IAU Outreach Newsletter

April 2014

In this newsletter we have a special message about the International Year of Light 2015:

    1. Special Message about the International Year of Light 2015
    2. The OAD Releases a Brochure for 2014
    3. Call for Ideas: 3D Printing Astronomy for the Visually Impaired
    4. Global Astronomy Month 2014
    5. The United Nations Space Weather Initiative helps Ecuador to establish Division of Solar Physics Phenomena
    6. The 1st East Asian Astronomical Education and Outreach Workshop
    7. The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development newsletter #5 available online
    8. Upcoming Events

The next issue of IAU Outreach Newsletter will be sent out on Sunday the 25th of May, 2014. Please send your input for the next edition to cheungszeleung@iau.org 5 days prior to the release date.


1) Special Message about the International Year of Light 2015

Spearheaded by the European physics community, planning is underway for the UN-endorsed International Year of Light in 2015. With the encouragement of the General Secretary, IAU Commission 50 (site protection and promotion of dark skies access) is assembling members for a Working Group to enhance communication and enable coordination of astronomy-oriented activities for the IYL. The IYL is obviously intended to showcase the science of light, innovations and applications of lighting engineering and design, and impacts on health science, communications, entertainment, urban nightscapes, and the developing world. In addition, its primary organizer, John Dudley, has made it clear that he expects the astronomical theme ‘Cosmic Light’, which includes Dark Skies Awareness, to be a cornerstone program in the global outreach activities. At a recent IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach planning meeting in Paris, Dudley stated the intention of having a strong astronomy-oriented component and delegated full responsibility to the IAU to carry it out. Piero Benvenuti, Assistant General Secretary, will serve as the IAU representative on the IYL Executive Committee. A proposal for the constitution, charge, and support of Working Group activities will be considered by the Executive Committee at their upcoming meeting in Australia.

The officially stated themes of the IYL are

  • Science of Light
  • Light Technology
  • Light in Nature
  • Light and Culture

Of course, we can build on the heritage and infrastructure of the IYA 2009 to provide astronomy cornerstone activities for many of their themes. At the same time, our strongest contributions are likely to be crosscutting for more than one of the IYL main themes. We know that astronomy themes naturally involve the nature and origins of light, the function of astronomical optics, as well as the cultural and scientific value of dark skies preservation. Given the relatively short lead-time of less than a year, we assume that we will be building on existing programs, particularly ones that have been successful legacy projects from IYA2009. We note the paradigm from the IYA that the successful programs were built by the dedication and enthusiasm of their proponents in a bottom-up fashion.

We envision three or four major programmatic aspects to our Cosmic Light cornerstone. Those listed as examples have a basis in already developed activities for IYA, and are suitable for attracting sponsorship support to extend the content and global reach.

        1. Quality outdoor lighting to protect our view of the Universe.
        2. Galileoscope
        3. Worldwide Light in Nature Public Exhibits (including Earth atmospheric effects)
        4. Worldwide Astronomy Education and Public Outreach to raise public awareness of the value of protecting dark skies.
          1. Globe at Night
          2. Global Astronomy Month (April) with leadership by the amateur community
          3. Astronomy as global education and outreach, with IAU focusing on the developing world
          4. Dark Skies Awareness through publication of night skies monitoring results in different cities
          5. Educating astronomy colleagues at the IAU General Assembly in 2015 with special events

The Education and Public Outreach category has examples of (IYA-inspired) activities, many of which are ongoing, that could be adapted to support the themes of the IYL in their current modes.

Please keep an eye on https://www.iau.org/public/iyl/ for updates.

Richard Green Constance Walker
President, IAU Commission 50 Vice President, IAU Commission 50


2) The OAD Releases a Brochure for 2014

The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) is publishing its first brochure in April 2014. As most of the first year’s funded projects (www.astro4dev.org/funded-projects) have been concluded and the 2014 projects (www.astro4dev.org/funded-projects-2014/) have started up, this release marks a significant milestone.

It reflects on the OAD’s achievements since its inception with an overview of the major activities over the last three years, featuring summaries of funded projects of 2013, the regional offices around the globe, and other noteworthy activities. Additionally, the brochure draws attention to the OAD in preparation for the upcoming call for proposals for 2015 projects, which opens on the 1st of July 2014 (www.astro4dev.org/cfp/).

