IAU Outreach Newsletter

November 2013

In this newsletter:

  1. Deputy Communications and Outreach Manager position at the SKA (UK)
  2. Two Education and Outreach Officer positions at QEERI (Qatar)
  3. A 6 month internship to work with Cork’s Space for Science (Ireland)
  4. astroEDU: a Peer-reviewed Open-access Astronomy Education Activities Platform
  5. IAU Office of Astronomy for Development Newsletter #3
  6. Android Users get the Scoop on the Latest Astronomy News
  7. Pre-registeration to “Citizen Science in Astronomy” closes 1 December 2013 (Taiwan)
  8. “A Touch of The Universe” for visually-impaired: last fundraising efforts!
  9. First GUAtemalan School of Astrophysics (GUASA)
  10. Let’s find Comet ISON observational web campaign! (Japan)
  11. Communicating Astronomy to the Public (CAP) 2016
  12. The Journal “Astronomy Education Review” discontinued
  13. Resource Guides on Music and on Apps
  14. Talks by noted Astronomers now on YouTube
  15. A Video about Interesting Studies of College Astronomy Teaching
  16. A new video on light pollution in the “Hidden Costs series”
  17. Upcoming events

Please send us your input to info@astro4dev.org for the next newsletter which we will aim to send out on Friday 27th December 2013.


1) Deputy Communications and Outreach Manager position at the SKA (UK)

Interested in being part of one of the most exciting adventures of modern times? The Square Kilometre Array (SKA, www.skatelescope.org) is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with a square kilometre array of collecting area. The telescope will be co-located in Australia and Africa. The SKA Organisation, with its Headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory (www.jb.man.ac.uk/‎), near Manchester in the UK, formalises relationships between the international partners and centralises the leadership of the project. The SKA Organisation opens a position for a Deputy Communications and Outreach Manager. Applications should be sent by 27 November 2013 directly to the email address provided in the advertisement.

Full details are available at: http://www.skatelescope.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Deputy_SKA_Comms_Manager_Position.pdf


2) Two Education and Outreach Officer positions at QEERI (Qatar)

A new public engagement programme "Fascination Astronomy" will form a cornerstone for developing astronomy in Qatar and the wider region. Two education and outreach officers will be based in Doha, Qatar, and be part of the emerging astronomy group at the Qatar Environment & Energy Research Institute (QEERI, www.qeeri.org.qa/), member of the Qatar Foundation (www.qf.org.qa/). They will be responsible for the implementation of the various activities, building local contacts, while working with an international team of researchers around the globe and in the region. Specific tasks include the delivery of student workshops and teacher training, the management of the training programme of the Qatar Astronomy Olympiad team, and the organisation and management of the Qatar Astronomy Festival.

For job particulars and how to apply: http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/jobs/354494-team-of-two-education-and-outreach-officers


3) A 6 month internship to work with Cork’s Space for Science (Ireland)

CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory (http://www.bco.ie/) is a non-profit visitor centre that is home to a working research observatory, space science exhibit and workshop programme. The facility also operates a dynamic outreach agenda. We are looking for someone with a passion for science and astronomy to work with us on maintaining and increasing our online presence. You will have responsibility for the general running of the social media platforms from creating and uploading content on a regular basis to developing and managing digital and social media campaigns.

More information at: https://www.bco.ie/events/marketinginternship/


4) astroEDU: a Peer-reviewed Open-access Astronomy Education Activities Platform

The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development is excited to present to you, and invites you to participate in, a peer review platform for astronomy educational activities developed in partnership with UNAWE (http://www.unawe.org/) and LCOGT (http://lcogt.net/). This project is led by the co-Chairs of the OAD's Task Force 2 (Children and Schools, http://www.astro4dev.org/task-forces/children-and-schools/) Pedro Russo and Edward Gomez.

astroEDU allows educators and astronomers to submit activities in a standard format which allows for efficient distribution and use by teachers around the world. These activities are then peer-reviewed by at least two people: a professional research scientist, to ensure the scientific accuracy of the content, and a professional educator, to ensure the pedagogical content and usefulness for a classroom environment. This process improves standards of quality, visibility and accessibility, while providing credibility to these astronomy education activities.

astroEDU is currently in testing phase and your input is needed: please send your comments, ideas for improvement, suggestions for expansion, or offers of partnerships at astroedu@strw.leidenuniv.nl. For more information, please visit the astroEDU website at http://iau.org/astroedu/


5) IAU Office of Astronomy for Development Newsletter #3

The third edition of the OAD Newsletter, containing news from the office covering the third quarter of 2013, can be found online at the following address: http://www.astro4dev.org/newsletters/, where you can now also find links to the previous editions. Contact us at info@astro4dev.org for any comments or suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you on any thoughts you may have about the OAD!


