IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter

2016 #10 June #1 — CAP2016 Special

In this newsletter:

  1. From the Editors
  2. Steps in communicating a crisis
  3. Winning the hearts of students for Astronomy (in French and Arabic)
  4. Astronomy at the Airport
  5. Using Art in Astronomy Education (in Spanish)
  6. Astronomy Issues in Gabriel García Márquez literary work (La Astronomía en la Obra de Gabriel García Márquez) (in Spanish)
  7. The Vibrating Universe: Astronomy for the Deaf
  8. Solarsphere: the UK’s first astronomy and music festival
  9. Navigation through Space and Time: Astronomy at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
  10. Role of Low Cost/ No Cost Materials for Communicating Principles and Application of the Method of Science: The Astronomy Focus
  11. Contributions to IAU Outreach Newsletter for 2016


0) From the Editors

In this special issue of this newsletter, we want to highlight some of the projects presented during the conference Communicating Astronomy with the Public that took place in May 2016 in Medellín, Colombia. We learnt about a competition in Algeria that has been inspiring students for the past few years, about the original astronomy outreach activities that are happening around the UK, low-cost materials in India that create sustainable programmes and much more.

Unfortunately, we can only bring you a small sample of the presentations from Colombia, leaving you much more to discover for yourself. Visit http://livestream.com/ParqueExploraTV/CAP2016 and watch the plenary sessions of the conference. And, in upcoming issues, we will be featuring other presentations from Colombia. Stay tuned.

We want to add a special thank you to all the participants in Communicating Astronomy With the Public 2016 who shared their incredible stories and great examples of ways to communicate astronomy. And, last but not least, our thanks to the local organisation — the team from Parque Explora, who did such an amazing work to ensure the conference's great success and make all of us feel truly welcome in the beautiful city of Medellín.

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


1) Steps in Communicating a Crisis

Starting with how to communicate a crisis and then moving on to cover generally uncomfortable conversations, this great talk discusses the crisis moments that might threaten a group and details the different stages in a communication flow chart on how to deal with a crisis. From negative crises — such as the failure of a mission; positive crises — such as major discoveries; to the latest sexual harassment scandals; Christina Richey takes the audience through the difficult discussions that can shake our community to the core.

You can watch this talk (45 minutes) in the CAP2016 video stream here: http://livestream.com/ParqueExploraTV/CAP2016/videos/123525194


2) Winning the Hearts of Students for Astronomy (in French and Arabic)

Every year, the Sirius Association in Algeria launches a very successful high school event to promote science through astronomy. This takes the form of a competition related to scientific literacy with a strong emphasis on astronomy, where the final three winners travel to a place of scientific significance around the world. This annual competition is publicised to tens of thousands students among 60 high schools in the Constantine Governorate in Algeria,from whom the best 600 students will compete. This contest provides a strong incentive to study astronomy and science in general and can serve as a good example for others to follow.

Learn more about the programme here: http://siriusalgeria.net/cs/
Watch the presentation in this CAP2016 video stream, among other talks, here: http://livestream.com/ParqueExploraTV/CAP2016/videos/123431145


3) Astronomy at the Airport

Last February, researchers from the University of Southampton Astronomy Group engaged passengers waiting in the departure lounge at Southampton airport with their world-leading research on supernovae. Travellers from this airport could learn about one of the most powerful astronomical events in the Universe — supernovae, in a most unexpected setting. This group also tries to understand how the public responds to discussions with local scientists about astronomy research in an environment where they are not expecting to be engaged.

You can read more about the programme here: http://www.phys.soton.ac.uk/news/4845
You can watch this (around min. 55:00) and other presentations here: http://livestream.com/ParqueExploraTV/CAP2016/videos/123325039


4) Using Art in Astronomy Education (in Spanish)

UNAWE Colombia has produced a new educational book that uses art to teach astronomy: “Astronomia a traves del Arte”. This resource is a collection of astronomy activities that uses artistic techniques that are great for informal and formal education teachers of preschool and primary students. It provides teachers with an introduction to different topics in astronomy, to inspire the young students with the wonders of the Universe.

