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IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter

December 2016 #1


In this newsletter:

0) From the Editors
1) IAU formally approves 227 star names
2) Japan will host the 2018 Communicating Astronomy with the Public Conference
3) National Outreach Contact (NOC) Corner: News from Japan
4) Getting started with the Faulkes Telescopes
5) European Science Education Academy (ESEA) new training courses
6) European Space Agency (ESA) Star Mapper
7) NASA’s Game Rover app
8) Stellarium
9) Meetings & global events
    a) Recently Added
    b) Upcoming
10) IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter in other languages
11) Contributions to IAU Outreach Newsletter

0) From the Editors

We want to start by congratulating Japan as host of the 2018 Communicating Astronomy with the Public conference (CAP2018), to be held in Fukuoka, from 24 to 28 March. Start making your travel arrangements to visit Japan in 2018 and take part in one of the most exciting science communication events of the year while watching the beautiful Japanese sakura trees in full bloom.

In this issue we highlight the star names now formally approved by the IAU, and hope you enjoy browsing through all 227 of them! We also revisit the great software tool Stellarium and, with 2016 almost at an end, the new training courses by the European Science Education Academy (ESEA) for 2017 are now open.

Finally, we want to send a warm thank you to all of the contributors to this newsletter who have shared with us some of their favorite astronomy education and outreach activities and resources from around the world.

Clear Skies!
The IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach team

1) IAU formally approves 227 star names

In May of this year, the IAU Executive Committee approved the creation of a specialised IAU Working Group — the Working Group on Star Names (WGSN) — to formalise star names that have been used colloquially for centuries. The WGSN has now established a new catalogue of IAU star names, with the first set of 227 approved names published on the IAU website.

Read the original press release on IAU website: 


2) Japan will host the 2018 Communicating Astronomy with the Public Conference

From 24 to 28 March 2018 Japan will host the 2018 Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP2018) conference in the city of Fukuoka. Professional communicators, research astronomers, press officers, science journalists and many more will be exchanging views and experiences during a five-day conference on the latest challenges in astronomy communication and public outreach. 

Learn more: 

3) National Outreach Contact (NOC) Corner: News from Japan

a) UNAWE Space Scoop Comic Contest
The Space Scoop Comic Contest Japan team has announced that they have selected the Japanese winners. The first winner is in the age category 8 to 11 years, and the second one is in the 16 to 18 years category. The best work will be entered into the international contest, the results of which will be announced soon.

For more information about the Japan national contest please visit the web site (in Japanese): 

Update: You can find the results of the international contest here: 

b) Space Scoop Japan
This team, consisting of teachers, science museum staff, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) staff and university staff, translates the Space Scoop English articles into Japanese. The team has already translated more than 200 articles.

You can find the articles here: and here .

4) Getting started with the Faulkes Telescopes

The Faulkes Telescope Project consists of a network of telescopes located around the world, which can be remotely controlled by users from their homes, classrooms or pretty much anywhere. Anyone interested can learn how to use the telescopes by following the simple guidelines provided. There are also some practical activities that will help you discover the amazing things you can do with the images you’ve collected. This collection of thorough guidelines will help you make your own observations, create finished images and do some basic analysis projects with your data. 

You can discover how to start with Faulkes Telescopes here: 

5) European Science Education Academy (ESEA) new training courses

The European Science Education Academy (ESEA) has just released its courses for 2017. These courses will be supported by experts from all over Europe who will help the participants to create more exciting science lessons. From the big ideas of science to learning how to program robots to explore the dusty deserts of Mars — you can find all this and much more in these training courses. 

You can register now via:

6) European Space Agency (ESA) Star Mapper

The ESA Star Mapper visualisation is an exploration of some of the major aspects of astrometric star catalogues, using data from ESA's Hipparcos mission. Astrometry is the science of charting the sky and is one of the oldest branches of astronomy. This visualisation includes 59 921 stars from the Hipparcos Catalogue and the tour is divided into five sections: Apparent Magnitude, Absolute Magnitude, Hertzsprung-Russell, Motion, and Explore, with each section benefitting from a short explanation.

Learn more here: 

7) NASA’s Game Rover app

NASA is looking for Mars Rover drivers! Mars Rover is an app available for Android and iPhone, iPad and Desktop. You can search for water as your game rover climbs up and down hills exploring the surface of Mars. Careful driving is needed, or one crater crash can eliminate you from the game! On the official website you can also find information about how the game rover compares to the real rovers on Mars.

You can download this free app here:

8) Stellarium

Stellarium is a free open-source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just as you see it with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. The default catalogue includes hundreds of thousands of stars and with upgrades it can reach hundreds of millions. It also displays the constellations of ten different cultures as well as illustrations and asterisms.

You can download Stellarium and much more here: 

9) Meetings & global events

Here you can find a list of astronomy outreach & education conferences and events around the world.

a) Recently Added

Data to Dome International Workshop
Date: 2 and 3 December 2017
Location: The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan
More Information:  

b) Upcoming

a) Southeast Asia Astronomical Network (SEAAN) 
Date: 12 and 13 December 2016
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
More Information: 

b) ESO Astronomy Camp
Date: 26 December 2016 to 1 January 2017
Location: Aosta Valley, Italy.
More information:

c) 7th International Festival of Science Visualization — Dome Fest
Date: 5–7 March 2017
Location: Tokyo, Japan
More Information:

d) 10th International Meeting of Astronomy and Astronautics 
Date: 6–8 April 2017
Location: Campos, RJ, Brazil
More Information: 

e) 13th Asian-Pacific Regional IAU Meeting (APRIM 2017)
Date: 3–7 July 2017
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
More Information: 

f) International Symposium on Astronomy and Astrobiology Education
Date: 3–8 July 2017
Location: Utrecht, Netherlands
More Information:

g) International Planetarium Society 2018
Date: 1–6 July 2018
Location: Toulouse, France
More Information: 

Have we missed something? Then share your astronomy outreach and education international meetings or events with us via

10) IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter in other languages

-     Translations into Serbian are available, by Dr. Liliana Gracanin from Serbia: ;
-     Translations into Spanish are available, by the Association of Amateur Astronomers from León, Nicaragua: ;
-     If you want to receive the Japanese newsletter translation, please subscribe to the Japanese Amateur Astronomers Association here: ;
-     Translations into Galician are available, by Agrupación Astronómica Coruñesa Ío, in Spain here:    
-     You can find older issues of this newsletter in Spanish by the Astronomical Spanish Society here:  

If you are interested in translating our newsletter to your language, please let us know via

11) Contributions to IAU Outreach Newsletter for 2016

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 2016! 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

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