Gaia in the UK

Taking the Galactic Census


Information about outreach and educational resources will published in this section. Contact our team.

On this page:

Faulkes Telescope Project and Gaia Alerts follow up

The Faulkes Telescope Project (FTP) will provide free access to the remotely-controlled, 2-metre diameter Faulkes Telescope North (Maui, Hawaii) and Faulkes Telescope South (Siding Spring, Australia), which are owned and operated by the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (LCOGT, based in Santa Barbara, USA).
This will allow schools to participate in follow-up observations of new objects discovered by the Gaia Alerts programme. These large telescopes are equipped with sensitive CCD cameras that allow users to study some of the faintest of the Gaia Alerts targets, well below the limits of most of the other observing systems that will be assisting in these follow up observations.
Over the next few years, FTP users will also gain access to the LCOGT worldwide network of 0.4m and 1m telescopes. This will greatly increase the amount of time available to schools, and the geographical spread of locations to observe from, as well as allowing brighter targets to be observed.
FTP will be running teacher training workshops and providing access to online educational resources covering many aspects of astronomy, as support for the Gaia mission.

FTP website:

FTP educational resources:

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Educational resources

Inquiry-based classroom activities.

Further educational resources are under development specifically for Gaia and will be added to this page as they become available.

See Multimedia section of this website for Gaia and science videos and cartoons.


Download Gaia brochure.

Gaia posters.


The websites listed below provide educational resources supporting science outreach and the teaching of astronomy and science.

Big Telescopes

Big Telescopes is one of the themes of the Science & Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) public engagement programme.

Big Telescopes website. Introduction to Big Telescopes and links to related websites and resources.

Big Telescopes roadshow exhibition “Seeing the Universe in all its light. This exhibition is designed primarily for Stakeholder Events but is also adaptable for school and public audiences. It has been a great success at 15 venues across the UK showcasing telescopes at the House of Commons, the National Assembly for Wales, three flagship BBC Stargazing LIVE events and the Big Bang Fair at the NEC. It has been enjoyed by more than 39,000 people and will be travelling to a further eight venues in 2014. For more information visit:

Big Telescopes A5 brochure and A0 wall poster. The brochure can be downloaded or ordered online from

Big Telescopes STEM collection and Teacher Notes.  The Teacher Notes are an introduction to the "Big Telescopes Collection" which is a set of existing telescoped-related teaching material that is held on the National STEM e-library. Available from: .

Big Telescopes CPD training for teachers.  "CP trainers" day/meeting will take place in the early 2015, to create a network of people able to run telescope-related CPD for teachers through the National Science Learning Centre's regional and local programmes. For more information see the STFC website.

Big Telescopes stories for planetaria and science centres.  The STFC is working with national membership organisations for planetaria and science centres to provide short, topical packages of material on key telescope stories that they can be embed into their shows and activities. See also the Royal Observatory Visitor Centre and the Dark Sky Discovery websites.

Discover the Cosmos portal

Discover the Cosmos portal brings together resources, virtual experiments and online labs from the fields of Astronomy and High Energy Physics (HEP).

The Discover the COSMOS Repository is a database of educational resources, which includes educational content (photos, videos, animations, exercises, graphs, links) as well as the learning activities (structured lesson plans organized according to specific pedagogical models such as inquiry based Learning and Guided Research). Registered users can upload their own materials to the Discover the COSMOS Repository.

Discover the Cosmos portal website:

ESA resources

Outreach resources (Gaia brochure, posters, flyers, videos and images):

ESA References section: articles on spacecraft, astronomy/cosmology, fundamental physics and history of space science

ESA Space for Kids:

Little books of Gaia (for children):

ESA Education section (a wide range of resources for formal and informal science education):

ESA Teacher’s Corner (classroom resources and information about CPD teacher training):

ESERO-UK collection

Space-related resources for supporting the teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in schools and colleges throughout the UK, produced by the UK Space Education Resource Office (ESERO).

Available from:

EU Universe Awareness (EU-UNAWE)

The European branch of the global UNAWE programme offering resources aimed at children aged 4 to 10 years, especially those from underprivileged communities.

EU-UNAWE Cosmos in Your Pocket Activity Book is a booklet inspired by The 826 Pocket Activity Book and illustrated by Irene Cécile: download EU-UNAWE Cosmos in Your Pocket Activity Book (PDF, 2.5 MB) or visit the EU-UNAWE Cosmos in Your Pocket Activity Book page.

Hands-On Universe (EU-HOU)

The EU-HOU project is a collaboration of teachers and scientists from European countries. The project aims to improve teaching of science at schools and stimulate students’ interest in science through the use of real, mainly astronomical, data.  Exercises, descriptions of hands-on activities and classroom experiments, and supporting material (including SalsaJ software for analysis of astronomical images) are available from the website. The EU-HOU portal comprises the main, European, and 15 national websites.

The EU-HOU Portal is available at:

Gaia page in Polish section of the EU-HOU:

Royal Astronomical Society - Educational Resources Search

A searchable database of high-quality resources on topics in astro- and geophysics, vetted by the RAS and by practicing Science teachers. The resources can be searched on the following criteria: age group, UK nation, topic and curriculum specification.

Available from:

Royal Observatory Greenwich

Astronomy resources:

Classroom resources (Key Stage 2 – post-16):

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Public engagement

Big Telescopes

See Big Telescopes in Websites section above.

Public Engagement with the Gaia and Rosetta Space Missions - UK Coordination meeting

The meeting will be held at the Open University, Milton Keynes, on 16 December 2013, 11.00 – 15.45. Download the agenda for the meeting.

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CPD courses for teachers

Big Telescopes

See Big Telescopes in Websites section above.

NV201A13: Space as a Context for Teaching Science - The Gaia Spacecraft Mission

This is a 4-day course for further education lecturers, post-16 teachers and secondary teachers. The course will be held at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in June (3 days) and at the National Science Learning Centre in York in October. More information about the course and online application can be found on Science Learning Centres website.

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Page last updated: 01 February 2018