Faulkes Telescope Universe Challenge Rules

Faulkes Telescopes Universe Challenge

Dúshlán na Cruinne le Faulkes

What is this challenge?

A school competition for an astronomy project using the Faulkes Telescopes – state of the art 2-metre telescopes in Hawaii and Australia, which can be remotely operated by students during school hours in Ireland.

The project must be submitted as an entry to the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) that will take place in January 2011 in Dublin. The best team will win a special astronomy prize as part of the event. 

Who can enter?

The competition is open to second level students from Ireland, North and South, who are aged between 12 and 18 on 31st October 2010.

What are the rules of entry?

As this challenge must be part of the BTYSTE 2011, the rules of the exhibition apply. You can enter your project as an individual or as a team (comprising no more than three people from the same school and the same age group). Teams of 2 or 3 are encouraged.

The age group is as defined by BTYSTE:


The challenge has only one prize for all age categories together.

What can you win?

The special astronomy prize for the winning team (students, teacher and mentor) is a visit to the European Southern Observatory (ESO) sites of Cerro La Silla and Cerro Paranal, in Chile: http://www.eso.org/public/teles-instr/vlt/index.html

Why is this so special?

Cerro Paranal has the world’s largest telescope, the Very Large Telescope(VLT). Winners will see the VLT in use, and will also take part in a project on a telescope at Cerro La Silla.

Will the use of the Faulkes Telescopes be guaranteed?

Access to Faulkes Telescopes observing time and data archive for the purposes of the challenge, subject to scheduling by the Faulkes Project, is guaranteed to all entrant groups.

What should the project be about?

The project should be about any astronomy subject of your choice (or suggested by a mentor) and should be based on data taken with the Faulkes Telescope. The data could be new or from the archive. More than one group may attempt the same project. You may wish to submit a new project, one that is in progess or a project that has already been completed.

Will students get help?

Students can get advice from a mentor. Astronomers from universities and research institutes in Ireland, as well as from the Faulkes Telescope team at Cardiff University, will help as mentors.

What are the requirements of the project?

The same requirements as for entering BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2011 apply. The 'One Page Proposal' outlining your project idea, together with completed entry forms and fees, must be submitted to the BTYSTE by the closing date (for last year it was 5th October 2009). More information about how to register to the BTYSTE can be found here:


Every project must have 3 elements:

1. Project diary (preferably a blog that can then be printed for the BTYSTE)

2. Project report book (preferably seen and approved by your mentor)

3. Visual display (preferably an A0 poster, seen and approved by your mentor)

The project must be registered with us by 30 April 2010.

You should consider entering the project into other local science exhibitions and competitions such as the Seagate Young Innovators Exhibition held annually in Belfast every June.

Who is behind this?

The Faulkes Telescopes Universe Challenge is generously sponsored by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Las Cumbres Observatory (who operate the Faulkes Telescopes), and Ireland's science promotion programme, Discover Science and Engineering (DSE).

How to register?

To register for this challenge please contact the Faulkes Telescopes Universe Challenge secretariat by emailing Dr Miruna Popescu

Armagh Observatory - Astronomy Education