IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter

2015 #4 (April 2015 #2)

In this newsletter:

  1. From the Editor
  2. IAU launches Cosmic Light programme
  3. Cosmic Light IYL2015: Cosmic Light EDU kit
  4. Cosmic Light IYL2015: Dark Sky Meter app
  5. HighLIGHT of the Month — UK Cosmic Light activities
  6. Cosmic Light around the world
  7. Ready to celebrate 25 years of Hubble?
  8. Global Astronomy Month
  9. Report a fireball!
  10. The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series
  11. Booklist of science fiction stories with good astronomy & physics
  12. Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education
  13. Upcoming meetings
  14. Contributions to this newsletter


0) From the Editor

The IAU’s Cosmic Light programme for the International Year of Light has been officially launched, and you are more than welcome to check out all the resources and activities that the IAU has gathered for you. And as Cosmic Light gains momentum, there are already many activities happening around the world; and here, at the Office for Astronomy Outreach, we want to hear more about how you will celebrate Cosmic Light, so please share with us your IYL2015 events! Global Astronomy Month is well under way, but there is still a lot to enjoy before the end of April. We’d like to particularly thank Constance Walker from NOAO, Megan Argo from IMO, Lucia Marchetti from IYL UK, and Andrew Fraknoi from Astronomy Department at Foothill College for sharing the news.

Clear Skies!
Lina Canas and Sze-leung Cheung
IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach


1) IAU launches Cosmic Light programme

Focused on limiting energy waste through the reduction of light pollution and highlighting the importance of the preservation of dark night skies, the International Astronomical Union has launched the Cosmic Light programme, as part of the global celebrations for the International Year of Light 2015.

You can read the press release here: https://www.iau.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iau1504/


2) Cosmic Light IYL2015: Cosmic Light EDU kit

The Cosmic Light EDU kit has been launched! The main goal for this project is to involve schools around the globe in awareness campaigns for light pollution and to discover the nature of light. The project has assembled an educational kit, with simple resources and activities to support teachers. There are many and varied networks involved in this project so participants can benefit from many opportunities for a rich cultural interchange. The project aims to target diverse social and cultural audiences, and there is a special component designed for children with visual impairment incorporated in the kit to promote inclusivity. The kit will have printable materials, several digital tools and resources and training efforts will be implemented in order to empower teachers to make full use of the kit The campaign will reach teachers and students in 100 countries around the world.

Take a closer look at all the resources featured in the Comic Light EDU kit here: http://nuclio.org/cosmiclightedukit/


3) Cosmic Light IYL2015: Dark Sky Meter app

The IAU Cosmic Light programme has just released the Dark Sky Meter (DSM) app for iPhones free of charge! All you have to do is point your phone at the night sky, and it measures the night sky brightness for you. Then, you can use the IYL DSM app to submit your measurement easily. All measurements will be entered into the Globe at Night database and be used by researchers.

The DSM IYL2015 app is already available for free on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/app/dsm-lite/id626796278?mt=8


4) HighLIGHT of the Month — UK Cosmic Light activities

The UK astronomy community, represented by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and many others, is promoting a wide range of exciting activities for members of the public and the astronomy community alike! Follow their dedicated webpage to Cosmic Light and discover what you can do both nationally and globally! The IYL2015 UK team will be updating this space throughout the year with new activities!

They have launched a website at http://light2015.org.uk/astronomy/


5) Cosmic Light around the world

  • Constance Walker from the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) has shared with us the different Cosmic Light activities that have been happening in Arizona, USA, such as celebrating Super Pi Day with Light: Beyond the Bulb exhibitions, Globe at Night flash mob measurements and a teacher workshop on the Cosmic Light Quality Lighting Teaching Kit. Read the Globe at Night newsletter at http://www.globeatnight.org/newsletter/201504.html
  • In Japan, the Optics & Photonic International Exhibition is currently being held in Yokoyama, with a special section dedicated to space and astronomy optics. Learn more here http://www.opie.jp/en/index.php.
  • During the opening ceremony for the International Year of Light 2015 in Mongolia, Dr Tsolmon Renchin, the head of the Space Science Laboratory, National University of Mongolia, highlighted the importance of light to society and sustainable development, making a special note about the wonders of cosmic light. Read more.

Many activities featuring the IAU’s Cosmic Light programme and International Year of Light 2015 are happening around the world. Email us the news about your activities!


6) Ready to celebrate 25 years of the Hubble Space Telescope?

On the 24 April 2015 the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope will celebrate 25 years since its launch. In 1990 the idea for a space telescope finally became a reality and Hubble has since far exceeded expectations. It has delved deeper into the early years of the Universe than was ever thought possible, played a critical part in the discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating and probed the atmospheres of planets around distant stars. To commemorate this quarter century of success in engineering, science and culture ESA/Hubble will run a series of projects to involve the public in the celebrations.

Details of these projects can be found here: http://www.spacetelescope.org/projects/Hubble25/

For more information on events, activities and news for the 25th anniversary visit the Hubble 25 website at: http://hubble25th.org/


7) Global Astronomy Month

April is Global Astronomy Month! The month has been organised by Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) and even though we’re almost at the end of the month, there are still many activities to enjoy. If you’re an observing enthusiast then you might want to join in the ongoing observing challenges or take part in educational programmes such as the IASC Asteroid Search Campaign. AstroArts has a very diverse programme with an Astropoetry Contest, OPTICKS and two different cosmic music concerts the you can attend online. And if you’re looking for a non-stop astronomy online broadcasting don’t miss the CosmoQuest Hangouthaton from 25th to 27th.

