School Groups

Explore sky science, light, optics and space exploration.

Online programs are ready to Go! Grade 6 Sky Science, Grade 8 light & Optics, Grade 9 Space Exploration and special topics

The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is not offering in-person programming until 2021. We will be opening in stages according to direction from the University of Calgary. 

Available school programs

We offer online programs for students in grades six, eight and nine. We also offer a senior high sky science program. All of our programs directly connect to the Alberta curriculum. The online program is 60 minutes, including ten minutes for questions. We cover curriculum topics and customize your program to your classroom requirements.

  1. Looking for Goldilocks in the celestial forest

    Learn about our own solar system and compare it to the solar systems orbiting distant stars.

    Sky Science Topic C, areas covered:

    • - Celestial motion
    • - Constellations
    • - Solar observation
    • - Solar system composition
    • - Overview of telescope technology
  2. The one, the only, the original, the moon

    Explore the unique characteristics of earth’s moon including phases, orbit and gravitational effects. Compare and contrast with other moons in our solar system. We blend Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Western Sky Science concepts with discussions around celestial motion and perspectives of land and sky.

    Sky Science Topic C, areas covered:

    • - Phases of the moon
    • - Solar system composition
    • - Moons that orbit other planets
    • - Overview of telescope technology
  1. The science of light

    Investigate the properties of light and discover how light moves through optical telescopes and how astronomers interpret this light. We offer students examples of how light and optics are core to the study and practice of Astronomy.

    Light and Optics Unit C, topics covered:

    • - Wave properties
    • - Polarization/polarization
    • - Refraction
    • - Double refraction
    • - Telescopes
  1. Seeing across the spectrum

    Learn about the composition of our universe and the technologies used to conduct the latest research. Students will learn how the RAO astronomers use a spectrograph, do a spectral analysis of the sun. We also explore the latest developments with the satellite missions of the University of Calgary Space Institute.

    Space Exploration Unit E, topics covered:

    • - Spectroscopy
    • - Spectrum analysis
    • - Absorption/emission lines
    • - Doppler effect
    • - Communication satellites
    • - Observation and research satellites
    • - Remote sensing and GPS
  2. How far away is it

    Answer the most basic question in astronomical research with stellar parallax and the doppler effect then perform your own measurements with triangulation.

    • - How parallax and the Doppler effect are used to estimate distances of objects in space and determining their motion
    • - The position of objects in space, using angular coordinates

View our frequently asked booking questions here

A group of students.

Conserving the Wilderness of the Night Sky Program

Check out all of our new online resources

Exploring Your Night Sky

Learn more about light pollution mitigation, sky science and light and optics.

Citizen Scientist opportunities to measure star magnitudes, bat and birds counts give students real world applications for the concepts they learn in the classroom.

Contact us for an educator's guide rao@phas.ucalgary.ca