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What is Skynet Junior Scholars?

Skynet Junior Scholars (SJS) is designed to engage young explorers in the study of the universe using the same tools as professionals.

The SJS web portal connects middle and high-school aged youth with activities, resources and guidance to become scholars of the sky.

Learn More About Skynet Junior Scholars
An observatory at night, silhouetted against the starry night sky, consisting of a cylindrical stone structure capped with a metal dome. A hatch on the dome is open, giving a telescope inside a view of the sky.

Who Are the Skynet Junior Scholars?

All are welcome. It is part of the SJS mission to continually improve access to the sky for people of all abilities.

Skynet Junior Scholars come from all over

  • Youth participating in 4-H clubs
  • Other youth clubs
  • After school programs
  • Museum programs or summer camps
A group of high-school-age students assembled for a group picture inside the dome of an observatory.

Work With Professional Astronomers

SJS youth join a scientific learning community as they use Skynet telescopes, share their work with each other and interact with astronomers, engineers and other Skynet scientists.

Control Powerful Telescopes With the Internet

Scholars complete investigations using world-class telescopes in the United States, Chile, and Australia.

Check out our telescopes
In addition to telescope access, SJS has created Explorations to guide youth. Explorations range from how to use a robotic telescope to how to create a scientific investigation using data from their own astronomical images!

Ready to lead a group?

Do you:

  • lead a U.S. based out‐of‐school time program?
  • youth group or club?
  • work or volunteer for a U.S. informal education facility?
  • lead a 4-H group?

Youth in your out-of-school-time programs may join SJS after you complete an SJS professional development workshop.

In our workshops you will learn how to conduct investigations with Skynet telescopes, practice hands-on activities to share in your program and learn techniques to develop the scientist or engineer within every young person.

Not an an adult? If you are a young person, please encourage your out-of-school time leader to participate in one of our workshops.

Apply to a workshop today!

Recent News

Self-paced Workshop for Youth Leaders, informal educators and teachers.

Oct 12, 2019

SELF PACED WORKSHOP ss available for Teachers and youth leaders!


We thought so! That's why a group of dedicated scientists and astronomy educators created Skynet Junior Scholars. With a simple internet connection, young people can conduct all kinds of astronomy investigations with world-class telescopes in the US, Chile AND Australia. Suitable for middle school and older youth in 4-H clubs, afterschool and museum programs, and school classes, Skynet Junior Scholars (SJS) offers:

  • Access to Skynet Robotic Telescopes;
  • Explorations: a series of inquiry-based STEM activities that engage young people in a variety of astronomy topics;
  • Online web-portal allows youth to create an image gallery, share data with other young scientists, publish their results;
  • Communication with astronomers, engineers, software developers and SJS staff;
  • An opportunity for youth to advance, and assist astronomers with their projects.

Youth may participate in SJS after you complete a SJS professional development workshop. While we do plan to hold a guided workshop starting later this fall, we invite you in the meantime to use our self-paced workshop guide. This guide will lead you through the activities and steps you need to complete to become a certified SJS leader!

In addition to your time and talent, participation in the project requires:

  • Your willingness to guide 5-10 youth through the introductory set of SJS Explorations by May. 2020. Youth participants need access to reliable internet for the telescope activities, which can be pursued on their own, but we will rely on you to hold group discussions, and lead hands-on activities in an out-of-school or club setting.
  • Availability and willingness to provide feedback to staff and researchers in the project.

What You'll Learn

  • Background on the fascinating questions explored by Skynet Astronomers using Skynet telescopes.
  • How to conduct your own observations with Skynet telescopes.
  • Hands-on activities to promote understanding of astronomy concepts.
  • How to assist youth in developing their "science voices".


To participate in a Skynet Junior Scholars workshop, you must lead a U.S. based educational program for youth, work or volunteer for a U.S. informal education facility, be a K-12 teacher or be a leader of a youth group or club in the U.S.

4-H Leaders are especially encouraged to apply. Multiple applications from the same institution are welcome.

Please complete Application and Commitment Form . Commitment Forms must be signed by your supervisor from your sponsoring institution.

The Self Paced workshop is sponsored by the Skynet Junior Scholars Program. Program partners include: the University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory, the University of North Carolina, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and 4 H. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation.


Questions about the workshop? Contact us at

Self-paced Leader Workshop - Sign up here

Oct 12, 2019

We are now offering a self-paced workshop option for teachers and youth leaders! An online orientation meeting is required, but after that teachers and youth leaders may proceed through the activities at their own pace.

You can sign up here: Then contact to alert us to your registration.