Year 12 physics students at Denison College Kelso High Campus are participating in a world-first initiative providing real life experience in astronomical research.
As part of their depth study for the Higher School Certificate [HSC], the students are using an international network of telescopes to observe and graph star clusters in space.
The telescopes are part of the Las Cumbres Observatory's [LCO] global network, with observatories situated in the United States, United Kingdom, China, South Africa and Chile.
Kelso High science teacher Lauren Inwood said the project allows students to gain first-hand experience in the field of astronomy.
"The work of each student has the potential to contribute towards the larger scientific body of knowledge around star clusters and galactic archaeology," Ms Inwood said.
"Through this project, students are receiving an insight into the processes qualified astronomers go through in studying an open cluster of stars."
Each student has chosen their own star cluster to observe, and were required to liaise with LCO representatives to request telescopic images.
Year 12 physics student Jeremy Cummings said the project provides a wider context on the universe and its composition.
"This project allows us to formulate our own data and information for a professional report into our findings," Jeremy said.
"As a student, I've never had the opportunity to do something like this before, and it's great to see our research going towards a wider sphere of knowledge."
The students were linked up to the LCO through the efforts of Dr Michael Fitzgerald, a senior research fellow at Edith Cowan University.
Ms Inwood said the students have embraced the project with plenty of enthusiasm, and hopes to expand the project in future years.
"Each student has chosen between two and five star clusters to study, and the work they are producing is of a university standard," she said.
"Depth studies were only introduced to the HSC physics syllabus this year, and it allows students to expand their learning beyond the textbook."