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

Global Sky Partners

Cardiff, United Kingdom
To provide sustainable, scalable education projects using robotic telescopes, we created Global Sky Partners. Global Sky Partners use Las Cumbres Observatory's unique resource 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.

Global educational programs using robotic telescopes

Edward Gomez, Education Director, Las Cumbres Observatory
“These partnerships provide a unique educational opportunity to inspire new and diverse communities, regardless of where the audience physically are or what their background is.”

Edward Gomez, Education Director, Las Cumbres Observatory

Las Cumbres Observatory 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 annually.

Who are they?

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.

About the partners

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 12,000 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 global and now includes groups based in East Asia, Europe, North America, Africa, Australia and the Middle East.

Unique scientific tools

A unique aspect of this partnership is the robotic telescope network. By joining a Global Sky Partner, you have access to Las Cumbres Observatory's network of 10, 0.4-meter, professional grade telescopes. These telescopes are located at 6 of the top astronomical observatory sites around the globe, and offer unprecedented views of dark skies.

We recognised early on that to achieve the full educational potential of this unique scientific resource, we needed to engage with external groups around the world who were doing high-quality astronomy education projects. Key to the success of Global Sky Partners is providing diverse and fully supported educational programmes to audiences around the globe, not just ones in developed regions.

Global, scalable, inspirational education projects

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 about the world that affects them.

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Innovation Overview
6 - 18
Age Group
11 000
Tips for implementation
From our list of Global Sky Partners find one which matches your interests. They will support you in an educational project using robotic telescopes. Whether you are looking to do a guided research project or just interested in learning more about astronomy, there is a partner for you.
Contact information

See this innovation in action

Call for Global Sky Partners 2020 | Las Cumbres Observatory
Jupiter's moons movie
Student from Global Sky Partner (Stanford Online High School) presenting their results from an investigation using Las Cumbres Observatory at ...
I found an asteroid!
High-school student research
Teacher summer school
Camp Cosmos
Hong Kong


Achievements & Awards


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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Want to use robotic telescopes?
Join one of our Global Sky Partners for a fully supported, educational project using Las Cumbres Observatory.
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Want to start a project?
Annually we give out 1000 hours of telescope time for the most innovative education projects
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