Calar Alto Academy

Calar Alto Academy
A new educational initiative, «Calar Alto Academy», has taken its first steps during the spring semester of 2007. More than 40 astronomy students from different Spanish universities have had the chance to perform professional observational work at Calar Alto Observatory, including a real observing experience at the telescope and an introduction to astronomical data reduction.


Calar Alto Academy: POPIA group at telescope control room

The Calar Alto Academy project allows advanced under-graduates and graduate students to experience life at a modern astronomical observatory. Students from Spanish and German universities have here an unique chance to acquire a real life experience on professional observational astronomy, an experience that includes understanding the different observational techniques and strategies, data handling, and data reduction.  

Calar Alto Academy: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid group at 2.2 m telescope dome





The Calar Alto Academy is primarily designed to Astronomy PhD students.  The practical work to be performed by each student is prepared before the actual visit to the Observatory through a close interaction between Calar Alto astronomers, the students, and their professors. The visits include a detailed guided visit to Calar Alto facilities.  Hands-on observations and data reduction are performed by the students themselves, under the supervision of their professors and Calar Alto staff. 
Calar Alto Academy: POPIA group and telescope domes

With the Academy, Calar Alto Observatory continues to offer a chance to young astronomers to obtain the experience that usually they got, in the recent past, when visiting the Observatory to perform observations in visitor mode. Nowadays, because of optimal use of telescope time, an increasing number of programs are executed in remote or service modes. 


Calar Alto Academy: Universidad de Granada group and 3.5 m telescope dome

The pilot season of Calar Alto Academy has been developed during the first semester of 2007. The participant students included groups from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universitat de Barcelona, Universidad de Granada and the joint Master program from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (POPIA). A total of 43 students, distributed into four independent groups, have performed practical work at Calar Alto Observatory. They have returned to their parent institutions with a vivid impression about the real life and work at the observatory, and with direct experience on how modern astronomical observations are planned and performed, and how the resulting data are exploited.


Calar Alto Academy: Universitat de Barcelona group at Calar Alto library

Given the sucess of the first season of Calar Alto Academy, this project will be continued in the near future, in a more formal way including an open call for all potentially interested universities.


© Calar Alto Observatory, May 2007       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.