2020 Online Astronomy Institute - Module 2: From Pinholes to Space Telescopes

Explore what pinhole viewers and giant telescopes have in common through using lenses to construct a basic model of a telescope. Optical systems - like eyes, cameras, microscopes and telescopes - use lenses (and sometimes mirrors) to collect light and form images of distant objects. What do all these optical systems have in common? Light has to enter some kind of “hole” first. Registration closes August 15. Complete details below.


In this module, we will examine the importance of pinholes and lenses in optical systems. Scaffolded explorations of the properties of both light and lenses will help develop a more complete understanding, culminating in the construction of a simple refracting telescope.

Appropriate for teaching grade levels 3-12.


Dates: October 6 - November 5, 2020

Times: Four live sessions on Tuesdays (October 13, 20, 27, and November 3), 4-5pm Pacific Time (7-8pm Eastern)

NGSS focus:

4-PS4-2: Develop a model to describe that light reflecting from objects and entering the eye allows objects to be seen.

MS-PS4-2: Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.

Details: Each module lasts five consecutive weeks, with 1-hour webinars offered weekly for four of these weeks.  Each module includes a Materials Kit that will be shipped directly to you at the Shipping Address you provide during Checkout. Please note: Shipping is included for the Continental U.S. If your ship-to address is Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or International, we will contact you with the additional shipping fees.

Before the first and between the webinar sessions, you’ll engage in activities on your own time, including posting ideas and opinions in an online forum and engaging in assignments and activities related to the content.  You’ll also get a chance to try out the activities with your classes between the webinars and share your experiences.

Academic credits: Up to two semester units of academic credit available through The University of the Pacific for participants completing all six modules.  Those completing three modules are eligible for one semester unit of academic credit.


Save when you register for 2 or 3 modules.

Fall 2020 Module FEES

$100 per individual module

$180 for 2 module options

$250 for 3 module option

Registration closes August 15, 2020 for Fall Program

You might like one of these:

Module 1: Exploring the Solar System

Module 3: Romancing the Moon

Savings: Module 1,2 - Module 1,3 - Module 2,3 and Modules 1,2, and 3