The OAD brochure will be distributed widely. A digital version is now available to download at www.astro4dev.org/downloads/.


3) Call for Ideas: 3D Printing Astronomy for the Visually Impaired

The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) has recently purchased a 3D printer and scanner. The goal is to use these tools for the OAD-sponsored AstroSense, a project led by visually impaired astrophysicist Dr. Wanda Diaz-Merced that explores astronomy for the visually impaired. The OAD hereby invites you to brainstorm and pitch your tri-dimensional ideas: how can tactility be used to teach astronomy? Throw your ideas our way; they have the hardware to print them out!

For more info visit www.astro4dev.org/astrosense/ and send your ideas to info@astro4dev.org.


4) Global Astronomy Month 2014

Although April is coming to an end, the Global Astronomy Month 2014 activities are still ongoing, including the SunDay on Apr 27, Cosmic Concert on Apr 28, Annular Solar Eclipse on Apr 29 (but only visible from Southern Australia and Antarctica), and a number of Google hangouts.

Please see http://astronomerswithoutborders.org/global-astronomy-month-2014.html for details.


5) The United Nations Space Weather Initiative helps Ecuador to establish Division of Solar Physics Phenomena

The United Nations Space Weather Initiative (UNSWI) has involved leading scientists from around the world, who have participated in three meetings to follow up activities from the successful International Heliophysical Year 2007 (IHY). The third ISWI workshop was hosted by Ecuador in 2012 for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean. At the Ecuador workshop key decisions were made in order to give continuity to future activities in space science, technology research, and education. A new station was created at Ecuador and this new Ecuadorian station, Solar Physics Phenomena, is now established as a division of the Quito Astronomical Observatory.

The proceedings of the UN Ecuador Workshop on the International Space Weather Initiative (ISWI) are published in the open-access journal Sun and Geosphere, Vol. 9 (2014), Nos. 1 & 2.

Read more at http://aas.org/posts/news/2014/04/ecuador-establishes-division-solar-physics-phenomena.


6) The 1st East Asian Astronomical Education and Outreach Workshop

The 1st East Asian Astronomical Education and Outreach Workshop (July 4 - 5, 2014), organized by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and National University of Mongolia and supported by Universe Awareness and the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach, will be held at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The program includes discussion sessions on promoting astronomical education and outreach activities in East Asia, International Year of Light, and a training session on the use of mobile planetariums.

Read more at http://eaaeow.wordpress.com/


7) The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development newsletter #5 available online

The fifth edition of the IAU-OAD Newsletter, containing news from the office covering the first quarter of 2014, can be found online at www.astro4dev.org/newsletters/. You can also find there links to previous and translated editions. Please feel free to contact info@astro4dev.org for any comments or suggestions. The OAD team looks forward to hearing from you on any thoughts you may have about the OAD. Enjoy reading!


8) Upcoming Events

a) American Astronomical Society meeting (Late registration by May 15, 2014)
Date: 1 – 5 June 2014
Location: Boston, USA
More information: http://aas.org/meetings/aas224

b) International Planetarium Society Conference 2014 (Late registration by May 21, 2014)
Date: 23 - 27 June 2014
Location: Beijing, China
More information: http://www.ips2014.org/

c) IPS-Macao International Fulldome Festival
Date: 18 June - 31 July, 2014
Location: Macao, China
More information: http://www.msc.org.mo/fulldomefestival/

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

e) 1st East Asian Astronomical Education and Outreach Workshop
Date: 4 - 5 July 2014
Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
More information: http://eaaeow.wordpress.com/

f) 44th Young European Radio Astronomers Conference (Registration by June 30, 2014)
Date: 8 – 12 September, 2014
Location: Toruń Centre for Astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland
More information: http://yerac2014.astro.uni.torun.pl/

g) Astronomy Education Alliance Meeting (Registration by July 31, 2014)
Date: 8 - 12 September 2014
Location: Cascais, Portugal
More information: http://handsonuniverse.org/astroeducation/

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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