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C001 Preparation of Science Cases for the CESAR Education Initiative

2019 Trainee Project


ESAC supervisor(s): Beatriz González García, Michel G. Breitfellner, Manuel Castillo and Javier Ventura
CESAR (Cooperation through Education in Science and Astronomy Research) is a joint educational programme developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) and the INTA-owned company ISDEFE. Its objective is to provide students from European secondary schools and Universities with hands-on experience in Astronomy.
In this context CESAR promotes educational activities and develops its own educational material (called Science Cases = SC) to be executed on-site (see point (1) hereafter) and through the CESAR website (see point (2)). These science cases are cross-matched with the Spanish and UK scholar curriculum, for assessing the contents with the target age, (6-18) year-old students. The goal of the science cases is to use Space Science as a vehicle for European students' to stimulate their interest in Science and Technology in general and Astronomy in particular as well as to rebuild role moldes while having fun.
For the ESAC on-site activities (Space-Science Experiences), the material to be designed should make use of the 'woo effect' (using astronomical data, IT, experiments, when possible). http://cesar.esa.int/index.php?Section=Space_Science_Experience_Info
For the interactive (on-line) science cases, the material to be designed should contain a Teacher guide, a Student guide as well as Booklets (with deeper explantation of astronomical concepts). The inputs for the science cases are real data (from ESA scientific missions, CESAR&co telescopes). The execution of the  science case could make use of  ESASky,  astronomical software (Stellarium, SalsaJ,..) as well as dedicated webtools designed by the CESAR Team. http://cesar.esa.int/index.php?Section=SC_List
To attract youngsters to STEM careers, some hot astronomical topics are proposed for the generation of the science cases (i.e:, gravitational lensing, exoplanets, co-moving stars, ...). We are also interested in covering some basic astronomical questions, (i.e:, calculation of distances in the Universe, solar activity identification by counting sunspots). The material is designed in a simple and attractive way but without sacrificing the mathematical and physical formalism necessary.


  • Development of two new science and education (sci&edu) cases in collaboration with ESA/CESAR scientists and teachers.
  • Generation and update of exisiting sci&edu material (science cases, booklet, web)
  • Identify/collect the appropriate scientific input data for the science cases (ESASky, CESO DB, PETER, ...)
  • Support and validate the design of webtools, IT applications and experiments.
  • Cross-match the contents of the science cases with the scholar curricula from Spain and UK,
  • Support teachers training courses and astronomical outreach events.
  • Update contents on the CESAR website related to the sci&edu material.


3 months (with possible extension of 3 more months)


  • Good background in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics and Mathematics.
  • Experiences in teaching above mentioned subjects.
  • Good skills for working in English within a team and with a minimum of supervision.
  • Some knowledge of astronomical software packages (e.g. Stellarium, Cosmographia, ...)
  • Some practical experience in outreach and in observing with amateur telescopes.
  • Some practical experience programming and image processing would be an asset.