IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter

2015 #13 (September 2015 #2)

In this newsletter:

  1. From the Editor
  2. HighLIGHT of the Month: Weekend of Light
  3. The International Year of Light (IYL 2015) Blog: An international volunteer initiative
  4. CosmicLight around the world
  5. Space Girls Space Women
  6. Your support needed: Cities at Night kickstarter campaign
  7. The World At Night events: La Palma Astrofest 2015
  8. Online Journal: Galactic Inquirer
  9. How to use TED-Ed in your Earth and Space Science classroom
  10. Upcoming meetings & global events around the world
  11. Contributions to this newsletter


0) From the Editor

The IAU is one of the major supporters for the International Year of Light 2015 and in September there are many ways for you to take part in activities related to celebrating light and the beauty of our dark skies. A lunar eclipse will be visible in parts of Europe and America on 28 September, and this will be a major highlight for the International Year of Light’s Weekend of Light from 25 to 28 September. This is definitely a great time to celebrate cosmic light! And if you have an inspiring story to share that is related to astronomy and our cosmic light, please let us know.

If you’re in La Palma, look out for the World at Night (TWAN) events that are part of the Astrofest, which includes workshops on anything from astroturism to astrophotography, celebrating the joy of the true night sky and cosmic light.

We would like to thank our contributors and everyone who makes our newsletter possible through their suggestions, and most of all for their continued efforts in making amazing astronomy activities around the world happen.

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


1) HighLIGHT of the Month: Weekend of Light

The four days from 25 to 28 September have been designated as the Weekend of Light as part of the International Year of Light. There are an incredible variety of activities taking place worldwide, and you can find a summary of the planned events here. The many choices range from watching the lunar eclipse to visiting a Light: Beyond the Bulb exhibit at a place near you, and we would like to encourage everyone to get involved.

To join this global celebration and get plenty of ideas go to: http://bit.ly/1J36vWK


2) The International Year of Light (IYL 2015) Blog: An international volunteer initiative

The IYL 2015 is a truly international initiative where thousands of volunteers are organising events worldwide to fulfill the objectives of the United Nations resolution that proclaimed the Year. One of these volunteer initiatives is the IYL 2015 Blog, which aims to bring tell the public about all the important themes covered by IYL 2015. With more than 150 000 views during 2015, the blog publishes contributions by volunteers from around the world who have fascinating light-related stories to tell, and want to be part of the International Year of Light. The Cosmic Light themes have been an important part of the topics developed on the blog, with contributions from many astronomers and important organisations such as NASA, the International Dark-Sky Association or the IAU’s Office for Astronomy Development. You can read all the contributions related to astronomy here.

Learn how to contribute with a post to the IYL 2015 blog here.


3) CosmicLight around the world

From 11 to 13 September, Nus, Italy, hosted the 24th Star Party in Saint-Barthélemy. During the event, supported by ASI (the Italian Space Agency), all visitors could enjoy guided tours around the Astronomical Observatory, shows at the planetarium, the Second Astronomical Science & Technology EXPO, exhibitions about Rosetta and the COSMO-SkyMed missions and many more.

Catania, Italy, hosted the XV Congress of the Italian Society of Archeoastronomy (SIA), entitled The Light, the Stones and the Sacred, from 11 to 12 September at the Benedictine Monastery of Catania.

On 12 September, Osaka, Japan hosted SICEWEEK 2015, which covered astronomy, astronomical observations, instrument & control engineering. SICEWEEK is an annual event introducing instrumentation and control engineering to the public and is organised by SICE (Society of Instrument and Control Engineers).

On 12 September, everyone in cities acriss the world had the chance to become a citizen scientist by going out at night to count how many stars they were able to see. The International Night of Skyglow Observation is the second event in the series, and it allows scientists to track how skyglow changes over the years.

On 13 September, Paisley, Ontario, Canada celebrated agricultural traditions with the Paisley Fall Fair, Sunflowers & Sunshine, highlighting the role of the Sun in creating life. Thanks to the Bluewater Astronomical Society, educational activities included the physics of light, how light feeds us, and safe solar observations.

