Call for Observatory Proposals

We invite submissions from BC high-school science departments and teachers for an astronomy project that they propose to undertake with their students using SFU's state-of-the-art Trottier Observatory, which is located at the Burnaby campus.

The observatory houses a 0.7-metre diameter f/6.5 Cassegrain telescope, along with a 16-megapixel cooled camera that can image a wide variety of astronomical objects, and an echelle spectrograph capable of high-resolution stellar spectroscopy. The observatory and all of its subsystems can be run remotely over the web. School groups whose proposals are selected can do their projects either in person at the observatory, or from a remote location such as their school.  SFU will provide experts stationed at the observatory to assist in managing the operation of the facility throughout the project.

Interested science departments should submit a detailed proposal that describes the project to be undertaken, including:

  • the specific astronomical target(s)
  • what kinds of images or spectra are to be taken
  • the number of hours of telescope time needed for the project (including specific dates if required)
  • how the results are to be used or analyzed

Proposals should also include a summary of previous astronomy activities undertaken at the school and any relevant experience of teachers and students.

Telescope time is very competitive, and we will award a maximum of 12 hours of telescope time (which can be spread over several nights), unless a compelling case for more time is made.

Proposed projects can be of an artistic or scientific nature; we do not anticipate that original research can be undertaken under the terms of this program, given the limited telescope time that can be made available, but we welcome proposals that seek to reanalyze or confirm existing scientific measurements.

Proposals should consist of a PDF document of up to 10 pages. For the pilot program, we will select the two best proposals, and telescope time will be made available accordingly. The selected schools will be asked to submit a detailed report on the results of their project, and the reports will be made publicly available on our website.

Proposals should be submitted by email to

Questions concerning this program can be also be emailed to the above address.

Click here to read Howard Trottier's report on the Observatory's echelle spectrograph.

Click here for technical details and capabilities of the Observatory and telescope.