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News from 2017

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

SELF PACED WORKSHOP Is 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. 2018. 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.

These workshops are hosted 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 is provided by the National Science Foundation.


Questions about the workshop? Contact us at

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova passes 0.08 AU from Earth on February 11th, its closest passage for the remainder of the century.

Who is going to observe this comet??? Here's a good article on it in Universe Today

Chuck Beuter suggested a Comet Observing Project in the forum. Read about it here:

NEW! Self-paced Leader Workshop

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. Please help us recruit new leaders! You can sign up here: