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CESAR (Cooperation through Education in Science and Astronomy Research) is a joint educational programme developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) and Ingeniería y Servicios Aeroespaciales (INSA).
Its objective is to provide students from European secondary schools and universities with hands-on experience in Astronomy research in general and in Radio Astronomy and Optical Astronomy in particular. CESAR´s educational projects should not only be of didactic value but should produce also real scientific results within the framework of its limited resources. In addition, as secondary objective, CESAR shall contribute with outreach activities to promote Space Science and to stimulate European student´s interest in Science and Technology in general and Astronomy in particular.
CESAR counts currently with one 15m radio telescope at ESA´s European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) and one 50cm optical telescope at ESA´s satellite tracking station near Cebreros, in Spain. Another 30cm telescope is currently being prepared to be installed at the visitor centre of the NASA satellite tracking station in Robledo. Furthermore, there are two 9cm Coronado solar telescopes available which will be installed at ESAC and the Robledo visitors centre.
These instruments are the core of the so-called CESAR Observatory which is hosted by ESAC and serve as a control centre to operate all equipment remotely from one single place.
At a later stage, it is planned to provide web-access control to schools and universities through the Internet, so that they can carry out their scientific projects remotely.
It is also foreseen to set up a network of partner telescopes willing to join this initiative and donate observing time of their instruments to didactical and scientific programmes. The first to join will most probably be the PARTNER radio telescope situated at the NASA Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex.
European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Villafranca