Eso Astronomy Camp 2015


The Solar System and the Extrasolar Planets


Would you like to spend a week on the Italian Alps to do astronomy activities with other friends of your age and become part of a vibrant international community of alumni and astronomers?

Join the ESO Astronomy Camp for a unique experience at the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley!

The camp will explore the theme of the Solar System and exoplanets via several astronomical sessions, including lectures, hands-on activities, and night-time observations with the telescopes of the Observatory, alongside various social activities, winter sports, and excursions. 

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) will be responsible for the final scientific programme for the ESO Astronomy Camp and will provide support with lecturers and material together with the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley  and other European observatories and universities.

Here the full program. Check periodically this page for program updates. 

programme (88.4 KB)

Icon Program (86.8 KB)


The camp is open to maximum 56 secondary school students aged 16-18 (class 1997, 1998 and 1999) from the ESO Member States* and additional ESO Science Outreach Network Countries (ESON)**. A number of places will be available to students from other countries, however they are not eligible to receive bursaries. The working language of the camp will be English. Participants of previous editions can apply, but priority will be given to new applicants. 

* Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom 
** Albania, Australia, Chile, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America. 


The camp will take place at the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley located in Saint-Barthélemy (Nus, Italy) in a natural scenery of unspoiled Alpine beauty, close to some of Europe highest mountains and under a clear sky. The Observatory’s staff has a long experience both in scientific research and educational activities; moreover, the Observatory is equipped with seven telescopes thoroughly devoted to the camp activities.

Camp participants will be accommodated at the hostel of Saint-Barthélemy, situated next to the Observatory and known for its cheerful atmosphere. Supervised bus transportation from the airport of Milan Malpensa to the Observatory will be arranged by organisers.

 Nus  /  The Hostel  /  The Observatory


During the Christmas holidays 2015, from Friday 26 December to Thursday 1 January to take advantage of long nights and enjoy a breath-taking winter Alpine landscape. We will celebrate together New Year's Eve with a traditional dinner and a Star Party.


Safety is the most important point in the organization of a youth camp.
 The ESO Astronomy Camp guarantees:

  • a safe accommodation at the hostel
  • supervision by professionals with experience in youth camps
  • health factsheet and consideration of allergies and dietary requirements
  • "what to bring” factsheet with clear instructions for the needed winter equipment
  • first aid trained staff at the hostel
  • liability insurance for European participants
  • telephone and internet contact with families

Costs and application

The camp fee is 500 euro. 
The fee includes full board accommodation (breakfast, lunch, dinner) at the hostel of Saint-Barthelemy, supervision by professional staff, all the astronomical and leisure activities, material, excursions, internal transports, transport from Milan Malpensa and Linate airport to the Observatory and return (private bus) and insurance.

It does not include pocket money, travel costs from and to Milan Malpensa, (not emergency) phone calls and what it is not listed above.

To register, applicants shall fill the form below and upload a 3 minutes-long video. The video shall be considered as a short presentation to show the applicant's interest to participate to the astronomy camp. The jury will take into account criteria such as: scientific correctness, motivation, originality, diversity and willingness to engage in group activities. For national bursaries applicants may be contacted for a telephone interview.

The video should be in English on the theme "My favourite astronomical object/phenomenon"; the candidate shall feature in the video, speaks English and take into account the evaluation criteria listed above.

Formats allowed: avi, flv, mov, mp4, mkv, wmv. Size: max 40MB. If needed to reduce the video size please follow online tutorials.

The applicant with the best entry for participation at the incontestable discretion of the organisers will win a free trip sponsored by ESO (the complete cost of the camp and transportation to the camp). In addition the following national partners will contribute to the camp fee for the best entries in their countries. Please check periodically this page for the updated list of national sponsoring partners. 

  • Institute of Astronomy, University of Leuven: Belgium 
  • Instrument Centre for Danish Astrophysics, Aarhus University: Denmark 
  • German Astronomical Society: Germany
  • National Institure of Astrophysics (INAF): Italy
  • NOVA, the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy: Netherlands
  • Polish Astronomical Society and Polish Children's Fund: Poland 
  • Ciência Viva: Portugal
  • Center for the Promotion of Science: Serbia
  • Spanish Astronomical Society: Spain
  • Swedish Astronomical Society: Sweden
  • University of Geneva: Switzerland
  • Eyuboglu High School: Turkey
  • Royal Astronomical Society: United Kingdom 

Registrations will close on 4 October. Winners of the financial support and general acceptance will be communicated by 16 October. The final registration is due by 30 October. 

The application doesn’t imply any obligation to register in case the applicant is selected (with or without financial support).

If registrations will exceed the number of available places, acceptance will be based on the following criteria:

  • registration date 
  • fair country representation 
  • new applications


For more information about the programme, how to reach Saint Barthélemy, the selection process, the supervision and any other questions you might have about the camp: 

Cristina Olivotto - Sterrenlab 
Tel: +41 76 4001378  

For more information about ESO and the concept of the ESO Astronomy Camp:

Oana Sandu - ESO education and Public Outreach Department 
Tel: +49 89 320 069 65  

What previous participants say about the ESO Astronomy Camp

"An amazing, life changing camp! I never wanted to go home, I made so many friends and learned so much throughout the week. I know I will be keeping touch with everyone from the camp as these are life long friends. Thank you again everyone!"  (participant)

"Most amazing people, most amazing campus, most amazing week! Can we all go back and do it again next year???" (participant)

"One very positive point is, from our point of view, that our daughter has not only learned more about her hobby, astronomy, but also has found friends from around the world — even if Whatsapp reports now every second 24/7." (parent)

"The experience was incredible, so many brilliant boys and girls from around the world working together was fascinating. It gave me a new hope about our future!” (F. Ballesteros, University of Valencia, visiting astronomer)

"I am so impressed with the standard of all the entries this year, and the sheer passion and enthusiasm for astronomy that has really shone through."  (N. Hollingworth, Public Engagement Manager, STFC, supporting organization)

Article about the Camp