As we mentioned in our previous issue, we have an exciting year ahead of us! We want to send a shout out for collaborations in our Astronomy Translation Network: collaborate with us by translating texts about worthwhile activities into your language. In 2018, challenge your community to start thinking about 2019’s one hundred years of IAU (IAU100) and the ten years that have passed since the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009). Preparations start now!
In this first issue of 2018, we want to start by highlighting some of 2017’s IAU latest projects: Hands in the Stars and New Star Names approval. In 2018 we are also looking forward to IAU meetings that will take place around the world, with special focus on the General Assembly that will be held in Austria, this upcoming August. Many of these meetings have a strong outreach and education component dedicated to the community, so stay tuned for IAU-related activities happening near you!
Last, but not least, this year our office will continue bringing you the latest news from the community. We start 2018 by highlighting 365 Days of Astronomy, GalileoMobile projects, and ALMA animated series.
Happy readings and clear skies!
The IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach Team
1) Hands in the Stars: The First International Comparative List of Astronomical Words in Sign Languages
The first international comparative list of astronomical words in sign languages is now available. As part of this proposal, the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Astronomy for Sign Languages has been translated into English and Spanish and is now available online. This is the result of a long-term project developed by the IAU Commission C1 Education and Development of Astronomy and its WG3 Astronomy for Equity and Inclusion. The new list currently includes 47 words most commonly used in education.
2) IAU Approves 86 New Star Names From Around the World
Traditionally, most star names used by astronomers have come from Arabic, Greek, or Latin origins. Now, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Division C Working Group on Star Names (WGSN) has formally approved 86 new names for stars drawn from those used by other cultures, namely Australian Aboriginal, Chinese, Coptic, Hindu, Mayan, Polynesian, and South African. The International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Star Names formally approved 86 new names for stars, which are now in the IAU stellar name catalogue. The catalogue now contains the approved names of 313 stars.
3) IAU General Assembly, Meetings and Symposia for 2018
IAU’s program of scientific meetings is one of the most important means by which the IAU pursues its goal of promoting the science of astronomy through international collaboration. With rich programs for local communities, the IAU General Assemblies, Meetings, and Symposia try to maximise the impact in the community that welcomes the meetings, and promote meaningful exchanges between astronomers, informal educators, and outreach professionals about how to bring different areas of astronomy to the community and the general public. In 2018 we highlight the General Assembly that will occur in Vienna, Austria, from August 20 to 31.
4) IAU OAD Astronomy Outreach for Development: Planetarium Content Development
Planetariums play a key role in Astronomy and Science outreach. But content for planetariums is typically produced in developed countries. Thus the Naval Hill Planetarium in South Africa is developing new content that is culturally relevant and that speaks to the needs of the local population as well as focuses on Southern African astronomical projects of international stature. In addition, the project is developing the capacity to produce its own content, thereby making the planetarium less reliant on expensive licenses. In 2017, the project team held multiple training and skills transfer sessions. The next step is translation of content into local languages such as Sesotho and possibly Xhosa.
5) Season 10 of 365 Days Of Astronomy: The Year of the Everyday Astronomers
It’s time for season ten of the award-winning 365 Days Of Astronomy podcast. The team will embrace 2018 with a new theme: Amateur Astronomer contributions and the importance of citizen science with the Year of Everyday Astronomers. 365 Days of Astronomy is actively seeking contributed content on the history of astronomy, the latest news, observing tips, and how fundamental knowledge in astronomy has changed our paradigms of the world, as well as accepting audio content anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes long. The 365 Days of Astronomy podcast is a production of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and it includes content created by volunteers from around the globe.
On November 10, 2017, three members of the GalileoMobile travelled to the north of Chile for one week of astronomy-outreach activities in the region of Coquimbo, around la Serena. La Serena is a coastal city in the margins of the Atacama desert and is usually the first place astronomers arrive when they’re heading to the close-by international observatories of Gemini, Las Campanas, Tololo, and La Silla. In collaboration with the local outreach project Astroclub, GalileoMobile visited several villages and organized hands-on activities in rural schools as well as star parties for the community.
The ALMA astronomical observatory launched a new series of short animations to explain Why Astronomers Want to Use ALMA #WAWUA. This series consists of five episodes, each two minutes long, released weekly on the ALMA website. These videos provide a simple, hands-on explanation of the technology and science behind ALMA. With original, colorful drawings, these short videos delve into seemingly difficult concepts such as interferometry, astrochemistry, electromagnetic spectrum, cold Universe, stardust, complex molecules, and wavelength.
Scale Solar Systems are popular around the world as a resource to engage with the public in a fun unconventional way. Inspired by a national Portuguese project submitted to our newsletter during 2017, our readers provided with other examples! Mitaka Solar System Walk in Japan is a good example of the fruitful collaboration between the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the local community. The Carl Sagan Center has the (permanent) Sagan Planet Walk on the U.S. mainland’s East Coast. It reaches Hawai’i the alpha Centauri station at `Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai`i (close to the Subaru base facility) and In Hawai`i, there is a Solar System Walk day in Autumn in Waimea (northern part of the Hawaii Island). We welcome you to share with us a Scale Solar System close to your community via email@example.com!
9) Meetings and Global Events in 2018
Here you can find a list of astronomy outreach & education conferences and events around the world. Plan ahead for a year full of interesting events!
If you are interested in translating our newsletter to your language, please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
11) Contributions to the IAU Outreach Newsletter—looking forward to hearing from you in 2018
Here at the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach, we’re always looking for news about astronomical education and outreach events around the world. Please continue to share your stories with us in 2018! If you are organising large-scale events at a regional or international level, offering astronomy education or communication job positions, have any innovative projects or inspiring stories, looking for professional–amateur collaboration in astronomy, or have created any educational resources, let us know by sending an email to email@example.com.