Eso Astronomy Camp 2015


The Exoplanets


Would you like to spend a week in the Italian Alps doing 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 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.

Below you can find a draft programme. Please check this webpage regularly for updates.


The camp is open to a maximum of 56 secondary school students aged 16-18 (born in 2000, 2001 and 2002) 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 will not be 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, 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 natural scenery of unspoiled Alpine beauty, close to some of Europe’s highest mountains and under clear skies. The Observatory’s staff has a long experience both in scientific research and educational activities; moreover, the Observatory is equipped with seven telescopes 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 between the airport of Milan Malpensa and the Observatory will be arranged by the organisers.


 Nus  /  The Hostel  /  The Observatory


During the Christmas holidays 2018, from Wednesday 26 December to Tuesday 1 January to take advantage of the long nights and enjoy a breath-taking winter Alpine landscape. We will celebrate New Year's Eve together with a traditional dinner and a Star Party.


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

  • 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 of the required winter equipment
  • first aid trained staff at the hostel
  • liability insurance for European participants
  • telephone and internet contact with families



TThe camp fee is 550 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 transport including transfers between Milan Malpensa airport and the Observatory (private bus) and insurance.
It does not include pocket money, travel costs to and from Milan Malpensa, (non-emergency) phone calls and anything not listed above.

To apply, students should complete the form below and upload a 3-minute video. The video shall be considered as a short presentation to show the applicant's interest in participating in the astronomy camp.

The jury will take into account criteria such as:

  • English proficiency
  • Scientific correctness
  • Motivation to participate
  • Enthusiasm
  • Creativity
  • Willingness to engage in group activities
  • Diversity

The video should be in English on the theme "I would like to invent/discover... because"; the candidate must feature in the video, speak English and take into account the evaluation criteria listed above.

Formats allowed: avi, flv, mov, mp4, mkv, wmv. Size: max 40MB. If it is necessary to reduce the file size of your video, please follow online tutorials.


The applicant from an ESO member state 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, several national partners will also provide support to the best applications from a student residing in their respective countries.

  • NOVA, the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy: Netherlands
  • Polish Astronomical Society and Polish Children's Fund: Poland
  • Royal Astronomical Society: United Kingdom 
  • Swedish Astronomical Youth Association: Sweden
  • Katholieke Univesiteit Leuven: Belgium
  • Eyuboglu High School: Turkey
  • German Astronomical Society: Germany
  • INAF: Italy
  • Societdad Espanola de Astronomia: Spain
  • Ciencia Viva: Portugal
  • MTA CSFK Konkoly Observatory: Hungary

Please consult the Camp web page as this list is being updated regularly.

Applications will close on 01 October at 23:00 CET. Winners of the financial support and general acceptance will be communicated by 19 October. The final registration is due by 26 October.
An application does not imply any obligation to register in the case that the applicant is selected (with or without financial support).
If applications exceed the number of available places, acceptance will be based on the following criteria:

  • application video
  • fair country representation 
  • diversity (age, gender, nationality)




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: 


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



Lara Polo - Sterrenlab 
Tel: +39 347 4909437  

Tania Johnston - ESO education and Public Outreach Department 
Tel: +49 89 320 061 30

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