IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter

2015 #14 (October 2015)

In this newsletter:

  1. From the Editors
  2. Celebrate 51 Pegasi b’s 20th anniversary by voting for its new name
  3. IAU National Outreach Contact Corner: CosmicLight activities in Argentina
  4. HighLIGHT of the Month: SkyLight — A Global Science Opera
  5. CosmicLight around the world
  6. World Space Week celebration
  7. Crowdfunding campaign: Save the Mopra Telescope & Map the Milky Way
  8. Send your artwork into space on the new CHEOPS satellite
  9. Space Awareness
  10. Upcoming meetings and global events around the world
  11. Contributions to this newsletter


0) From the Editor

October will be a great month to celebrate astronomy and space, and in this issue we’ll share some of these upcoming and ongoing activities and events with you.

One exciting October moment is the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the first exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star. 51 Pegasi b is also one of the exoworlds in the NameExoWorlds contest, and you can choose a new name for it. If you’re still undecided about how to vote, why not check out the supplementary videos provided by the proposers? Hope you have as much fun as we did watching them!

World Space Week runs from 4–10 October with plenty of interesting activities happening around the world, so make sure you don’t miss out on the celebrations! One fun way to celebrate space is to enter the CHEOPS drawing contest. ESA and its mission partners are inviting children to submit drawings that will be miniaturised and engraved on two plaques that will be put on the CHEOPS satellite. Another highlight is the Skylight Opera event, which is an International Year of Light (IYL2015) CosmicLight project that links science and art in a beautiful and creative way to promote friendship, cooperation and collaboration between different countries and cultures.

In this issue, we’re also featuring a brand new topic: news and stories from our National Outreach Contact (NOC) network, one of the major pieces of infrastructure in the IAU outreach strategy. Our first special thank you is sent to the Argentinian NOC, Beatriz Garcia, for sharing the CosmicLight activities in Argentina with us.

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


1) Celebrate 51 Pegasi b’s 20th anniversary by voting for its new name

October 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the announcement of the discovery of 51 Pegasi b; the first exoplanet to be discovered orbiting a Sun-like star. This is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the many discoveries that have been made since then. 51 Pegasi b is also one of the planets awaiting a new name as part of the IAU’s NameExoWorlds contest. NameExoWorlds has been running since August, and the number of votes for the submitted name proposals have gathered more than 300 000 entries from all around the world. If you still haven’t voted, don’t miss this great opportunity, and vote before the closing date of 31 October.

You can find the details of the contest here: http://nameexoworlds.iau.org/.


2) IAU National Outreach Contact Corner: CosmicLight activities in Argentina

As part of the outreach activities in Argentina, the Argentinian IAU NOC committee has organised the IYL2015 CosmicLight contest for students between 6 and 18 years old. The photos were exhibited at the Annual Meeting of the Argentinian Association of Astronomy in La Plata city.

You can learn more about the activity here: http://aaa2015.fcaglp.unlp.edu.ar/Muestras.html

(by Beatriz Garcia, Argentinian NOC)


3) HighLIGHT of the Month: SkyLight — A Global Science Opera

SkyLight — A Global Science Opera is an Information and communications technology based international creative education project endorsed by the International Astronomical Union as an official project during the International Year of Light 2015. During 2015, students from schools in nearly 30 countries collaborated to create and perform a science opera inspired by CosmicLight. On 3 October, the project culminated in a beautiful display that proved that both creative science learning as well as cross-border friendship and cooperation can truly inspire people around the world.

Learn more about the project here: http://bit.ly/1LgBPpQ

Watch the promo trailer here: https://youtu.be/LEaB4HRHxKo


4) CosmicLight around the world

From 25–27 September, Krakow, Poland held the 3rd Nationwide Conference on Light Pollution. The aim of this conference was to discuss the impact of light pollution on the environment. The discussions focused on the astronomical, biological, medical and technical aspects of this problematic issue.

On 26 September, Canosa di Puglia in Italy hosted The Sky Light. In partnership with the Mariano Palace and the Planetarium of Bari, the organisers provided the participants with a unique opportunity to see the sky above the city through telescopes, accompanied by talks related to the International Year of Light.

On 28 September the world gathered to see the total lunar eclipse, and there were many activities celebrating this event.

From 25–28 September, Pondicherry, India celebrated with the Super Moon Activity. The Phoenix Science Club organised Super Moon activities for schoolchildren, members of the public and other children in and around Pondicherry. Within these activities, there were lunar talks, poster exhibitions, telescope viewing and Moon photography.

Offenburg University in Germany provided everyone with the opportunity to watch the lunar eclipse via live streaming.

In Levice, Slovakia, there was a special event called Observing the Total Lunar Eclipse where everyone was invited to observe the eclipse as part of the International Year of Light and Weekend of Light special programmes.

In Larnaca, Cyprus, the community got together to observe the Special Moon and in cooperation with the Larnaca Anti Drug Society, there was a Pan-Cyprian event with telescope observations.

In Nus, Italy, participants in the local event had the chance to meet researchers from the Astronomical Observatory and Planetarium in Lignan, Saint-Barthélemy Valley, to see the Moon’s total eclipse and discover what we can learn from this unique planetary show of light and shadow.

