Our team has been busy with the Astronomy Translation Network, that currently has more than 110 translators around the world doing translations for thirty different languages. Our NOC Social Media Week continues, already in its 14th week! A huge thank you to our NOCs from Indonesia, Japan, Argentina, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, South Korea, China Taipei, Honduras, Nepal, Armenia, Algeria, Canada and Colombia - we couldn’t do it without the support of our awesome National Outreach Contacts (NOCs) and the community around the world.
In this issue, we highlight the IAU Symposium on “Space Weather of the Heliosphere: Processes and Forecasts” education and outreach initiatives, the upcoming citizen science Globe at Night Campaigns, and ESO’s Virtual Reality Tours.
Last, but not least, we want to thank our community for continuously sharing with us their favourite astronomy outreach and education activities. As 2017 ends, we can't wait to discover what 2018 will bring!
Happy reading and clear skies!
The IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach team
1) IAU highlights Pro-Am Collaborations
In the last two decades, citizen science has seen a rise in visibility and the ability to increase awareness among professional astronomers of the valuable contributions amateur astronomers can make to their research, undertaking long-term observational studies that wouldn’t be feasible within the time allocated at professional observatories. Furthermore, telescopes with small apertures are better suited to some studies. An alternative type of Pro-Amateur (or ‘Pro-Am’) collaboration involves professional astronomers doing follow-up observations based on discoveries made by amateurs. Through iau.org, we wish to curate a list of some ongoing successful Pro-Am collaborations. If you would like to add a project to the list, please contact us: email@example.com.
2) IAU Symposium 335: Education and Outreach Session
The recent IAU Symposium 335 on “Space Weather of the Heliosphere: Processes and Forecasts” held at the University of Exeter in the UK from July 17 to 21 2017 was a great occasion to promote this field of astronomy to the wider local community. The professional astronomers participating in the symposium were given the opportunity to engage in discussing space weather with local students, teachers, and the general public in an active parallel education/public outreach program.
3) National Outreach Contact (NOC) Corner: News from Ethiopia
a) Space Awareness High-Level Workshop
International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development (IAU OAD), European Union Space Awareness project, Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI) and the East African Regional Office of Astronomy for Development conducted a high-level workshop on October 7, 2017, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The workshop brought together stakeholders for an engaged dialogue about the use of space topics for education, outreach, and space technology for sustainable development. The discussions were preceded by a teachers’ workshop in the morning where local teachers had the opportunity to explore best practices and innovative uses of astronomy and space science for education.
Globe at Night is an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure night sky brightness and submit their observations. It's easy to get involved—all you need is a computer or smartphone. So far, in 2017, citizen scientists from around the world have contributed 14,753 data points, but you can still help the GaN team to achieve their goal of collecting over 15,000 data points by year’s end!
5) European Southern Observatory (ESO) launches new Virtual Reality Tours to experience its sites
ESO’s Virtual Tours are a collection of hundreds of 360-degree panorama pictures that can be used for many purposes. ESO’s latest release includes options to view the images in virtual reality mode or 360-degree panoramic mode. You can now use a cell phone with either a standard cardboard virtual reality headset or oculus rift glasses to experience tours of ESO’s facilities in an exciting new way. This latest release also includes new and updated virtual tours of ESO’s observatories and facilities, bringing better functionality on computers and new panoramic views.
6) Latin American Olympiad of Astronomy and Astronautics 2017
The Latin American Olympiad of Astronomy and Astronautics is an interschool scientific meeting between delegations of students from Latin America to share and improve their knowledge about astronomy and astronautics, considering different theoretical and practical competences for the young participants. Its 2017 edition was organized at a national level by the Chilean Society of Astronomy (SOCHIAS). The delegations comprised a maximum of five students, a Leader and Co-Leader (both adults), plus additional observers. Participating countries included Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay Peru, Uruguay, and additionally Panama, with an observer country status.
7) Science Communication at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) 2018
The European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly will be held in Vienna, Austria, from 8 to 13 April 2018. If you are a geoscientist who communicates science in a new and innovative way, if your research group or institution participates in public engagement activities, or if you wish to evaluate or publish your education and outreach efforts, please consider attending. Submit an abstract to EOS6 - Communication and Education in Geoscience: Practice, Research and Reflection: a session that encourages critical reflection on science communication practices and provides an opportunity for science communicators to share best practice and experiences with evaluation and research in this field. The deadline is 10th January 2018.
8) Communicating Physics and Astronomy to a Visually Impaired Audience
The event “Communicating Physics and Astronomy to a visually impaired audience” is a free event that will take place at the Royal Astronomical Society, UK on 14th December, with the goal of leading to the formation of a consortium of people/projects working together to open up physics and astronomy to this underserved community. It will be devoted to presentations during the morning, by different projects, including Tactile Universe, Tactile Collider, Touching Space, g-Astronomy, Grapheel and 'unconference' style. The meeting is open to anyone who is interested in working with members of the visually impaired community, and the expected audience will be a mix of physics researchers and academics, outreach and public engagement professionals, teachers, and informal educators.
If you are interested in translating our newsletter to your language, please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
11) Contributions to this newsletter - looking forward to hearing from you in 2017!
Here at the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach, we are always looking for more news about astronomical education and outreach events around the world. Please continue to share your stories with us in 2017! If you are organising any 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.