Professional Development & Learning

Getting started

Access to use SPIRIT is provided free to all WA schools. Teachers and students must first attend a short training presentation which generally takes one of two forms:

  • Small (12 or less) groups of students can visit ICRAR and attend a one hour presentation at no cost, including a visit to the SPIRIT observatories. Authorisation to access SPIRIT is  provided subsequent to the visit.
  • At school presentations can be organised at a small cost and are generally available ‘on demand’ with 3-4 weeks notice for schools in the Perth metropolitan area. SPIRIT training included as part of a larger, tailored ICRAR outreach incursion can also be organised at a slightly higher cost.

Contact us for  information on timing and costs.

Once trained, users can book and remotely access the instruments at any time. Occasionally, it may be necessary to prioritise or limit use.

Remote and regional schools

Remote and regional schools are uniquely positioned to take advantage of SPIRIT’s web-enabled interface. Contact us for further information.

Tailored learning programs

Additional learning can be organised at cost, and encompasses a variety of topics tailored from the list below. Access to computers and specialised software for hands-on workshops and other prerequisites are discussed during planning.

SPIRIT 101

SPIRIT 101 is a supplement to initial training, expanding on the topics of targeting, exposure, use of filters and basic image processing. Participants are also provided basic introductory information on a number of project areas, including astrometry, photometry and spectroscopy, as well as advanced image processing. Armed with this additional information, students are better able to utilise SPIRIT to its full potential as a tool for discovery and science.

Access to computer facilities for hands-one workshops, as well as   installation of some software may be required.

Targeting and imaging asteroids with SPIRIT

Minor Planet astronomy is a cutting edge field where students can undertake observations that can contribute to research. In this presentation, participants learn how to find and target visible minor planets using the SPIRIT telescopes.

Astrophotography with SPIRIT

This workshop covers both basic and advanced image processing techniques, enabling users to create stunning colour images of astronomical objects using the SPIRIT telescopes. Access to a computer running Adobe Photoshop is essential.

Advanced astrometry with SPIRIT

This advanced minor planet workshop is intended for upper school investigations and advanced studies. Limited to small groups of students, this workshop provides the tools and techniques necessary to undertake minor planet astrometry and submit observations to the Minor Planet Centre for publication.

Variable star photometry with SPIRIT

Conducted over several sessions, this comprehensive program of activities provides detailed information on how to undertake long term photometric observations of short period variable stars using the SPIRIT telescopes. Presentations and workshop sessions introduce students to the tools and techniques used by professional astronomers to create ‘light curves’ that compliment existing published data.