Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 5 sessions / week, 7 hours / session


For five full weeks in the summer, students in the 9–11th grades come to MIT's campus to participate in the Chandra Astrophysics Institute (CAI). They develop employable communication and collaboration skills, and gain a science/technology background. They do so by investigating astronomical systems with guidance from MIT educators and researchers. Past projects have included supernova explosions, black holes, and colliding galaxies.

Special note to educators:

For each activity listed, the CAI instructor has created a section for educators called "Teachers' Tricks and Tips." These notes are designed to give guidance to those educators who wish to use these materials in their classrooms or programs.


There are no grades for this course.

The Program

The Chandra Astrophysics Institute (CAI) is intended for students from a wide range of academic backgrounds with a limited opportunity to directly experience authentic science. They may be interested in exploring a science career, or looking to develop research, technology and collaboration skills valuable for college or work in any field.

The CAI is a year-long program to train for and take part in authentic astronomy projects. Participants build employable research, technology and collaboration skills, and background knowledge necessary to understand how research science is done. Investigations of different astronomical systems are undertaken during a five week summer session at MIT. Participants then apply these skills to undertake research projects in X-ray astronomy. Projects are mentored by researchers and educators and are based on observations made with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

We sum up our goals for the program with an "if...then..." statement of change: If we provide an opportunity for interested, motivated students to learn enough astronomy and successfully undertake a year-long research project, then those students will have a more complete understanding of the way science really works, and will value its application in their everyday and professional life.