IAU Outreach Newsletter

March 2014

In this newsletter:

  1. A word from the new IAU-OAO officer (1st April start)
  2. Reminder: Global Astronomy Month (April 2014)
  3. IAU OAD astroEDU Reviewed by “Physics World”
  4. IAU-OAD sponsored “Astronomy for the Public” projects
  5. StarPeace Annual Report 2013
  6. IAU-OAD funded Documentary on Astronomy Research in India
  7. The BICEP2 experiment announces detection of gravitational waves
  8. 2014 “Astronomy Night on the National Mall”, Washington DC, USA (6 June 2014)
  9. Workshop on Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics in Vietnam (7 – 11 April 2014)
  10. 44th Young European Radio Astronomers Conference (registration opens 24 March 2014)
  11. Updated Resource Guide to Science Fiction with Good Astronomy
  12. Astro Edu Alliance Meeting in September 2014 (Portugal)
  13. UNAWE Activities on cultural astronomy: a case Study at Scifest 2014
  14. UNAWE-UNESCO Mobil for Central America
  15. Upcoming events

Please send your input to Sze-leung Cheung (IAU International Outreach Coordinator) at cheungszeleung@iau.org for the next newsletter which will be sent out on Friday 25th of April 2014.

 

1) A word from the new IAU-OAO officer (1st April start)

Greetings! This is Sze-leung Cheung, the newly appointed IAU International Outreach Coordinator, I have just landed in Tokyo, Japan and will officially take up the position at IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO) since April 1. So, I will take over the editorship of this OAO newsletter from my fellow colleagues at the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), and I would like to take this opportunity to thanks OAD for the efforts to keep this newsletter running. It is an exciting and challenging time for me, I am so glad to get on-board. If you have any suggestion on this newsletter, please feel free to write me at cheungszeleung@iau.org.

 

2) Reminder: Global Astronomy Month (April 2014)

The Global Astronomy Month (GAM), organized each April by Astronomers Without Borders (AWB, astronomerswithoutborders.org), is the world's largest global celebration of astronomy. GAM 2014 will bring new ideas and new opportunities, again bringing enthusiasts together worldwide to celebrate Astronomers Without Borders' motto “One People, One Sky”. For the Program Schedule, please visit http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/gam2014-programs/program-schedule-2014.html.

 

3) IAU OAD astroEDU Reviewed by “Physics World”

Taken from the March 2014 issue of Physics World:

“In the past few years, we've used this column to publicize many excellent teaching resources on the Web, including repositories for experiments on earth science, quantum physics and general science. AstroEDU is a newcomer to the "online science activity database" category, having posted its first tranche of astronomy-themed projects in autumn 2013. But aside from its novelty and its focus on astronomy, what sets it apart is its commitment to peer review. In fact, all of the activities on the site have been vetted and approved by two reviewers – one astronomer and one educator.”

Read more: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/indepth/2014/mar/13/web-life-astro-edu

 

4) IAU-OAD sponsored “Astronomy for the Public” projects

Read about the IAU-OAD “Astronomy for the Public” projects sponsored for 2014:

  • Documentary Series on Astronomy Research in India
  • Communication and (social) media skills for young astronomers
  • Nanotarium: The Most Inexpensive, Quality DIY Planetarium on Earth
  • Yunnan Minority Regions Astronomical Popularization Footprint Map Plan
  • Accessible Citizen Science for the Developing World
  • Training of Policy Makers in Ethiopia
  • Coordinating Astronomy for Public Outreach in Viet Nam (Phase 2)

More information at http://www.astro4dev.org/funded-projects-2014/tf3-funded-projects/

 

5) StarPeace Annual Report 2013

From Irene Shivaei (StarPeace, www.starpeace.org):

StarPeace was born in 2008 with a simple idea: organizing public star parties for people who live at the borders of countries. The world need voices to end the wars, and StarPeace is one of these voices. Selected by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO as one of the Special Projects of IYA, the project still continues its outreach activities after about five years.

