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Prompt starfield Yerkes 41 inch NRAO 20 Meter Telescope High SchoolStudent using Skynet
Skynet Junior Scholars

Skynet Junior Scholars Professional Development Workshops

  • Onsite Workshop at Yerkes Observatory, Williams Bay WI, March 19-22, 2015.
  • Onsite Workshop at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank, WV, April 23-26, 2015.


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, 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 in your out-of-school-time programs may participate in SJS after you complete a SJS professional development workshop. 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 November, 2015. 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.

Would you like to participate?

Neither an astronomy nor science background is needed. We'll provide all the training you need. We'll also provide ongoing support to you and your young astronomers. You can elect to join a face-to-face workshop at one of of two world-class astronomical observatories, or take a more leisurely approach through an upcoming online workshop hosted by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. All workshops are FREE. If you elect to participate in either face-to-face workshops, your room and board are paid. In addition, all workshop participants will receive a Skynet Junior Scholars activity kit.

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 out-of-school time program, work or volunteer for a U.S. informal education facility 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.

Face-to-Face Workshops - March 19-22 Yerkes, Observatory and April 23-26, Green Bank, WV

  • Please complete Applications and Commitment Forms. Applications are due by March 1, 2015. Commitment Forms are due one week before the workshops begin, and must be signed by your supervisor from your sponsoring institution.
  • Workshops will begin with one online orientation session the week before hand. Participants should plan to be on site by 7 PM on Thursday. The workshop will conclude by 2 PM on Sunday.
  • More information about Skynet Junior Scholars can be found on the SJS Webportal

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 workshops? Contact us at

Modified on Tuesday, 28-Oct-2014 19:17:03 EDT