ann22013 — Announcement

Two young participants in educational exercise
14 March 2022
OAE Center Italy to Hold Public Astronomy Outreach Event on 16 March

On 16 March 2022 the OAE Center Italy will hold a public outreach event called “Let’s light up the skies of the world”. The OAE Center Italy is coordinated by INAF and is part of the network of the IAU’s Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE). It is organising the activity to emphasise that the sky is the heritage of all people, and that astronomy constitutes a powerful tool for multicultural inclusion. The event will be held in a hybrid format, both online and in person, at the Italian Pavilion of Expo 2022 Dubai — a World Expo running until 31 March 2022.

For participants attending in person, the programme will begin with a hands-on educational exercise in which students of local schools can work with lights in the shapes of various constellations and connect them to the legends of different cultures around the world. This activity was developed from a project by Play, the website for innovative education by INAF, meant to bring astronomy to schools using low-cost, accessible materials.

After this, there will be a round table at which experts, educators and teachers will discuss the value of astronomy as a tool for multiculturalism and inclusion. The speakers will include Markus Pössel, Director of the OAE; Sara Ricciardi and Stefano Sandrelli, of the OAE Center Italy; Hamid Al-Naimiy, President of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space sciences, and Director General of the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space sciences & Technology (SAAST); Ilias Fernini​, Deputy Director General of SAAST; and Pedro Russo of Leiden University and Ciência Viva.

During the event, the OAE Center Italy will also present Moon Landing VR, a 360° virtual reality video offering users an immersive first-person experience of the last exciting minutes of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, with Neil Armstrong as pilot. Moon Landing VR is produced by Virtual Immersions in Science (VIS), an INAF partner in public engagement training.

“Since ancient times, people were fascinated by the night sky, and projected amongst the stars their mythologies, thus inventing constellations, says Stefano Sandrelli, Director of the newly-established Italian Centre. “It’s just this universal spark of wonder and curiosity which our OAE Center Italy wants to bring to the EXPO stage, involving primary schools in an amusing and engaging activity. Then we will tell the public, both there and online, about the perspectives now opening up through the new office of the International Astronomical Union, which places astronomy, namely the relationship between ourselves and the Universe, at the service of the children’s learning process.”

How to participate:

For remote participants: you can follow the round table online from 9:45 CET (12:45 local time) on 16 March 2022. You should register here in advance of the event, and once registered you will receive the link for the live show by email.

For local media and Expo visitors: the programme will run from 10:00 to 14:15 (local time) on 16 March in the Italian Pavilion. The hands-on school workshop will begin at 10:00 (local time) in the Academy, and the round table will begin at 12:45 (local time) in the Auditorium. To attend in person, registration is needed.

More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 12 000 active professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

In December 2019, the IAU established the Office of Astronomy for Education, also known as OAE, an office devoted to Astronomy and Teaching, located in Germany. Starting from March 2021, the German Headquarters receives the support of Italy through the OAE Center Italy, born from the collaboration between INAF,  National Institute for Astrophysics, and a network including the Italian Astronomical Society (SAIt) and the University of Rome Tor Vergata (ToV). 



Livia Giacomini

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Director of Communications
Cell: +1 520 461 0433/+49 173 38 72 621

About the Announcement



Two young participants in educational exercise