Learn more on which programmes you can still enjoy during the rest of April here: http://astronomerswithoutborders.org/global-astronomy-month-2015/280-gam2015/global-astronomy-month/2609-global-astronomy-month-2015.html


8) Report a fireball!

“You saw something bright and fast? Like a huge shooting star? Report it: it may be a fireball!” For professional researchers, information from amateurs and the public is vital in both modelling the streams of debris which give us regular meteor showers, and finding physical debris from larger events. This is one area of astronomical research where an active professional–amateur community thrives. A collaboration between the American Meteor Society (AMS) and the International Meteor Organisation (IMO) has now resulted in an online, multilingual form for reporting significant fireball events. Aimed at the general public and assuming no specialist astronomical knowledge, the form guides the user through a series of questions. The IMO is now looking for volunteers to add new translations in additional languages.

You can find more at http://fireballs.imo.net/


9) The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series

Founded in 1999, topics covered by the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series from the Astronomy Department at Foothill College have ranged from the exploration of the planets to the speeding up of the expanding universe; from planets around other stars to black holes at the centres of distant galaxies. Speakers over the years have included Nobel Prize winners, members of the National Academy of Sciences and many other well-known scientists who explain astronomical developments in everyday language.

Lectures are free to the general public and you can obtain all the information here: http://www.astrosociety.org/education/silicon-valley-astronomy-lectures/


10) Booklist of science fiction stories with good astronomy & physics

An updated guide to science fiction stories with reasonable astronomy and physics and organised by science topic by Andrew Fraknoi (of Foothill College) is now available.

Check the list at Astronomical Society of the Pacific website: http://www.astrosociety.org/education/astronomy-resource-guides/science-fiction-stories-with-good-astronomy-physics-a-topical-index/


11) Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education

A new online journal for research papers on space science and earth science education entitled The Journal of Astronomy and Earth Sciences Education (JAESE), is a peer-reviewed open-access publication, free to all readers. The first issue is already complete and papers are now being accepted for the second issue. Learn more here: http://www.jaese.org


12) Upcoming meetings

a) 2nd International Conference on Light Pollution Theory, Modelling and Measurements (LPTMM)
Date: 26–29 May 2015
Location: Sherbrooke, Quebéc, Canada
More information: http://lptmm.org

b) 3rd International conference on Artificial Light at Night (ALAN 2015)
Date: 30 May – 1 June 2015
Location: Sherbrooke, Quebéc, Canada
More information: http://www.artificiallightatnight.org/

c) Science & You's "Journées Hubert Curien" Conference and Forum
Date: 1–6 June
Location: Nancy, France
More Information: http://www.science-and-you.com/en/colloque/journees-hubert-curien-international-conference

d) ECSITE Annual Conference 2015: Food for curious minds
Date: 11–13 June
Location: Trento, Italy
More information: http://www.ecsite.eu/annual-conference

e) The 29th IAU General Assembly
Date: 3–14 August 2015
Location: Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA
More information: http://astronomy2015.org/

Focus Meetings:

6–7 August: Communicating Astronomy With the Public in the Big Data Era
More information: http://astronomy2015.org/focus_meeting_19

11–13 August: Mitigating Threats of Light Pollution and Radio Frequency Interference
More information: http://astronomy2015.org/focus_meeting_21

11–13 August: Astronomical heritage: progressing the unesco-iau initiative
More information: http://astronomy2015.org/focus_meeting_2

13–14 August:: Astronomy for Development
More information: http://astronomy2015.org/focus_meeting_20

f) UNAWE International workshop
Date: 5–9 October 2015
Location: Leiden, The Netherlands
More information: http://www.unawe.org

g) Earth Observation Science 2.0
Date: 12–14 October 2015
Location: ESRIN, Frascati, Italy
More information: http://eoscience20.org/


13) Contributions to this newsletter

Here at the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach we are always looking for more news about astronomical education and outreach events! If you are organising any large-scale events at a regional or international level, offering astronomy education or communication job positions, have any special innovative projects or inspiring stories, looking for professional–amateur collaboration in astronomy, or created any educational resources, please just let us know all about it by sending an email to outreach@iau.org.


Donate to the IAU

Donate to the IAU

IAU Strategic Plan 2020–2030

Strategic Plan

IAU Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

Symposia and Meetings



How to Become a Member

Deceased Members

Deceased Members

Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference


IAU Catalyst

Latest Catalyst

IAU e-Newsletter
Volume 2022 n° 11

Latest e-Newsletter

Subscribe to the e-Newsletter


IAU Office of Astronomy for Development

Office for Astronomy Development

IAU Office for Young Astronomers

Office for Young Astronomers

IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach

Office for Astronomy Outreach

IAU Office of Astronomy for Education

Office of Astronomy for Education

International School for Young Astronomers

International School for Young Astronomers

WG Small Bodies Nomenclature Bulletins

WG Small Bodies Nomenclature Bulletins

IAU WG Women in Astronomy Newsletters and Ensemble Magazine

WG Women in Astronomy Newsletters