Learn more about the resource here: http://www.unawe.org/resources/guides/AstroArtUNAWEBook/


5) Astronomy in the Literary Work of Gabriel García Márquez (La Astronomía en la Obra de Gabriel García Márquez) (in Spanish)

Gabriel García Marquez, the Colombian Nobel Laureate for Literature, was deeply interested in astronomy. In the recently published book, La astronomía en la obra de Gabriel García Márquez, the author shows how astronomy has influenced Márquez’s literary works and the connections between astronomy and many other artists that have helped to interest a general audience in science and gain scientific knowledge.

You can learn more about Astronomía en la Obra de Gabriel García Márquez, published by Oveja Negra, here: http://www.eltiempo.com/estilo-de-vida/ciencia/libro-recoge-referencias-a-la-astronomia-en-la-obra-de-garcia-marquez/16595626


6) The Vibrating Universe: Astronomy for the Deaf

At the University of California — Riverside, astronomers working together with experienced teachers at the California School for the Deaf — Riverside, have developed a workshop aimed specifically for the deaf and hard of hearing: The Vibrating Universe. The results have been very promising, over 80 students have attended and surveyed the workshop, allowing our team of developers to better fine tune and adapt the way we communicate astronomy through sound vibrations to their specific requests. The project was awarded a broader impacts grant by the National Science Foundation.

You can find sample content for The Vibrating Universe workshop here: http://www.astro.ucr.edu/astronomydeaf/


7) Solarsphere: The UK’s First Astronomy and Music Festival

Solarsphere combines an informal astronomy camp with a modern music festival, attempting to broaden the appeal of the subject and bring it to a new audience. Through a varied programme of activities and events, it aims to provide something for all levels of astronomical experience, including complete novices, alongside a lively programme of activities and workshops for children, and music covering a variety of genres.

Find more about 2016 Solarsphere: http://www.thefestivalcalendar.co.uk/festivals/Solarsphere_Astronomical_And_Music_Festival_2016


8) Navigation through Space and Time: Astronomy at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Since 2012, the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth has collaborated with the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to offer stargazing events for the public that combine astronomy and navigation. This programme is a successful example of collaboration with tourist attractions whose main remit is not science education and organisations outside science and astronomy to put on public astronomy events. In this event, the audience enjoys an evening of stargazing, space activities, cosmology chat and talks at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, with activities taking place on board HMS Warrior and at the Action Stations attraction.

You can learn more about the programme here: http://www.icg.port.ac.uk/stargazinglive/


9) Role of Low Cost/ No Cost Materials for Communicating Principles and Application of the Method of Science: The Astronomy Focus

Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous institution of the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India has been carrying out science popularisation activities with a particular reference to astronomy. Astronomy is seen as a window of opportunity to highlight the principles and practice of science and technology, aligned with India’’s constitutional agenda of fostering scientific awareness in its citizens. The resource material includes an Astronomy Kit, Eclipse Kit, Transit Kit, Activity books, interactive videos, etc. Over the last decade, organisations have used these materials for training purposes, reaching about 29 states, three union territories and 625 districts of India. The materials have reached more than 50 000 communicators and educators, while indirectly it has reached about 10 million children. The cost of the individual kits, book, booklet, etc, is less than $5 per knowledge product.

Find more about the programme here: http://www.vigyanprasar.gov.in/astronomy/Astronomy.htm and the resources here: http://www.vigyanprasar.gov.in/Publication/Astronomy%20kit%20%20.asp


10) Contributions to IAU Outreach Newsletter for 2016

Here at the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach, we are always looking for more news about astronomical education and outreach events around the world. Please continue to share your stories with us in 2016! If you are organizing any large-scale events at a regional or international level, offering astronomy education or communication job positions, have any 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.