The Project

This project provides teachers and students with access to research-grade ground-based robotic telescopes, and astronomical databases. By bringing in the contemporary perspectives and practices from astronomy (data, research-grade instruments) with visual art aesthetics and creative exploration at the interface of the disciplines, will provide a grounding for how these interests can be used productively to engage students with STEM, how they translate into subject choices further in their schooling (and beyond), and characterising a framework for connecting various subjects in schools through astronomy.

The project takes a Design-Based Research approach to the development of resources that take into consideration the needs of the teachers. As such the aim is to work with and support teachers in implementing astronomy and astronomical colour imaging into their unit of work.


Looking at the night sky one is drawn upwards towards the mystery and beauty of what lies beyond the blue marble we inhabit and call home – planet Earth. Astronomy is considered by many to be a gateway science owing to its ability to inspire curiosity in everyone irrespective of age, culture, or general inclination towards science. Astronomy has been used by cultures not only as a context for cultural knowledge, but also as a vital part of daily life. These include, but are not limited to, developing calendars, agriculture, navigation, architecture and much more. Therefore, astronomy is one of the unique sciences that draws on and feeds into various disciplines.

Astronomy & Curriculum

Research has shown that around the world curricula have some aspect of astronomy present in their standards. Although the amount of astronomy is small compared to other STEM and non-STEM disciplines, there lies an untapped potential of using astronomy as a context or rather a “gateway” into STEM, and creating a synergy between STEM and non-STEM disciplines in the classroom.

Astronomical Colour Imaging

Astronomical colour imaging has the unique characteristics that enable it to exist at the aesthetic interface between visual arts and science (English, 2017; Rector et al., 2017; Salimpour, 2014), and the way it taps deeply into notions of disciplinary discernment in astronomy (Eriksson, 2019; Salimpour et al., 2021) and visual arts (Kress & van Leeuwen, 1996).

Most importantly, astronomical colour imaging provides an entry for students to engage with contemporary research and data. They appreciate the process of how data is not only represented as graphs, but images which have an important role in allowing us to understand the Universe. Making an astronomical colour image requires drawing on disciplinary content and skills from both visual arts and science, from colour theory to the representation of fundamental physical processes in the Universe.

Research-grade instrumentation

This project provides students free access to research grade robotic telescopes located around the world, through Las Cumbres Observatory and PhotonRanch. These networks combine state-of-the-art instrumentation with web-based interfaces allowing students to use the same instruments astronomers use to conduct research.

Both networks of robotic telescopes are optimised for use in both education and research, and given that there are telescopes in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres, students are able to explore the beauty of the cosmos from anywhere in the world.

Bring awe and wonder of the Cosmos into Your Classroom

If you would like to take part in this project or would like more information, please get in touch with us.