6) Android Users get the Scoop on the Latest Astronomy News

Universe Awareness (www.unawe.org/‎) has released a new Space Scoop App for Android users, offering access to the latest astronomy news whenever it happens, wherever you are! In an age where children are often more tech-savvy than adults, it's important to keep up with the latest technological trends, in order to feed the young, content-hungry generation information that will educate and inspire them.

Space Scoop (http://unawe.org/kids/) is an astronomy news service for children aged 8 and up, using this resource the Android App is designed to share the most exciting new astronomical discoveries with children in the hope of inspiring them to develop an interest in science and technology. Almost 200 child-friendly news articles are already available in 22 languages, and up to two new stories will be added each week.

The app is now available for free download on the Google Play store at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gdogaru.spacescoop. For more information visit: http://unawe.org/updates/unawe-update-1369/


7) Pre-registration to “Citizen Science in Astronomy” closes 1 December 2013 (Taiwan)

Citizen science, the involvement of hundreds of thousands of people in the research process, is a radical response to the challenge of dealing with the greatly increased size of modern datasets. The combined assessment of many non-expert human classifiers with minimal training often equal or improves that of a trained expert and in many cases outperform the best automated algorithms. As astronomical surveys and observations have continued to grow towards the petabyte scale, online citizen science projects have proven quite successful in enlisting the general public to mine these rich datasets from searching for exoplanets to identifying gravitational lenses. The aim of this workshop is to bring together astronomers, computer scientists, and machine learning experts to focus on developing, for a citizen science approach to current and future astronomical datasets, new and improved data reduction techniques and algorithms to assess volunteer behavior and direct effort more efficiently. Such efforts are critical in coping with data from the next generation of experiments and instruments, including the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), Hyper-Suprime Cam (HSC), and the Square Kilometer Array (SKA).

Time: March 3-7, 2014
Place: Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Academia Sinica (ASIAA), Taipei, Taiwan
Workshop Website: http://events.asiaa.sinica.edu.tw/workshop/20140303/
Pre-registration Deadline: December 1st.


8) “A Touch of The Universe” for visually-impaired: last fundraising efforts!

“A Touch of The Universe”, a non-profit project sponsored by the IAU-OAD, aims to build 30 sets of tactile astronomy kits addressed to children with both normal or vision impairments. The kits will be distributed among educators and teachers in underdeveloped countries in Americas, Asia and Africa.

The project needs to raise funds for the delivery of the final 18 astronomy kits of the “A Touch of the Universe” project. A crowdfunding campaign, hosted on the University of Valencia website (in Spanish), has been launched in order to raise the final 2000 euros: 10 euros from 200 people would do the magic! To donate and/or spread the news, please follow this link: http://www.uniempren.es/69_a_touch_of_the_universe.

For more information about the project, please visit: astrokit.uv.es or http://www.astro4dev.org/blog/category/tf2/visually-impaired/.


9) First GUAtemalan School of Astrophysics (GUASA)

The first ever GUAtemalan School of Astrophysics (GUASA) will take place from 9th to 13th of December 2013 in a rural area of Guatemala, bringing Central American and Caribbean undergraduate students of Physics, Mathematics and Engineering together with experts from prestigious astronomical institutions from around the world. Four professors, Martin Still (NASA Ames Research Centre), Sara Seager (MIT), David Ardila (Caltech), Mihkel Kama (Leiden University) and Silvia Torres-Peimbert, President Elect of the IAU Executive Committee, will give lectures around this year’s edition main topic of Exoplanets. Coming from Mexico to Panama, 37 students will attend the school, which benefited from the support of the IAU-OAD, UNESCO/ICTP, Universidad del Valle and Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Centro de Formación Cultural de la Cooperación Española and Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala.

Each of the school editions (held every two years) will be covering a wide range of modern topics in Astrophysics in order to motivate students to pursue major degrees in Astronomy. This school will hopefully contribute to create a critical mass of professional astronomers / astrophysicists in the region along with the conditions needed for research, thus eventually leading to the creation of strong astrophysics departments in the Universities of the region.

For more information, please visit http://fisica.usac.edu.gt/~GUASA and like the Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/guasa2013.


10) Let’s find Comet ISON observational web campaign! (Japan)

A Mega-Collection of "Your Observations" from the 1st of November 2013 to the 20th of January 2014: the Japan Astronomy council is collecting Comet ISON observational information from all over the world. Participation is very simple: just drop a marker pin on the on-screen map and write your observational comment. If you take a photo of comet ISON, please upload it onto the website. When your observation information and photographs are submitted, they will be stored in our database and used to update the map. We look forward to hearing from everyone!

For more information, follow the link: http://ison.astro-campaign.jp/en/index.html or email info@astro-campaign.jp.


