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Information for schools & teachers


Below you'll find various sources of information for pupils and teachers. For pupils there are lists of undergraduate courses and general fact sheets. For teachers there are links to resources and a list of astronomers who will give talks.



Solar Eclipse 2015 - resources for schoolseclipse


On Friday 20 March 2015, the whole of the UK will be treated to a partial eclipse of the Sun.


These are quite rare, and this one will be a major event; the next significant one in the UK will be in 2026. That morning, the Moon will pass right in front of the Sun, blotting out up to 90% of its disc. The Sun will look like a crescent instead of a disc, and there'll be various other things to look for. The eclipse will be observable between 8.30 and 10.45 am, with maximum occurring around 9.30am in a SE direction.


If you want to come to the RAS public viewing event on 20 March 2015 or if you just want to know more, join our mailing list by tweeting @RAS_outreach or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


We've also written an eclipse booklet that can be viewed electronically or printed off. Check the booklet for tips, information on how to make an eclipse viewer and where to get a free pair of viewers from!


Tweet us with photos of you viewing the eclipse! Tweet @RAS_outreach and @popastro – using #eclipse2015 – and send us your photos. Fill in your details on our interactive map to share where you'll be viewing the eclipse and see where others across the world are viewing too.


Primary school resources:

Solar Eclipse role play

Solar Eclipse newspaper article


Secondary school resources:

Solar Eclipse worksheet (Year 7-9)

The maths of a Solar Eclipse (Year 10-11)


Solar Eclipse Stargazing Live National Eclipse Weather Experiment

Schools are invited to participate in a citizen science project, working with The University of Reading and BBC Learning. Professor Giles Harrison of the University of Reading’s Department of Meteorology is researching a phenomenon called 'the eclipse wind' and wants schools across the UK to participate.

To do this we need lots and lots of meteorological data during the eclipse event – fortunately there are a lot of amateur meteorologists who could potentially help. Can you help us solve the mystery of the eclipse wind?

To find out more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Patrick Moore Medal 


The new RAS Patrick Moore Medal will be awarded annually to outstanding teachers of astronomy and/or geophysics. More information including nomination form


Work Experience, Summer Placements and Events


We can offer some work experience places here at the RAS or help you find summer placements at universities around the UK. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. We will also advertise other opportunities here.


Nuffield Research Placements for students in the first year of a post 16 STEM course:

Social Mobility Foundation work experience placements and support from year 12 onwards:


Space School UK summer residentials for 13-18 year olds interested in astronomy and space science:


The Great NE Space Expo 2015 poster advertising the chance to engage with a vast array of businesses that are part of the innovative UK Space Sector and find out what it takes to have a career in an incredibly exciting area of scientific discovery.


Studying astronomy and geophysics


Are you considering astronomy or geophysics as a career, or would you like to study the subjects at a higher level?

The RAS has a factsheet that will tell you more about becoming a Professional Astronomer, Geophysicist or Planetary Scientist. This includes a list of undergraduate courses by UCAS number.

You can also download the RAS booklet on 'Careers for Girls with a Vision in Astronomy & Geophysics'


General information on astronomy and geophysics


The RAS has produced a series of leaflets and an e-book on astronomy and geophysics topics.



Our latest resource (published 2011) is an e-book on Cosmology designed for A level students. This is a basic introduction to the history of the Universe, from the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago to the present day.

This book is available as an interactive PDF or as a series of web pages.



gravity_small.jpgOur Gravity leaflet gives you information about key figures in gravitational science, tells you how gravity affects the Solar System, why we have tides, and the role gravity plays in stellar evolution, galaxies, Black Holes and cosmology.

Other leaflets can be downloaded in PDF format. Click on the titles to access the following:



Database of resources for teaching astronomy, geophysics and planetary science


The best way of finding relevant and useful teaching resources at the current time is by using the STEM eLibrary by ESERO-UK.

Alternatively try the TES website, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more ideas and resources.


Other teaching resources


  • The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) educational resources.
  • Here is a page of links to other resources.
  • Three 2-metre telescopes have time available for use by students: the National Schools Observatory, Faulkes Telescopes and Bradford Robotic Telescope. The Royal Astronomical Society endorses robotic telescopes as an exciting way to give students direct and personal experience of science. The Society commends the Robotic Telescope Project at Bradford University, the Faulkes Telescopes Project at Cardiff University and the National Schools Observatory at Liverpool John Moores University for bringing to classrooms throughout the UK results from first-class telescopes in good astronomical sites on distant mountain tops and for providing soundly-based scientific projects so that teachers can use them for a range of educational needs.


Public talks and workshops for schools


The RAS maintains a list of professional astronomers and geophysicists who are available to give schools talks via its searchable map, allowing you to find facilities, topics and speakers who are close to you. Alternatively email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see if we can visit you, or you can visit the RAS!


Schools Seismology Project


Detecting the minute vibrations caused by earthquakes that happened thousands of kilometres away with a simple piece of equipment sitting in your own school creates a 'wow' moment for students — and sometimes staff as well. The instruments required to do this are surprisingly simple — and some can even be made by teachers in a school workshop. The project encourages schools to establish a seismic observatory using a simple mechanical seismometer and PC.


For more information have a look at the webpages of the British Geological Survey - Seismometers for use in schools.


Science Council


future_morphThe Science Council careers information site has a lot of information about studying science, technology, engineering and maths.