Throughout the last week of April, we have been enthusiastically following the Cassini spacecraft dive between the planet and its rings. NASA’s “Grand Finale Toolkit” is hosting an impressive collection of information and resources from one of the most epic space missions, until its final entry into Saturn's atmosphere on September 15. Stay tuned as our team compiles the best and most highly recommended astronomy education and outreach resources shared by the community.
In this issue, we highlight the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) 2017 Call for Proposals, and the Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) 2018 conference in Japan is open for registration and abstract submission.
Happy reading and clear skies!
The IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach team
1) IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) 2017 Call for Proposals
The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) has released its 2017 Annual Call for Proposals. This call has been altered from previous years’ call to enhance engagement with project leaders and the potential impact of projects. The new call for proposals consists of two application stages. The Stage 1 proposal (due 31 May 2017) is open to proposers from anywhere in the world. Those whose proposals are selected will be invited to submit a comprehensive Stage 2 application.
2) Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) 2018 Opens Registration and Abstract Submission
On 24 – 28 March 2018, Japan will host the world’s largest conference on Astronomy communication: Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2018 (CAP 2018). Professionals from science communication, informal education, planetariums and science centres, as well as professional and amateur astronomers, journalists, and creatives are all invited to attend the event at the brand new Fukuoka City Science Museum to exchange ideas and best practices. The Scientific Organising Committee (SOC) is soliciting proposals for presentations about lessons learnt, resources, studies, and hands-on activities; all under the central theme of Communicating Astronomy in Today's World: Purpose and Methods.
3) IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) Newsletter #16
The IAU OAD Newsletter #16 is now online. It is issued quarterly by the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), and there you can learn about the latest activities of the OAD. Highlights of this issue include the new format of the 2017 OAD Call for Proposals, news of the 9th .Astronomy (dot astronomy) conference in Cape Town in November 2017 at the OAD, and welcoming the OAD's newest staff member, astronomer Dr Vanessa McBride and visiting fellow, astronomer Dr Paul A Wilson.
4) National Outreach Contact (NOC) Corner: News from Indonesia
a) Popular Science Writing Workshop
The Popular Science Writing Workshop was held on April 8, 2017, in Bandung, with participants gathering to learn and develop their science writing skills, mainly focusing on finding a common discourse accessible to the general public: How do we explain technical and complex science in everyday language? The workshop was attended by eleven participants from different levels of education and professions, with interest in microbiology, mathematics, and astronomy. Our NOC, Avivah Yamani conducted a session on the importance of science communication to the public and M. Zaid Wahyudi, on news writing techniques and science articles in accessible language. Both sessions were followed by a hands-on component.
5) National Outreach Contact (NOC) Corner: News from the USA
a) Eighth Annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall
In Washington, DC, on Friday, June 2nd, from 6 to 11 pm, visitors to the nation’s capital will be a given a free, guided tour of the sky at the Eighth Annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall. The Astronomy Festival on the National Mall (AFNM) will feature solar, optical, and radio telescope observations of the Sun, Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn, as well as hands-on activities, demonstrations; a planetarium show with a portable inflatable dome, speakers from the scientific and educational organization, and a chance to mingle with astronomers. The AFNM started in 2010, co-sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology. Last year's festival attracted 8500 attendees.
b) Eclipse Education and Outreach: Volunteers Needed to Help Public Libraries
For 2017 August 21 eclipse, more than 2 000 public US libraries will receive a package of free eclipse glasses with an information booklet on how best to do public outreach. Many libraries will need public-outreach help from astronomers, amateurs, and educators with knowledge of eclipses. In the official website for this initiative, all interested volunteers can find an interactive map showing the participating libraries. Volunteers can also approach the library in your area and contribute to the dissemination of the project.
c) A Shout Across Time
A Shout Across Time is a multimedia experience inspired by Einstein's theories of general relativity, black holes, and gravitational waves, originally part of the "Celebrating Einstein" project at Montana State University. This is a free, public outreach event hosted by CIERA (Northwestern's astronomy centre), combining astronomy visuals, narration, and live classical music performed by students from Northwestern's Bienen School of Music. Weather permitting, attendees will enjoy an outdoor telescope viewing after the show.
Project DarkSkySim aims to design a physical simulator that will demonstrate the effects of light pollution on the starry sky and the difference that well-designed lighting can make by creating a first-hand experience for showing the effect of light pollution as different light fixtures will have a different effect on the number of stars visible. The simulator can be used in exhibition halls, conferences, science museums or any other venue and will provide a superior experience for visitors compared to conventional methods of exhibiting light pollution effects. The purpose is not only to create a single simulator but to provide to the public the full instructions and material list so anyone interested can build such a simulator in their local community.
The Europlanet Newsletter editorial board is looking for interesting news related to outreach and education in the planetary sciences. If you have any outreach news (of events, new resources, updates, competitions, funding opportunities, etc.), please email anita.heward[at]europlanet-eu.org. You can also contribute to Europlanet’s 'Spotlight on Outreach' series. This is a chance to tell the planetary outreach community about your organisation's outreach and education programmes.
8) Euro-Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) Summer School for Science Communication
In partnership with Ecsite and NAMES, the Euro-Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) Summer School for Science Communication was launched in 2013 to respond to the growing number of science centres and science-communication activities around the Mediterranean, particularly in the Middle East.
The objective of this professional training course is to train new leaders for the management of science centres, and scientific and cultural organisations, giving them a strong set of competencies and skills. The Summer School will reinforce participants’ capacities for development while aspiring to strengthen dialogue and exchanges among these organisations.
k) Global Hands-On Universe (GHOU) Conference 2017 with the Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP) International Workshop 2017
Dates: 15-21 August 2017
Location: Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky, US
More Information: http://handsonuniverse.org/ghou2017/
If you are interested in translating our newsletter to your language, please let us know via email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.