11) Communicating Astronomy to the Public (CAP) 2016

From Ian Robson (Chair, CAP Conference Working Group):

The next Communicating Astronomy to the Public (CAP) conference is currently being scheduled for the Spring of 2016, due to the IAU General Assembly being held in August 2015. For the moment, interest in hosting the conference is solicited as an “expression of interest” rather than a full blown proposal. The reason for this is that the Organising Committee may wish to select a venue based on a geographical preference and so the “expression of interest” may save some parties from extensive and nugatory work. The full proposal will be required by the end of February 2014 and will require extensive work on behalf of the proposer.

However, the expression of interest, to be sent to ian.robson@stfc.ac.uk by December 6th 2013, should be brief and include:
1. Location (city/country)
2. Potential venue (hotel/conference centre/other)
3. Principal contact and Local Organisation


12) The Journal “Astronomy Education Review” discontinued

The Journal Astronomy Education Review has been discontinued by the American Astronomical Society, although its archive of published papers will remain available on the web. For the obituary, see: http://aer.aas.org/resource/1/aerscz/v12/i1/p010402_s1?view=fulltext


13) Resource Guides on Music and on Apps

An annotated guide presenting 133 pieces of music (both classical and popular music) inspired by astronomical ideas (organized into 22 topical categories, e.g. black holes, planets, etc.) is still available in Astronomy Education Review at: http://aer.aas.org/resource/1/aerscz/v11/i1/p010303_s1?view=fulltext

An annotated overview of 98 astronomy applications for smart phones and tablets has also been published in Astronomy Education Review and features brief descriptions and direct URLs: http://dx.doi.org/10.3847/AER2011036 (click on the PDF version under the author’s name for the easiest format for links). The listing includes a variety of apps for displaying and explaining the sky above you (some using the GPS function in your device); a series of astronomical clocks, calculators, and calendars; sky catalogs and observing planners; planet atlases and globes; citizens science tools and image displays; a directory of astronomy clubs in the U.S.; and even a graphic simulator for making galaxies collide. A number of the apps are free, and others cost just a dollar or two. A brief list of articles featuring astronomy app reviews is also included.


14) Talks by noted Astronomers now on YouTube

The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures, featuring astronomers giving nontechnical lectures on recent developments in astronomy, are now available on their own YouTube Channel, at: http://www.youtube.com/SVAstronomyLectures/. The lectures are taped at Foothill College near San Francisco, and co-sponsored by NASA's Ames Research Center, the SETI Institute, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

The talks include:
- Sandra Faber on galaxy formation,
- Michael Brown on his discovery of Eris and the “demotion” of Pluto,
- Alex Filippenko and Leonard Susskind on black holes,
- Natalie Batalha on the latest discoveries from the Kepler mission,
- Frank Drake on his modern view of the Drake Equation,
- Gibor Basri on brown dwarfs and unattached planets,
- Anthony Aguirre on multiple universes, and
- Chris McKay updating the Cassini discoveries about Saturn's moon Titan.


15) A Video about Interesting Studies of College Astronomy Teaching

At this summer’s Astronomical Society of the Pacific meeting, Douglas Duncan (U. of Colorado) and Alex Rudolph (Cal State Pomona) were part of a plenary session answering such questions as: What do learning surveys tell us about the best teaching practices? Are students really the multitaskers they profess to be? Does student addiction to electronic devices and their in-class use impact learning outcomes? See the tape at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR7pqOjg154


16) A new video on light pollution in the “Hidden Costs series”

From Eric Butler & the “Hidden Costs Video Project”:

The video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2JQFyFcbRU, takes a look at the detrimental effects of light pollution on our mental and physical health, species' natural habits and our ability to see starscapes. Capturing the "brilliance and tyranny of city lights", it shows how destructive artificial light is and how we can take steps to curb its effects. The video was created as part of our project’s larger mission to help consumers protect themselves beyond insurance coverage. This is an important topic to cover because light pollution is increasingly being linked to health conditions such as chronic fatigue, migraines and cancer. By producing this resource, we hope to raise awareness about light pollution and how individuals can minimize their footprints.


17) Upcoming events

a) Galway Astronomy Festival
Date: Sunday 1 December 2013
Location: Galway, Ireland
More information: www.galwayastronomyclub.ie

b) GUAtemalan School of Astrophysics (GUASA)
Date: 9 – 13 December 2013
Location: Guatemala
More information: http://fisica.usac.edu.gt/~GUASA or http://www.astro4dev.org/blog/category/tf1/guatemala-school/

c) ESO Astronomy Camp for Secondary School Students
Date: 26 – 31 December, 2013
Location: Saint-Barthelemy, Nus, Italy
More information: http://www.eso.org/public/announcements/ann13044/ and http://www.eso.org/public/announcements/ann13089/

d) Citizen Science in Astronomy
Date: 3 – 7 March 2014 (Pre-registration deadline: 1st December 2013)
Location: Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Academia Sinica (ASIAA), Taipei, Taiwan
More information: http://events.asiaa.sinica.edu.tw/workshop/20140303/

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

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


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