One of the great privileges we have, here at the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach, is the international work we get to participate in and the inspiring people we meet along the way whom we are honoured to call our colleagues and friends. Especially in these times, we can see that we are all together in the same spirit of community efforts around the globe. For this issue, we asked our National Outreach Coordinators (NOCs) to share a personal message, as well as a few relevant astronomy outreach projects taking place from the country they represent. We have messages from Haiti, Germany, Tunisia, Morocco, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Trinidad and Tobago, France, Pakistan and Poland, and will share more messages in the first newsletter of May.
Our warm thank you to all NOCs participating!
Wishing you the clearest skies and best of health! Lina Canas & Izumi Hansen, on behalf of the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach Team
1) Carolin Leifke, Germany NOC
“The biggest German-wide astronomy event, coordinated by Germany's national amateur association Vereinigung der Sternfreunde for 18 years now, is the Astronomy Day ("Astronomietag"), which was scheduled for 28 March this year. Because of COVID-19 almost 200 local events have had to be cancelled, but a number of organisers accepted the challenge and took their events online: with live streams, photo and video content, or social media activities, mostly without any previous experience in using these formats on a larger scale. Audience numbers and feedback proved that this approach was successful, and I hope it will spark subsequent activities of the same kind.”
From Germany and thus all in German:
Faszination Astronomie Online:
Live-streamed 30-minute public talks each Tuesday and Thursday at 19 CEST by amateur and professional astronomers from all over Germany, organized by Haus der Astronomie
“We have always fought for the emergence of astronomical science in Haiti despite environmental challenges. Now COVID-19 imposes a new containment for our protection and we still cannot meet without risk (organic this time!). But we adapt to continue the fight for astronomical awareness, just as we did during political confinement. Encouraged from the position of IAU NOC HAITI, this awareness is currently ongoing online to fight against this new type of containment, which is now international.”
“The idea of this project was developed during the coronavirus crises, to help people to stay at home, be safe and at the same time get new knowledge in different astronomical topics as well as have the opportunity to meet, questioning and discussing with experts from different countries.
This project was proof that the love of the stars and astronomy does not know any geographical limit and any borders, even through a hard time like nowadays.”
Resources Astro Talk project:
Talks on different astronomy topics from researchers and specialists 2-3 times a week on Zoom and Facebook
A collaboration between The Tunisian Association of Young Astronomers (Tunisia), The Astronomical Society of Palestine (Palestine) and the High Energy Physics and Astrophysics Club (Morocco) has resulted in the Astro Talk conferences
Special note we are looking for more countries to join and collaborate with us in this project
Workshop for kids:
The Tunisian Association of Young Astronomers has organised two workshops for kids on 25 and 26 April about the retrograde of Mars and using a nocturnal
“Bangladesh currently has no institutional astronomy education anywhere from primary level to tertiary level. Hence, it is very challenging to arrange educational events, workshops, etc. at regular intervals and to have some impact. We can and do hold a public talk whenever some non-resident Bangladeshi and/or a distinguished astronomer visits Bangladesh. With careful planning, we can do some activities that might instil some astronomy awareness among the students. But planning requires strategic and financial partners.”
Resources Astronomy School on Facebook:
Local resource for disseminating astronomy news with many active users
“In regards to astronomy, Cameroon is kept in darkness and we have decided to be the lights and brighten our country by promoting astronomy beyond the borders of our nation. While observing the barrier measures as prescribed by WHO, it is important to rise as a nation with the same visions and use astronomy to promote peace and eloquence through the media. We use this privilege to promote astronomy through international cooperations to collaborate and be lifted by other nations and to lift other nations, too, that are stagnant in astronomy.”
Resources International Astronomy and Astrophysics Competition:
Competition where you can answer astronomy questions and win money and astronomy prizes
WhatsApp has been a main focal point for spreading information
In the submission form, the entry for the ambassador’s name is (Mbonteh Roland Ndunge)
"I always tell my students of astronomy, ‘When you feel down, look up!’ At this challenging, unprecedented time of the pandemic, more than ever we can find comfort and distraction among the stars. The sky has a powerful calming effect. Even with social distancing, you are not alone. Reach for the skies and feel connected with all of humanity.”
Resources “Two Minutes of Wonder’ video series with Shirin Haque:
Made with the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago for high school students and the general public
“Of course, effects of COVID-19 are horrible for the world. We hope that with the joint human efforts it will be eliminated from our planet, soon.
No one could predict when COVID-19 would be eliminated, as it could take two, three or six months, but in this difficult time of isolation and social distancing our government has inaugurated a Teleschool TV channel for the education of students from grades 1 to 12. It may be accessed from the website of public sector TV channel. This will be helpful in making the time of youth more fruitful.”
Resources Educational TV for students in grade 1-12:
Working with the government to create the inaugural Teleschool TV channel
“During time of social isolation and #stayathome (#zostańwdomu), astronomers and astronomical communities in Poland are organising actions to help teachers and students in online classes and giving everyone possibilities to spend his/her time at home in an interesting way and learn more about the Universe.
In normal time these communities often prepare and participate in numerous events like science festivals, seminars, talks, workshops, hands-on activities — now these are live streams, webcasts and similar online actions. For example, if you're an astronomer, you may join Astronomia w Twoim domu (Astronomy at Your Home) for preparing online live streams.”
From Poland and thus in Polish
Astronomia w Twoim domu (Astronomy at Your Home) live streams:
Special action for #stayathome (#zostańwdomu) time has been organised by the Polish Astronomical Society
Scientists talk about interesting astronomical topics and reply to questions asked by an online audience
Streams are broadcasted at Facebook and YouTube on Tuesdays and Thursdays
11) IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter in Other Languages
Interested in translating our newsletter into your language? Please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our newsletter is being translated into the following languages:
Translations into Japanese are available, carried out by Akihiko Tomita through the Astronomy Translation Network: http://bit.ly/2xlNyCR. If you want to receive the Japanese newsletter translation, please subscribe through the Japanese Amateur Astronomers Association (http://www.jaaa-astro.jp/jaaa-ml.html) or the Japanese Society for Education and Popularization of Astronomy (http://www.tenkyo.net/).
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 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: https://vk.com/iau_public_outreach.
12) 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 email@example.com.
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.