On 14 September, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, hosted the conference The Islamic Golden Age of Science for actual knowledge-based society. The Ibn Al-Haytham example. The Ibn Al-Haytham conference focuses on scientific and intellectual accomplishments of the Islamic civilisation in its Golden Age (VIII–XV century) and the impact it had on the future of human civilisations across the world. Accomplishments include the study of optics, astronomy, physics, mathematics, life sciences, artistic disciplines, and philosophy. Renowned experts were invited to engage world leaders and the public with fascinating insights into an era of ground-breaking discoveries and innovations by Arab and Muslim scientists and cultural experts. The conference also displayed an exhibition featuring the inventions, creations, light-related artworks and achievements of Ibn Al-Haytham and other scholars of the Islamic Golden Age. This golden era contribution — as the precursor of modern science and technology — is characterised by numerous intellectual breakthroughs that still hold enormous significance in the twenty-first century.

On 16 September, Vancouver, Canada, hosted the In Search of the First Light: How the Thirty Meter Telescope will Revolutionise Astronomy talk. Canada is partnering with the USA, Japan, China, and India to build the Thirty Meter Telescope. The Professor of Astronomy, Paul Hickson, from the University of British Columbia explained how this giant telescope will work, and illustrated the ways in which it will advance our knowledge of the Universe.

The Digital Planetarium in Anapolis, Brazil opened an exhibition that shows the different lights produced by man and their applications, the light of the Sun and its connection with life on Earth. O Caminho da Luz - The Path of Light will be on display from 16 September to 19 December.

On 19 September, the world celebrated International Observe the Moon Night (IOtMN). IOtMN is an annual event that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of the Moon. On this special night, everyone is invited to observe the Moon, whose beautiful glow is thanks to reflected light from the Sun!

On 21 September, Hobart, Australia, hosted Exploring the Solar System with the Bright Lights of Australia. In this public lecture, Dr Helen Maynard-Casely explained how conditions found elsewhere in the Solar System can be re-created in the laboratory, but more crucially how we can study them using powerful light sources.

On 23 September, schools around the world participated in the Eratosthenes experiment. All registered schools could join in with a partner school, record data, and calculate the circumference of the Earth. If you belong to one of these schools you can still participate in the photo contest that is running until 23 October.

From 24 September to 12 November, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, offers Introduction to Astrophysics II, a 24-hour continuous education programme for the general public. X-ray/visible/infrared/radio-astronomy data are used to explain the nature of celestial objects. The importance of light in contemporary astrophysics will also be addressed.

And these are only the events dedicated to astronomy; there are many more exciting light-related events happening around the world: http://www.light2015.org/Home/Event-Programme.html


4) Space Girls Space Women

Addressing the paramount issue of the underrepresentation of women in scientific careers, a team of female reporters gathered to meet girls and women of different generations and nationalities who share a passion for space exploration. Their work will be shown in several major European cities and will illustrate the female view of space, culminating in a touring exhibition and a multimedia application.

Learn more: http://www.spacewomen.org/


5) Your support needed: Cities at Night kickstarter campaign

Cities at Night was a huge project started in July 2014, to catalogue over 130 000 images taken by astronauts from the International Space Station. At this stage, more than 2500 have been located and 1000 geo-referenced. The early results conclude that European countries and cities with a higher public debt also have higher energy consumption for street lighting per inhabitant, and that the total cost of energy consumption for street lights is 6300 million euros/year in the European Union. After gaining the initial support of many institutions and thousands of volunteers, the next phase of the Cities at Night project aims to gather funding to keep the project running, so it can extend its colour map of the nightside of the Earth. The kickstarter campaign wants to create a Google Maps style map of the world at night so that anybody will be able to access it.

Learn more: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1550160587/cities-at-night


6) The World At Night events: La Palma Astrofest 2015

If you’re in La Palma, you won’t want to miss The World at Night (TWAN) La Palma Astrofest 2015 from 27 September to 8 October. The participants will have access to a wide range of conferences and workshops celebrating the night sky in the stargazing paradise of the Canary Islands. The Astrofest programme comprises: the International Nightscape Conference, from 29 September to 2 October, the Astrotourism Conference, from 25–27 September, the Astromaster TWAN photography workshop from 3–8 October, and also you might not miss the chance to observe the total lunar eclipse of 27–28 September from the top of La Palma.