In 2013, StarPeace organised its annual events, but also initiated new projects. It held 30 Nights of StarPeace, collaborating with Astronomers Without Borders ­(April 2013), continued “A Window to Earth” project by publishing a note by Bruce McCandless, former NASA astronaut, organizing a “Wave at Saturn” public star party in Brazil and Iran (when the Cassini spacecraft took a picture of our home planet ­in July 20, 2013), held an observing night on the roof of United Nations local offices in Iran and Afghanistan for the International Day of Peace and held a similar event with UN representatives in Nepal ­on September 23, 2013. Star Peace also held a “Window to Earth” photo exhibition in the city of Tabriz and quake ­stricken village of Varzeghan in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran ­in September 2013.

In 2014, StarPeace along with the ongoing activities, will focus on attracting more active groups to improve its events across the world. Peace will happen only by working together and standing by each other! For more information please visit www.starpeace.org.

 

6) IAU-OAD funded Documentary on Astronomy Research in India

From Rakesh Rao (www.astroproject.in):

One of the oldest science known to the mankind is Astronomy. Over the decades, Astronomy has evolved from bare naked eye observation to the use of advanced telescopes on ground and in space. In India, from Aryabhatta (5 AD) to Meghnad Saha, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Vikram Sarabhai to Jayant Narlikar, their contribution has immensely influenced and revolutionized the concepts of the Universe today.

The documentary series on Astronomy Research in India aims to record and document the various aspects of research and development in the field of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science in India as well as highlight the facilities in terms of research laboratories, observatories and state of the art instrumentation.

The series shall highlight the research work undertaken in premier institutions in India like Physical Research Laboratory, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Inter University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics, National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Indian Space Research Organisation and several others. On successful completion of the documentary series, an extensive popularization event in participation with several stakeholders like research institutions, educational institutes and departments and other scientific organizations shall be conducted. Major target areas would be Schools, Colleges, Universities, Conferences and other public gatherings, through this we look forward in creating awareness among the masses and specifically the young scientific minds of our country and inspire them to take up Astronomy research. We are currently looking for support, funding, partners & volunteers for the successful completion of the project. Please email us at rakprao@gmail.com.

For more information, please visit www.astroproject.in or http://www.astro4dev.org/blog/category/tf3/docu-research-india/.

 

7) The BICEP2 experiment announces detection of gravitational waves

The detection of gravitational waves by the BICEP2 experiment at the South Pole supports the cosmic inflation theory of how the universe came to be. The discovery, made in part by Assistant Professor Chao-Lin Kuo and his colleagues at the BICEP2 experiment, represents the first images of gravitational waves, or ripples in spacetime. These waves have been described as the "first tremors of the Big Bang." This discovery supports the theory of cosmic inflation, developed by Stanford's Professor Andrei Linde, amongst others.

Read more at: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/march/physics-cosmic-inflation-031714.html

Watch as Assistant Professor Chao-Lin Kuo breaks the news to Professor Andrei Linde: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlfIVEy_YOA.

For a cartoon explanation of the cosmic inflation theory by Jon Kaufman and Jorge Cham: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive/phd031914s.gif

 

8) 2014 “Astronomy Night on the National Mall”, Washington DC, USA (6 June 2014)

From Dr. Donald Lubowich (Coordinator of Astronomy Outreach, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY):

Astronomers, astronomy educators, amateur astronomers, astronomy clubs, colleges, universities, planetariums, science museums, and astronomy/aerospace organizations are invited to participate in the “2014 Astronomy Night on the National Mall” that will take place on Friday, 6th of June 2014, from 6 - 11 pm at the Washington Monument (NE, 15th Street and Constitution Avenue). The Space Telescope Science Institute will be providing information about the Hubble Space Telescope discoveries and astronomy organizations will distribute handouts and demonstrate hands-on activities. There will be telescope observations of the Sun, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn (all visible on the 6th of June). Hofstra University is contributing torwards the park permit, park police, cleanup costs, rental of tables, chairs, generator, and a limited number of parking. Nearby parking at the Ronald Reagan Building is $13.00 from 5 pm – midnight and a motel next to the University of Maryland will be available for $80 per night. A 3D video of the 2013 event is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEm1l7sJgHQ.

If you would like to participate, please contact Dr. Donald Lubowich at Donald.lubowich@hofstra.edu as soon as possible.

