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Global Sky Partners

Inspiring students around the world to engage in astronomy and science investigations using robotic telescopes

To provide sustainable, scalable education projects using robotic telescopes, we created Global Sky Partners. The partners use Las Cumbres Observatory's unique telescope network as an educational tool for teacher training, student apprenticeships, citizen science, inspirational space outreach, publication-quality research, & training for the next generation of scientists in the developing world.

HundrED 2021


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2021

Web presence






Target group
May 2022
These partnerships provide a unique educational opportunity to inspire new and diverse communities, regardless of national or cultural boundaries or what their background is.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

In 2017 we created the Global Sky Partner programme, with the goal of matching our professional level telescopes with high-quality educational programmes. The key driver is to make these resources available to groups and individuals who would not normally have these kinds of opportunities. Together this partnership has had a far greater reach than we could have alone.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Our Global Sky Partners run programs using robotic telescopes for long-term studies of asteroids, teacher training, student mentoring programmes, inspirational space outreach events, in-depth investigations for journal publication, training for the next generation of scientists in the developing world, and citizen science.

Each year we host a competition for educational projects using the Las Cumbres Observatory global network of robotic telescopes. The programmes with the best educational goals, support, and are most inclusive to diverse audiences are selected.

Each partner develops a program for a specific target audience, with educational and technical support built in, using LCO's robotic telescopes to leverage their own talents and resources. As we add more Global Sky Partners, the user community grows but so does the support community. The partners support their users, but the partners also support each other at monthly forums. Making the programme highly sustainable.

How has it been spreading?

In our 2020 cohort, which ran from December 2019 to August 2021, we supported 29,300 individuals directly and a further 37,000 indirectly:

4,300 direct and 37,000 indirect - School workshops and training programs
600 direct - Student research projects and student mentoring projects
24,400 - Citizen Science

From partners offering mentoring, workshops and training programs, with a total audience size of ~4,900 individuals, the audience demographics are:

21% are from disadvantaged or under-represented communities, or developing world countries, with a further 31% being from mixed representation.
14% were mentored in publication quality research projects
68% take part in workshops and teacher training.
47% were high school students
41% were teachers

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Our partners run a diverse range of projects, either in-person or online. Some partner programs are open to specific groups (e.g. geographical location) but many are completely open. Look at our partner programs and choose one which matches your interests.

If you run an astronomy club in school and want to make astronomical observations, then you can apply to join our Global Sky Clubs program.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

A worldwide network of telescopes each allowing time for this project gives an opportunity for scalability. Inter-organization partnerships and an intentional focus on making astronomy more accessible in under-served communities makes this innovation scalable and provides significant potential for individual and community impact.

HundrED Academy Reviews

Sustainable model providing access to resources for teachers and students globally.

Global Sky Partners is scalable as it partners with local organizations, and makes a conscious outreach to underserved communities.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Want to use robotic telescopes?
Look through thelist of Global Sky Partners to find one which matches your interests. Join up with them and you can take part in citizen science projects, publication quality astronomical research or just learn more about astronomy using Las Cumbres Observatory.
Want to start a project?

If you have an idea for an educational project using robotic telescopes we'd love to hear from you. We will help you create your project and mentor you to achieve your educational aims, so your audience has an inspirational experience. We hold an annual call for projects in June.

Want to make observations with your astronomy club?

If you run a school-based astronomy club and have some experience making observations, we’d love for you to apply for our Global Sky Clubs program. We will provide 10 hours of observing time on our 0.4m robotic telescope network for you to use for an investigation or research project with your astronomy club.

Spread of the innovation

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