Ask the Astronomer


Do your students have tough astronomy questions that you don’t have the background knowledge to answer? Would you like your students to have the opportunity to chat with a professional astronomer? We’ve got you covered! The Dudley Observatory is offering FREE Ask the Astronomer sessions with Dr. Valerie Rapson for grades K-12 through the end of the 19/20 school year. In these 45min Q&A sessions, Dr. Rapson will happily answer any questions about the solar system, stars, galaxies, black holes, aliens, or whatever your students think of. Book one of these enriching digital experiences today!



Who is Dr. Rapson?

Dr. Valerie Rapson is the Director and Astronomer at the Dudley Observatory in Albany, NY. She received a Ph.D. in Astrophysical Sciences and Technology from RIT, and specialized in understanding how planets form around nearby young stars in the Milky Way. She has over 10 years experience conducting outreach and communicating science with K-12 students and the public.

How does it work?

Dr. Rapson will work with you to schedule a time when your students can log in digitally and chat with her as a group. Sessions will last up to 45 min and can be hosted through Skype, Zoom, Google Classroom, or any other digital platform your school is using. Students can ask questions verbally, or type them into a chat box. It’s not necessary to provide Dr. Rapson with any questions ahead of time, though many teachers have found it useful to ask their students to prepare some questions beforehand.

How many students can participate?

The session can hold as many students as your platform allows. Dr. Rapson can set up a Zoom meeting for up to 100 participants, or she can join any digital session set up by the teacher. Sessions work best if the students are around the same grade level.

How do I schedule a session?

Email to check availability and schedule a program. All schools and grade levels are welcome! You don’t have to be a NY state school to participate.

How much does it cost?

To help out our schools during the pandemic, we are offering these sessions FREE of charge (normally $150 per session). This offer is only valid for the rest of the 19/20 school year.