Learn more about the La Palma Astrofest 2015 here: http://astrofestlapalma.com


7) Online Journal: Galactic Inquirer

The Galactic Inquirer is a freely accessible online journal and forum for people interested in galactic and extragalactic astronomy, cosmochemistry and astrobiology, and including the prospects for interstellar communications. The team welcomes comments on the existing contributions as well as contributing articles.

Learn how to join: http://galacticinquirer.net


8) How to use TED-Ed in your Earth and Space Science classroom

Highland Park High School teacher Gordon Williamson uses TED-Ed Lessons extensively in his middle school Earth and Space Science classroom to catalyse conversations and supplement his curriculum. Here you can learn how to incorporate the vast collection of TED-Ed videos in the classroom.

Learn more here: http://bit.ly/1IgiHXG


9) Upcoming meetings & global events around the world

a) The 6th International Festival of Scientific Visualisation 2015
Date: 23–26 September 2015
Location: Koriyama-city, Japan
More Information: http://image.sci-fest.net/2015/en/index.html

b) Astrotourism Conference
Date: 25–26 September 2015
Location: La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain
More Information: http://astrofestlapalma.com/ii-astrotourism-international-conference/

c) International Symposium on the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) Museum
Date: 27–29 September 2015
Location: Tokyo, Japan
More information: http://prc.nao.ac.jp/museum/symp2015/

d) European Planetary Science Conference (EPSC)
Date: 27 September – 2 October 2015
Location:La Cité des Congrès, Nantes, France
More information: http://www.epsc2015.eu/

e) International Nightscape Conference
Date: September 29 – 2 October
Location: La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain
More information: http://astrofestlapalma.com/international-nightscape-conference/

f) Astromaster TWAN photography workshop
Date: 3-8 October 2015
Location: La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain
More Information: http://astrofestlapalma.com/iv-astromaster-la-palma/

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

h) Earth Observation Science 2.0
Date: 16–18 October 2015
Location: ESRIN, Frascati, Italy
More information: http://eoscience20.org/

i) Advance Imaging Conference
Date: 12–14 October 2015
Location: San Jose, California, USA
More information: http://www.aicccd.com/index.html

j) Conference on Light Science and Applications (ICLSA)
Date: 26–28 October 2015
Location: University of Namibia (UNAM), Windhoek main campus, Namibia
More information: http://www.unam.edu.na/light2015

k) International Conference on Communication and Light
Location: University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
Date: 2–4 November 2015
More Information: http://www.comlight2015.org/

l) .Astronomy 7
Date: 3–6 November 2015
Location: Sydney, Australia
More information: http://dotastronomy.com/blog/2015/05/join-us-for-astronomy-7-in-sydney/

m) 2nd Symposium of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR): Water and Life in the Universe
Date: 9–13 November 2015
Location: Foz do Iguaçu — Brazil
More Information: http://cosparbrazil2015.org/

n) 1st Symposium on Space Educational Activities
Date: 9–12 December 2015
Location: Padova, Italy
More Information: http://ssasymposium.org/

o) ESO Astronomy Camp
Date: 26 December 2015 to 1 January 2016
Location: Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley, Saint-Barthélemy, Nus, Italy
More information: http://www.eso.org/public/announcements/ann15038/

p) Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2016 Conference
Date: 16–20 May 2016
Location: Medellín, Colombia
More information: https://www.facebook.com/CAPconference

q) International Planetarium Society Conference
Date:19– 25 June 2016
Location: Warsaw, Poland
More Information: http://www.ips2016.org/

r) IAU Symposia IAUS 326: Research in Astronomy Education: Far-reaching Impacts and Future Directions
Date: 4–7 October 2016
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
More Information: https://www.iau.org/science/meetings/future/symposia/1159/


10) 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 around the world, so please share your story with us! 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 have created any educational resources, let us know by sending an email to outreach@iau.org


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