A school bus waits at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.

School Groups

Explore sky science, light, optics and space exploration

We are accepting bookings for the 2024/2025 school year. 

See you under the sun and stars!

School Programs

We offer in person and 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. 

  1. Telescopes and Stars

    Learn about telescope design and function and how light is gathered but this amazing.

    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 - Triangulation and Stellar Parallax

    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
    • Participate in a triangulation excise and learn how distance measurements on earth can take you to the stars.

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