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InStAR Online Astronomy Research Seminar

Beginning in Summer 2018, InStAR will begin offering online versions of the Astronomy Research Seminar to undergraduate college students, interested college faculty, citizen scientists, and anyone interested in learning how to perform authentic scientific research.

Enrolled students in these non-accredited courses will receive the appropriate astronomical datasets, learn how to understand the quality and characteristics of their datasets, learn how to reduce the data with provided astronomical software, receive guidance on how to interpret the resulting data products, and contribute to a team-led publication that will be submitted to an appropriate scientific journal. Course enrollment is limited to 20 students. 

There will eventually be six versions of the online Seminar available:


  • Binary Star Astrometry (8-week course).

  • Asteroid Astrometry (8-week course).

  • Speckle Interferometry (12-week course)

  • Asteroid Light Curve Photometry (12-week course).

  • Exoplanet Photometry (12-week course).

  • Solar Astronomy Research (12-week course). 

What students receive: Access to course materials on the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS); astronomical datasets, software and manuals to reduce the appropriate datasets; informational PDF documents with relevant instructional material; interactive and personalized instruction from highly-qualified astronomers and educators; weekly interactive chat sessions via Zoom (or a similar platform); and – ultimately – authorship and publication in a scientific research paper!


What student need to purchase/provide: Course textbooks (if necessary), self-motivation, and a desire to work in a team environment. 

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