A Call to Action During COVID-19 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 & 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. 


This is just the start and our hope is for the document to grow over time. If you have relevant resources to share with us, please complete this google form and we will add it to the list as soon as possible. 

Best wishes from,

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)


RESOURCES for keeping busy at home
Think of this list as a starter kit rather than an exhaustive list

Weekly Astro At Home Challenge by IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach: 

  • 16-22 March - Learn a minimum of seven astronomy-related words in the sign language of your country, record you (or your family) signing the words you’ve learned and share with #AstroAtHomeChallenge #IAUoutreach
  • 23-30 March - Spend 30 minutes a day doing a citizen science project. Tell us what you discovered with #AstroAtHomeChallenge this week and we’ll share your coolest discoveries at the end of the challenge.


Upcoming Online Sessions


US National Air and Space Museum

Discover the Universe / À la découverte de l'univers

Solar Week

  • 23-27 March 2020
  • Multiverse, of the University of California, Berkeley 
  • For ages 9-14
  • During this time, you'll be able to ask scientists your questions about the Sun, solar events, solar energy, and NASA solar missions.
  • http://multiverse.ssl.berkeley.edu/Solar-Week 

Global Astronomy Month



Resources for Children and Families


Activity/Experiment Collections

Universe Awareness (UNAWE) 


Universe Awareness (UNAWE) Educational Material


“Universe in a Box” activity book


“Mission: Space Explorer” booklet




IAU astroEDU


List of educational resources


Activities from the Exploratorium


Las Cumbres Observatory educational resources 


NASA @ Home activities


NASA Space Place 


Technovation Aerospace Design Challenges


Free space projects for kids (and adults) from space.com


Mountain of Stars


SpacEdge Education 

  • Space education program of the National Space Society
  • 160+ Courses, projects, activities, and contests written by grade 4-16 teachers for students all over the world. Includes STEAM and NGSS standards and some teacher workshops.
  • https://spacedge.academy/ 


Canadian Space Agency’s Junior Astronauts campaign 


Free, vetted educational resources in several languages



Hands-on Activities

Storytime from Space 


Satellite Builder


Serol's Cosmic Explorers 


ESA Sky 


ALMA Observatory Build a paper antenna and transporter


Science Journal with Google


Science at Home


Virtual field trip to the NASA Johnson Space Center in the US


Sun Space Art


DIY Interferometer



Informational Website

Space Scoop


Google Once Upon A Try


Sun Trek


Astronomy Picture of the Day




ALMA Animated series on astronomy


Skype A Scientist 


Teach with Movies 

Astronomy Citizen Science Projects


Gravity Spy  https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/zooniverse/gravity-spy 

LIGO E-lab  https://www.i2u2.org/elab/ligo/home/project.jsp 

Einstein@Home  https://einsteinathome.org/ 

Space Warps  https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/aprajita/space-warps-hsc 

Planet Hunters   https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/nora-dot-eisner/planet-hunters-tess/about/research 

SETI@Home  https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/index.php 

Rad@Home   https://www.radathomeindia.org/ 

RadioJOVE  http://radiojove.gsfc.nasa.gov/ 

TheSkyNet  http://www.theskynet.org/  

Planet Four: Terrains http://terrains.planetfour.org/ 

MoonZoo http://www.moonzoo.org/ 

Scope http://scope.pari.edu/  

MeteorCounter http://meteorcounter.com/  

The Great World-Wide Star Count http://www.windows2universe.org/starcount/  

Agent Exoplanet  http://portal.lcogt.net/agentexoplanet/ 

NASA Citizen Science projects  https://science.nasa.gov/citizenscience

Globe at Night (14-23 April)  https://www.globeatnight.org/


Star-gazing Resources





Resources for Adults, University Students, and High School Students



“Astronomy” Textbook

  • Free, online introductory astronomy textbook from the non-profit OpenStax Project at Rice University by senior authors Andrew Fraknoi, David Morrison, Sidney Wolff. 
  • This book (which introduces astronomy in everyday language) can be read free by anyone and can be downloaded permanently to your phone using the free OpenStax app. 
  • http://openstax.org/details/astronomy 


Various higher education textbooks in HTML format from Cambridge University Press




Elusives-Invisibles Plus Virtual Institute


EuCapt virtual colloquium


CERN seminar series


Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures

Resource Collections



Kolibri educational library



Meet an IAU Astronomer

[Coming soon]



Resources for Teachers and Educators


Guide to moving your physics/astronomy course online


Coronavirus Tech Handbook


Information and resources for online teaching


Free online professional development courses





#AstroatHome  #ScienceAtHome #ScienceFromHome #MuseumFromHome 


IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach Facebook 



IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach Twitter



IAU Outreach Newsletter 



IAU Office of Astronomy for Education Twitter 




Resources for Explaining the COVID-19 Situation to Children


Video with Dr Michelle Dickinson and Dr Juliet Gerrard and the Prime Minister of New Zealand


“An Astronaut's Guide to Self Isolation” video by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield



Non-English Resources

[CHINESE (漢語/汉语)]

Informational Website

Innovative Methods for Promoting Astronomy



[ITALIAN (italiano)]

Activity Collections




Unione Astrofili Italiani (UAI)



[NORWEGIAN (norsk)]

Activity Collections 

NAROM and Nordic ESERO 



[SPANISH (español)]

Hands-on Activities

Large Millimeter Telescope paper model (Spanish) 




Everyone is strongly recommended to work with local organizations and coordinate efforts with those of many others who might be doing similar work. We must remember that we can assist wherever possible but we are not medical or health experts.



Volunteer for the OAD to use your skills to contribute to tasks remotely. Sign up to the OAD volunteer mailing list here: http://www.astro4dev.org/volunteers

Hackathons & Tech Communities


Citizen science

Protein folding with Foldit




Dashboards for visualising COVID-19

Statistics and research from Out World in Data 

COVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge (CORD-19) | Kaggle



Use your communication skills to create more awareness and dispel fake news and wrong information. All of us have seen the speed at which inaccurate information is spread online, especially on messaging channels such as Whatsapp. As outreach professionals and educators, many of us have communication skills that can make a difference in these situations. We encourage you to work with your local public health organizations and assist with communication campaigns. You can also think about running communication campaigns in support of science and the scientific method. 


If you have worked on or are part of a successful comms campaign, please share those resources on the google form so others may benefit. 


Use the #astro networks to disseminate accurate information. 



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