Twinkle’s education programme (EduTwinkle) aims to foster links between space exploration and British schools, increase girls’ uptake of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects at A-level and higher education and to widen participation at universities from under-represented communities.

If you would like to find out more about ORBYTS or talks and workshops for school groups on Twinkle and exoplanets, please contact or fill in this form.

Original Research By Young Twinkle Students (ORBYTS)

ORBYTS links young PhD and post-doc scientists with groups of secondary school students to work on original research associated with the Twinkle mission.


The first ORBYTS group – in front of UCL’s Portico

Current ORBYTS Programmes (2016-2017)
Students from Highams Park School, Westminster City School and Highgate School are currently participating in ORBYTS programmes. Three alumni of the ORBYTS pilot programme (see below) are acting as student group leaders at Highams Park School.

The ORBYTS students are compiling thousands of data points for molecules of astronomical interest (acetylene, titanium oxide, methane) for modelling the atmospheres of cool stars and exoplanets.

Upcoming ORBYTS Programmes
UCL’s Widening Participation Agenda is supporting a residential ORBYTS Summer School for 30 students in Year 12 from 7-11 August 2017. Applications for the ORBYTS Summer School 2017 are now open:

Eligibility requirements for students to participate in this Widening Participation programme are given here:

Past ORBYTS Programmes
ORBYTS projects to date have focused on molecular astrophysics. The pilot programme, which ran from January to July 2016, linked fifteen students aged 16-18 from Highams Park School with mentors from UCL to work on developing the molecular data for acetylene (C2H2), titanium oxide (TiO) and methane (CH4). The first paper on this work was accepted for publication in December 2016 by a peer-reviewed journal (Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series) with three students from Highams Park School listed as co-authors.

Involving students in state-of-the-art research from an early age eliminates the idea that science is ‘only for scientists’ and empowers young people to explore STEM subjects. It is also a great opportunity to dispel harmful stereotypes about who is suitable for STEM careers, while leaving students feeling invested in modern science.

17 January 2017 – Opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate ORBYTS tutors

Want to help create scientific knowledge and work with a space mission while gaining teaching experience and being paid? We are looking for enthusiastic undergraduate and post-graduate physicists to be assistant tutors or tutors for our ORBYTS programme to characterise exoplanetary atmospheres through spectroscopy. Good knowledge of atomic and molecular physics/ spectroscopy is essential. Undergraduates will work with more experienced researchers, while PhD students will take charge of their own team with support provided. Previous teaching experience a bonus but not essential.

Positions are expected to arise periodically as the ORBYTS program expands, in a variety of geographical locations around the UK with different time commitments. For PhD students, we can assist in starting and funding ORBYTS program in schools in their local area.

Please email for more information and to send applications. For applications, please include a brief cover letter highlighting why you want to be involved in the program and a CV including your recent exam results and any previous teaching experience.

EduTwinkle Partnerships

EduTwinkle is working with Researchers In Schools (RIS) teacher training and professional development programme, and is developing partnerships with the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) and the Spacelink Learning Foundation.