program using robotic telescopes.
Media Contact: Sandy Seale (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Science Contact: Edward Gomez (email@example.com)