There has been a lot of interest in our first course, Astronomy with Skynet: Our Place In Space!. Here are some frequently asked questions, and answers!
1. Who are these courses open to?
They are open to everyone everywhere. People have signed up from all over the world.
2. Do I get to use Skynet’s telescopes myself?
3. Is Skynet easy to use?
Yes, we make it easy! In fact, the National Science Foundation has just funded us to develop Skynet-based courses for middle-school students. You can do this
4. How much time do I get on the telescopes?
You get 30 minutes of exposure time, which you can use as quickly or as slowly as you like.
30-minutes goes a long way on these telescopes. Observations of planets and moons take less than 1 second. Observations of deep-sky objects vary, but this picture of the Lagoon Nebula, which is 4,000 light-years away, took only 20 seconds.
5. Is this a college-level course?
Yes. We offer it at the University of North Carolina and although not required, it is popular — about 20% of all undergraduates sign up for it, non-science and science students alike. It is now offered at other colleges and universities as well.
6. Does it cost as much as a college course?
7. Is Skynet University for profit?
No! Skynet University is part of the University of North Carolina, which is not for profit.
If Skynet University is successful, we will build it into our grant proposals to the National Science Foundation and NASA. Any grant money raised will be used to continue to improve and develop Skynet and its telescopes.
8. Do I receive college credit?
9. How long do I have to complete the course?
As long as you like — it is self-paced.
10. How do I enroll?
Enrollment instructions can be found here.
11. Who are you guys?
The Skynet team totals about 15 people, and you can follow our day to day exploits here and here. However, Skynet University’s courses are taught by two of us, Prof. Reichart and Prof. LaCluyzé, with help from graduate students Nathan Frank and Justin Moore.
12. What course will you offer next and when will it be ready?
Skynet University’s second course, Astronomy 101: The Solar System, is in production and will be ready sometime Fall 2014.
If you have any other questions, feel free to email introastro at unc dot edu.