 

9) Workshop on Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics in Vietnam (7 – 11 April 2014)

A Workshop on Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics will take place from April 7th to 11th, 2014 on the premises of the Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology of Ha Noi, Vietnam. The main purpose of the workshop is to exchange information on ongoing and future research projects and to foster closer contacts and possible future collaborations.

For more information, please contact the VATLY (Vietnam Auger Training Laboratory) team at dieppn@vinatom.gov.vn or visit http://www.inst.gov.vn/Vatly/Vatly.htm.

 

10) 44th Young European Radio Astronomers Conference (registration opens 24 March 2014)

Toruń Centre for Astronomy at the Nicolaus Copernicus University will host the 44th Young European Radio Astronomers Conference (YERAC) that will take place between 8 and 12 September, 2014. YERAC has been held annually since 1968 and has enabled many graduate students and new postdocs or other workers in radio astronomy to meet each other and present their current work.

This year we will continue the tradition of giving the early-career scientists an opportunity to present their research. We encourage all participants to give a talk about some aspect of their work. Participation is by recommendation. Supervisors/directors of institutes are asked to nominate their students and provide a supporting letter. Registration opens on 24 March 2014.

For more information please visit http://yerac2014.astro.uni.torun.pl/ or the organizing committee at yerac2014@astro.umk.pl.

 

11) Updated Resource Guide to Science Fiction with Good Astronomy

A revised and updated resource guide to science fiction stories with good astronomy and physics is now available at the educational website of the non-profit Astronomical Society of the Pacific: http://www.astrosociety.org/education/resources/scifi.html

This edition of the guide includes over 270 stories organized into more than 40 topical categories. For the first time, it gives the URLs for a number of stories that are available free on the Web. All the listed stories could be used for class supplements or recommending to interested audiences.

 

12) Astro Edu Alliance Meeting in September 2014 (Portugal)

The Astronomy Education Alliance Meeting will take place in Cascais, Portugal between 8 and 12 September 2014, and co-hosted by the European Planetary Science Congress and Global Hands-on Universe. This meeting will showcase and discuss the latest innovative efforts in astronomy education, allowing teachers, educators and outreach professionals to combine efforts and focus astronomy resource production on cross cultural curricula utilizing formal education best practices.

Read more at http://handsonuniverse.org/astroeducation/.

 

13) UNAWE Activities on cultural astronomy: a case Study at Scifest 2014

By Tibisay Sankatsing Nava (Science Communication Master student at Leiden University):

Hands-on activities on Cultural Astronomy are currently being developed for UNAWE’s educational kit Universe in a Box. This past month, several of the activities were tested in workshops for children at SciFest Africa 2014 as part of a collaboration between UNAWE, the SALT Collateral Benefits Programme of the South African Astronomical Observatory and the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development.

Read more at http://www.unawe.org/updates/unawe-update-1406/

 

14) UNAWE-UNESCO Mobil for Central America

“Can the power of star-gazing be an effective counter to the threat of marginalisation in parts of Latin America? A pair of young amateur astronomers use the power of star-gazing to re-awaken a Mexican community's cultural past.”

Watch an Al-Jazeera documentary about a project that the IAU-OAD is provinding funding for in 2014 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hSNTniD30s.

Read more at http://www.astro4dev.org/blog/category/tf2/unawe-unesco-mobil/.

 

15) Upcoming events

a) Workshop on Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics in Vietnam
Date: 7 – 11 April, 2014
Location: Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology of Ha Noi, Vietnam.
More information: http://www.inst.gov.vn/Vatly/Vatly.htm

b) European Week of Astronomy and Space Science 2014 (Early registration by 15 April)
Date: 30 June – 4 July 2014
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
More information: http://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2014/

c) 44th Young European Radio Astronomers Conference (registration opens 24 March 2014)
Date: 8 – 12 September, 2014
Location: Toruń Centre for Astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland
More information: http://yerac2014.astro.uni.torun.pl/

For more events, please visit the IAU Outreach Events Calendar at: http://iau.org/public/events/

To register your own event, click here: http://www.iau.org/public/events/events-submission/

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