ann21049 — Announcement

Haus der Astronomie on Königstuhl mountain in Heidelberg
26 August 2021
IAU Astronomy Education Gets Boost with the Foundation of the OAE Center Cyprus and OAE Node Nepal

The IAU is pleased to announce two new institutions which will support the Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in attaining its goals. The OAE Center Cyprus and the OAE Node Nepal join the already founded OAE Center Italy in a growing network of larger OAE Centers and smaller OAE Nodes. This is a collaboration between the IAU, the OAE, and the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation (CSEO, hosting the OAE Center Cyprus) and the Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO, hosting the OAE Node Nepal).

IAU General Secretary, Teresa Lago said, “I am very pleased to see the rapid growth of the network of OAE Centers and Nodes. This is a confirmation, not only of the real need for the OAE as a fundamental pillar for the IAU to achieve its strategic goals, but also of the worldwide recognition of the relevance of the OAE’s activities and the willingness to be involved in them as a closer partner”. 

Founded by the IAU in December 2019, the OAE is hosted by the Haus der Astronomie and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy located in Heidelberg, Germany, with a mission to promote and support the development and improvement of astronomy education and related sciences all over the world. In pursuit of its mission, the OAE is building a network of collaborators and partners. In particular, this includes a network of National Astronomy Education Coordinators, who volunteer to act as liaison between the OAE and specific countries, and a network of OAE Centers and OAE Nodes: “branch offices” funded by suitable host organisations that have an interest in furthering astronomy education.

Markus Pössel, the OAE Director, says: “Supporting astronomy education world-wide is a massive endeavour, and requires a team of strong partners. We are happy to welcome our colleagues from Cyprus and from Nepal to that team — it is great that both the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation and the Nepal Astronomical Society have taken the step to dedicate significant resources to our common goal!

The OAE Center Cyprus is managed by Colm Larkin, from the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation. The OAE Node Nepal is managed by Suresh Bhattarai, from the Nepal Astronomical Society, accounting for collaborations from science educators in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The host organisations and IAU look forward to an exciting future of fruitful collaborations.

OAE Centers and Nodes will play an important role sharing the lead of global projects developed by the OAE, but also working on the national and regional scale by supporting initiatives in neighbouring countries or with a common language. In addition to participating in joint projects within the OAE, each Center or Node typically chooses certain areas of specialisation, corresponding to the host organisation’s experiences and strengths. The OAE Center Cyprus will focus on the modernisation of science centers and planetariums, education in space science, planetary science, climate change and the upper atmosphere, while helping to build the OAE’s network of collaborations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa (EMMEA Region). The OAE Node Nepal will focus on citizen-science projects in low-tech environments, teacher training programs and training for astronomy olympiads whilst working to build the OAE’s network of collaborations particularly in the SAARC region and, more generally, with countries facing similar challenges around the globe. 

The President of the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation, George A Danos, said “We are honoured that the IAU Office for Astronomy Education has recognised the experience of the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation (CSEO) and has selected Cyprus to host an international astronomy education center, the OAE Center Cyprus. CSEO is committed to working with the IAU and OAE in spreading astronomy education, capacity building, seeding the next generation of scientists and engineers, who will make the next big discoveries in astronomy and cosmology. Cyprus’s location in the crossroads between three continents and CSEO’s friendly international relations, will allow this Center to act as a regional hub and education bridge, for peaceful cooperation and synergy, under one sky”.

Suresh Bhattarai said “We are pleased to have the honour of hosting the first Node of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education network. We expect to have the opportunity to offer and learn from our national, regional and international partners, playing a leading role in educational engagement.

More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 12 000 active professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

The IAU Office of Astronomy for Education is hosted at Haus der Astronomie (HdA), managed by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. The OAE’s mission is to support and coordinate astronomy education by astronomy researchers and educators, aimed at primary or secondary schools worldwide. HdA’s hosting the OAE was made possible through the support of the German foundations the Klaus Tschira Foundation and the Carl Zeiss Foundation.

​​The Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation (CSEO) is a space research institution, based in Cyprus, with a global scope of activities, focused on building the next generation of space scientists and bridging international collaboration in space initiatives. CSEO has strong experience in disseminating programs that combine science, engineering, innovation and entrepreneurship, stimulating young astronomers and space engineers in creative technological innovation and regional collaboration.

The Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO) is a not-for-profit organization in Nepal. Its main aim is to create a strong scientific community within the country. It provides a common platform for all astronomy/astrophysics/space science enthusiasts. It promotes science & technology via its outreach, education and research activities on astronomy and space science.



Niall Deacon
IAU Office of Astronomy for Education

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Cell: +49 173 38 72 621

About the Announcement



Haus der Astronomie on Königstuhl mountain in Heidelberg