Courses at Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation

Continuing education completes your conference experience

Learn directly from the experts

Created by leaders in their field, SPIE courses are designed to expand your professional knowledge and skills. Meet and connect with your instructors and your peers. Take what you learn and apply it directly to your work.

Person attending SPIE onsite course about topics in astronomical telescopes and instrumentation

Interested in becoming an SPIE instructor? Propose a course.

SPIE instructors are highly qualified technical experts who have a passion for sharing their knowledge. If you are interested in teaching at Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation, please send a proposed course description to

Course proposal submission deadline: 1 January 2024

View our roster of SPIE short courses to see what we already offer. Learn more about how to submit your idea and become an SPIE instructor with our instructor guidelines.

Preview courses that will be part of the 2024 program

Watch free webinar recordings that preview courses related to Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation. These sessions are part of the SPIE Instructional Webinar series. Click on the name of the course below to expand the information and view each video.

Course previews

View: Functional Based Systems Engineering

Hermine Schnetler of the UK Astronomy Technology Center provides an overview of how functional based systems engineering can be used to create scientific instruments that are fit for purpose.

This webinar also serves as a brief introduction to her half-day, in-person course, Functioned-based Systems Engineering for the Design of Astronomical Instruments and Control Systems Architectures (SC1001).

View: An Overview of Systems Engineering for Astronomy

Jon Arenberg of Northrop Grumman and Paul Lightsey of Ball Aerospace are both chief engineers at NASA's James Webb Telescope, and in this webinar they provide an overview of systems engineering for astronomical systems.

This webinar also serves as a brief overview of their full SPIE course, Systems Engineering and Large Telescope Observatories (SC1139). 

Featured instructors

Hermine Schnetler

Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics

Andrew Sheinis

Head of Instrumentation at Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corp

Jonathan Arenberg

Chief Engineer at Northrop Grumman Corp

Paul Lightsey

Mission Systems Engineer at Ball Aerospace

SPIE Member discounts

SPIE Members receive discounts on courses, which are applied at the time of registration. SPIE Student Members receive even greater discounts on courses, particularly during early registration.

For more information contact

Not an SPIE Member? Purchase Membership with your registration and receive your discount right away.

Frequently asked questions

• Check in at the Registration Desk to get your badge and course ticket.

• Go to the Course Desk.*

• Have your badge scanned and exchange your course ticket for your course materials and the classroom location.**

* The Course Desk is usually in the same location as the Registration Desk. If not, ask the volunteer who checked you in — they will know!

** Your course materials serve as your actual ticket to enter the classroom. Do not go to the classroom without picking up your course materials first. As such, be sure to do this step at least 30 minutes before your first course starts to get to the classroom on time.

Course registrations include a printed copy of the course materials. Some courses may include textbooks. Check the course descriptions for more information.

Yes, most people collect materials for multiple courses at the same time.

Classroom locations are provided on site when you collect your course materials. Locations vary and courses may be held in a different location than the conferences.

We recommend coming to the Course Desk at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the course to give yourself time to collect your materials and walk to your classroom.

As a courtesy to the instructor and other attendees, please arrive at the classroom at least five minutes prior to, but no later than the posted start time.

Course materials can be picked up any time before the scheduled date and time of your course, but it is a good idea to pick them up at least 30 minutes prior. Remember, you will not be allowed access to your classroom without them.

Yes, you may register on site for courses that still have open seats. However, we recommend registering for courses early to ensure you get a seat in the course you want. Courses do fill up, so a seat may not be available. Also, courses without sufficient registration three weeks prior to the event are subject to cancellation.

No, there are no waitlists for courses. Be sure to register early to secure your seat in the course you want.

Sometimes, a course instructor becomes unavailable and needs to cancel their course. Or, if there is an insufficient number of registrations three weeks prior to the conference, SPIE reserves the right to cancel a course.

In either event, you will be contacted by SPIE staff via email.

You will receive a full refund for the course less a $75 USD service charge for processing the refund.

Requests for refunds must be received by the early registration cut-off date.

PLEASE NOTE: All registration fees will be forfeited after this date.

No, the in-person courses will not be recorded. You must take the course on site at the specified time.

No, there is no option to attend an in-person course virtually. The course is not recorded so registrants will not receive a recording after the event. You must take the course on site at the specified time.

SPIE has a broad portfolio of online courses. These courses are versions of our live courses, taught by the same experts, but accessible at a time and place that work for you. But not all of our courses at conferences are available in this format.

To see the current list of online offerings and to get more information, visit SPIE Online Courses.

Yes, SPIE awards digital badges and certificates to participants who attend in-person courses at events. Certificates will be sent via email to attendees approximately eight weeks after the conference has ended.

To receive these digital credentials, you must:

  • Be present for the entire course
  • Complete the course quiz
  • Fill out the course evaluation
  • Fill in your contact information in the space provided
  • Drop the completed quiz and evaluation form in the Course Evaluation Box in the classroom or at the Course Desk

More information about digital credentials can be found at SPIE Badges and Certificates.

If you have more questions about these courses, please contact for assistance.