Sydney, Australia, hosted the activity Supermoon Debunked and the participants had the chance to view the Moon and its craters through telescopes.

From 1 October to 27 December, Munakata-shi in Japan is introducing the planetarium programme The Universe observed using light, which shows the audience what astronomical observations of light reveal.

From 1–3 October, Jyväskylä, Finland, hosted The City of Light event. The participants could learn about, and enjoy, the city’s lighting system, including the unveiling of new permanently illuminated locations. The event included a seminar on the topic of light as a physiological phenomenon, the aurora borealis, and star gazing. Also, there were many light installations and community art projects like the Guerrilla Lighting event to brighten up the dark autumn evenings.

On 1 October Yerevan in Armenia hosted Light from the Baby Universe with an invited speaker from Poland, David Blaschke.

From 10 October to 6 November, Vienna, Austria, is celebrating 100 years of the general theory of relativity with an interactive exhibition, several lectures and the scientific workshop, 100 Years of Curved Space-time.

Gravitation 2015 not only looks back, but also considers the present state of the theory and discusses recent developments and new perspectives.

From 2–12 October, Miyazaki, Japan is hosting the Star Festival Lights from the Universe.

On 3 October, in Interlochen, United States, the Michigan Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers, received the Chief of NASA’s Solar Physics Laboratory at Goddard Space Flight Center, Dr Holly Gilbert, as the keynote speaker on the topic of the Sun and its light.

From 9–11 October, Twizel, New Zealand, will celebrate the Aoraki Mackenzie Starlight Festival. The Starlight Festival is a public outreach event celebrating the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. Spread over three days, many activities are planned, such as scientific, educational and cultural events involving stargazing, music, lectures, exhibitions and a poetry/essay competition.

On 10 October, Istanbul, Turkey, hosts 100 Years of General Relativity In this lecture, Professor Rahmi Güven of Bogazici University will speak about the theory of general relativity as part of the centenary celebrations. The lecture is presented in Turkish and is intended for a broader scientific audience.

Don’t miss the Globe at Night campaign for October. This international citizen science program for monitoring light pollution will run its next event from 3–12 October 2015.

Learn more here: http://www.globeatnight.org/

Light: Beyond the Bulb continues to dazzle audiences with astronomy throughout the upcoming weeks and across different countries. The exhibition will visit Northampton, United Kingdom; Twizel, New Zealand; Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México; Kitchener, Ontario, Canada; Boydton, VA, United States; Framingham, MA, United States; Curitiba, Brazil; Berrien Springs, MI, United States; Birmingham, United Kingdom; Zrenjanin, Serbia; Moodushedde, Mangaluru, India; Washington D.C., United States; and Asunción, Paraguay until October 10.

Find Light: Beyond the Bulb at a place near you at http://lightexhibit.org/iylexhibits.html.

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.


5) World Space Week celebration

Since its United Nations declaration in 1999, World Space Week has grown into one of the largest public space events in the world. In 2014, more than 1400 events in 80 countries celebrated the excitement and benefits of space exploration. This year’s theme is “Discovery”, focusing on new deep space discoveries. Don’t miss the exciting events that will occur from 4–10 October.

Learn more about this year’s programme here: http://www.worldspaceweek.org/


6) Crowdfunding campaign: Save the Mopra Telescope and Map the Milky Way

Mopra is a radio telescope in Australia, located in the Warrumbungle Mountains of the State of New South Wales. It is a special kind of radio telescope that is able to record the high-frequency radio emission that comes from molecules in space. However, due to drastic budget cuts the telescope is planned to be shut down, leaving their map unfinished and our knowledge incomplete. The telescope team has launched the Kickstarter campaign “Save the Mopra Telescope & Map the Milky Way“ to seek support. We would like to congratulate the team for their success as the project has reached their goal and raised all the funds needed.

Learn more: http://kck.st/1KWuNbb


7) Send your artwork into space on the new CHEOPS satellite

Do you want to send your art into space on the new CHEOPS satellite? The European Space Agency (ESA) and its mission partners are inviting children to submit drawings that will be miniaturised and engraved on two plaques that will be put on the CHEOPS satellite. Planned to be launched by end of 2017, CHaracterising ExOPlanets Satellite – CHEOPS, is a space telescope that will observe nearby stars that are known to host planets, and is being built as a collaboration between ESA’s Science Programme and Switzerland. The deadline for the contest is 31 October 2015.

Learn more about the contest here: http://bit.ly/1JruiRj


8) Space Awareness

Space Awareness uses the excitement of space to interest young people in science and technology and stimulates European and global citizenship. The project will engage children and teenagers in the different opportunities offered by space science and engineering. It will inspire primary-school children at an age when curiosity is high, and value systems are being formed. EU Space Awareness is a three-year project funded by the European Commission.

Get ready for the full website launch during World Space Week from 4–10 October. Meanwhile learn more about the Space Awareness project here: http://www.space-awareness.org/.


9) Upcoming meetings and global events around the world

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

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

c) 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

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

e) .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/

f) 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/

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

h) 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/

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

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

k) 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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