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IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter

#2 March 2020 — Online Resources Special Edition

In this newsletter:

0) From the Editors
1) Astronomy Resources for Students, General Public, and Educators
2) Citizen Science Projects
3) Stay at Home With the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach #AstroAtHomeChallenge
4) Volunteer with the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development
5) Refresh Your Astronomy Knowledge With Online Resources
6) Skype a Scientist
7) Online Resources for Teachers and Outreach Professionals
8) Apply to be a Global Sky Partners with Las Cumbres Observatory

9) Online Sessions for the Public
10) IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter in Other Languages
11) Contributions to IAU Outreach Newsletter

0) From the Editors

Dear friends and colleagues,

In light of the growing COVID-19 pandemic, we at the OAO are joining together with the other International Astronomical Union offices with the following message:

A Call to Action from the International Astronomical Union Offices

This is an urgent call to action during this unprecedented global pandemic, as the world struggles to contain the spread of COVID-19. We need to do whatever we can to help tackle this pandemic as well as its collateral effects on society.

We believe the astro and broader science community has a wide range of expertise and resources which could help the current situation. Thus, we would like to enable people to actively contribute their skills (data skills, communications expertise, coding, visualization, etc.). To help everyone cope with the prolonged times being spent indoors, we are also gathering digital astronomy resources and fun activities you can do at home to keep you and any children at home occupied and entertained.

Best wishes,
IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach (OAO)
IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD)
IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE)
IAU Office for Young Astronomers (OYA)

This newsletter will include some of the resources gathered through this call to action. If you are interested in adding to the resources, please add fill out this Google form.

Wishing you the clearest skies and good health!
Lina Canas & Izumi Hansen, on behalf of the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach Team


1) Astronomy Resources for Students, General Public, and Educators

The offices of the IAU are compiling a list of astronomy-related resources for students, the general public, and educators. A number of the resources are listed in this newsletter and you are welcome to submit your suggestions for the. You can find the full list as it is updated at the following links:

Google Doc:
IAU Office for Astronomical Outreach website:

2) Citizen Science Projects

Help researchers gather or process data through a slough of citizen science opportunities. Check some out below.

Gravity Spy:
LIGO E-lab:
Space Warps:
Planet Hunters:
Planet Four: Terrains:
The Great World-Wide Star Count:
Agent Exoplanet:
NASA Citizen Science projects:
Galaxy Cruise

4) Stay at Home With the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach #AstroAtHomeChallenge

he IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach will be hosting weekly astronomy challenges on social media. The challenge this week? Try a citizen science project for 30 minutes a day. Tell us what you discovered on social media with the hashtags #AstroAtHomeChallenge #IAUoutreach and we’ll share some of the coolest discoveries when the challenge is finished. We will be setting up new challenges every week.

Follow our challenges here:
IAU OAO Facebook:
IAU OAO Twitter:

5) Volunteer with the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development

You can volunteer your skills remotely to help the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD).

Sign up through the volunteer mailing list here:

If you have a task that needs volunteers, speak to the OAD regional office in your area or contact us (info[at] to get the task listed on the IAU OAD Volunteer Webportal.

IAU OAD Volunteer Webportal:

6) Refresh Your Astronomy Knowledge With Online Resources

A number of online resources can help you refresh your astronomy knowledge. Here are some resources that could be of use:

Free textbook aimed for introductory college-level astronomy
Senior authors include Andrew Fraknoi, David Morrison, and Sidney Wolff
Made in collaboration with the OpenStax Project at Rice University

Cambridge University Press
Various higher education textbooks
Free access online until the end of May 2020

Astronomy MOOCs on various platforms
Most courses are free college-level courses online

Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures
Well-known scientists discuss astronomy in everyday language

7) Skype a Scientist

Skype a Scientist organises meetings between classrooms and scientists and holds online talks with scientists for the general public, with a number of public events lined up through May. They welcome scientists from any discipline to sign up to talk with students around the globe.

More information here:

8) Online Resources for Teachers and Outreach Professionals

A number of us are moving online, if we haven’t already, and need to transition from in-person to online work. A number of resources for this transition, as well as professional development, are available.

PhysPort guide to moving physics/astronomy courses online:

Coronavirus Tech Handbook:

Information and resources for online teaching from the American Astronomical Society:

Free professional development courses through European Schoolnet Academy:

8) Apply to be a Global Sky Partners with Las Cumbres Observatory

Las Cumbres Observatory is accepting applications for new educational partners to join their Global Sky Partners programmes. They are looking for “people and groups with interesting, engaging, and innovative ideas for educational projects in astronomy” that can utilise the LCO 0.4m robotic telescope network. The application deadline is 17 April 2020 and projects must run between 1 June 2020 and 31 May 2021.

For the application and more information, click here:

9) Online Sessions for the Public

There are several online sessions to learn more about astronomy coming up. Check out a few here:

a) Discover the Universe
Primary school students
Online education sessions

b) US National Air and Space Museum Facebook Live Chat
Every Thursday at 1 pm EDT
Kids, students, and air and space enthusiasts
A different expert answers questions each week
More information:

c) Solar Week
23-27 March 2020
For grades 5-9 or ages 9-14
Ask scientists your questions about the Sun, solar events, solar energy, and NASA solar missions.
More information:

d) Global Astronomy Month
April 2020
All ages
Various online events hosted by Astronomers Without Borders
More information:

Share your online astronomy outreach events with us via

10) IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter in Other Languages

Interested in translating our newsletter into your language? Please let us know via

Our newsletter is being translated into the following languages:

Translations into Japanese are available, carried out by Akihiko Tomita through the Astronomy Translation Network: If you want to receive the Japanese newsletter translation, please subscribe through the Japanese Amateur Astronomers Association ( or the Japanese Society for Education and Popularization of Astronomy (

Translations into (European) Portuguese are available, carried out by Catarina Leote, João Ferreira & Jonas Souza through the Astronomy Translation Network (ATN) Portuguese Language Group (the previous issue can be found here).

Translations into Spanish are available by Emílio Zuniga, the Association of Amateur Astronomers from León, Nicaragua:;

Translations into Galician are available by Martin Pawley, Agrupación Astronómica Coruñesa Ío, in Spain here:;    

Translations into Serbian are available by Dr Liliana Gracanin from Serbia:;

Translations into Italian are available by Eleonora Piromalli, AstronomiAmo, from Italy here:;

Translations into Russian are available by Artem Mokhnaktin, Central Astronomical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Pulkovo. You can find the latest translations of the newsletter here.  

11) Contributions to the IAU Outreach Newsletter—looking forward to hearing from you in 2020

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 2020! 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 

You can send us your suggestions until the 4th (for issue #1) and the 17th (for issue #2) day of each month. We are looking forward to hearing from you.


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