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In 1609, as Galileo pointed the sky with a telescope, he observed Jupiter's satellites and changed our vision of the universe. Four hundred years later, we celebrate this event all over the world, and also in the Canaries. 2009, the International Year of Astronomy, is a very special year for the Science and Cosmos Museum (Museo de la Ciencia y el Cosmos). This was the first museum in Spain supported by a public entity, The Local Government of Tenerife (Cabildo de Tenerife), through its Autonomous Council of Museums (Organismo Autónomo de Museos y Centros), and a research centre, the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. Fifteen years later, this museum, which receives 50,000 visitors a year, celebrates the International Year of Astronomy with fifty projects described in this paper.
The Ciel, miroir des cultures poster-exhibition was designed by the Association Française d'Astronomie and printed in 300 copies in 2005. Each copy is composed of 14 posters introducing the different ways human beings and societies have used the sky and the heavens in history. More than three hundred cultural events have now been using the exhibition in schools and community structures as public libraries and social centres, taking place mainly in low-income urban or suburban neighbourhoods. This three-year work demonstrated the relevance of this kind of tools and events to pedagogical and social aims, specifically if the event is not limited to showing posters and also offers an opportunity for dialogue.
The Master's degree “Outils et Systèmes de l'Astronomie et de l'Espace” (OSAE, “Astronomical and Space-based Systems Engineering”) is intended for students interested in Astronomy and Space technology. Students undergo a comprehensive training in partnership with international-level laboratories and with leading private companies. The degree provides physicists with a wide range of skills, appropriate for those whose intention is to participate in subsystems, equipment and engineering systems, and also for future project managers, working in the aerospace industry or similar technological industries or in national and European agencies. The 1-year course is given in collaboration with national and international institutions, laboratories and industries. It includes an extended training period (5 to 6 months) and a theoretical and practical specialization given by university and industrial teachers. It benefits from the network of laboratories associated with the Astronomy and Astrophysics doctorate school of the Île-de-France.
From the dawn of consciousness, humans have looked up and wondered about what the universe holds. It is that sense of wonder and thirst for knowledge that astronomy has helped fuel. In this paper we look at how education and public outreach has been a major element in preparing the next generation of astronomers and in sharing with the public the excitement of discoveries we make when we explore the Universe. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a clear set of goals and objectives related to education and public outreach. These goals follow directly from NASA's mission “to inspire the next generation of explorers”. Making progress towards achieving these goals has become an important part of the broad justification for public support of space science. Here we will describe a number of education and public outreach initiatives that are examples of the plethora of NASA funded programs and resources.
Probably the only reliably recorded solar eclipse event during a day-time war is the 28 May 585 BCE event, famous also for several other reasons. It has a credible written record, mentioned by the ancient historian Heredotus and his History notes that the eclipse was predicted by Thales of Miletos (the Ionian capital city in Western Anatolia). The location of the war between Lydians and the Medes is now firmly located as the plain in front of ancient city of Pteria, the Anatolian capital of the Medes. The historical record mentions that the war stopped and a peace treaty was signed, with the wedding of a prince and a princess from rival kings. All these features make the event and place an excellent candidate for a World Astronomical Heritage site to be preserved.
Being close to the cities of Puebla to east and Cholula to the north, both having potential for large growth, the National Astronomical Observatory in Tonantzintla (OAN-Tonantzintla) faces the danger of deteriorating its sky conditions even more. In order to maintain competitiveness for education and scientific programs, it is important to preserve the sky brightness conditions. through: 1) our awareness of the night sky characteristics in continuous monitoring campaigns, doing more measurements over the next years to monitor changes and 2) encouraging local authorities about the need to regulate public lighting at the same time, showing them the benefits of such initiatives when well planed and correctly implemented.
In the field of visual double stars, a long term follow-up is required, since their orbital periods may reach several centuries. Created in 1981 within the Société Astronomique de France (SAF) with the support of the late Paul Muller (1910-2000), the Commission des Etoiles Doubles provides the framework for the necessary collaboration between professional and amateur astronomers, through generations. The late Dr. Paul Baize (1901-1995) was a model for its members. Several professional astronomers became scientific advisors of the Commission and have guided many works made by amateurs.
We briefly present the history and activities of amateur and professionnal astronomers from the “Association Française des Observateurs d'Etoiles Variables” (AFOEV, the French society of variable star observers).
We briefly relate the story of the fight against light pollution in France and make a projection into the future. Following the steps of Jean Kovalevsky who was the initiator of the protection of the astronomical sites in France, a few French amateur astronomers began the fight against light pollution in the 1990s. After a first conference for the night environmental protection in 1995 in Rodez, the second conference in 1998 creates the national association which will become in 2007 the National association for the Protection of the Sky and the Night Environment (ANPCEN). In 2008 light pollution is formally identified, by law, as a problem. Since 2005 the LICORNESS association continues to promote research on the impacts of light on the biotopes while protecting the astronomical sites.
Astronomical and cosmological knowledge up to the dawn of modern science was profoundly embedded in myth, religion and superstition. Many of these inventions of the human mind remain today stored in different supports: medieval engravings, illuminated manuscripts, and of course also in old and rare books.
The Pierre Auger Observatory, dedicated to the detection and study of Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays, has as one of it fundamental missions outreach activities. With this in mind, a specially conceived Visitor Center was included in the design of the Pierre Auger campus in the city of Malargüe, Mendoza, Argentina. One of its main objectives is the contact with the community, through educational courses, talks, conferences and workshops for differen t levels. The permanent exchange between the Pierre Auger scientists and teachers, professionals and society, is important to the impact of the Observatory in the vision by the community of science in general, and scientists in particular. Activities in the outreach area during the last 10 years, resulted in changes to the curricula of study in the schools. Important topics are discussed, like astronomy, light pollution control, and modification of the behavior of the local society. In this presentation we will show how an extensive outreach program, organized by scientists in contact with the community and based on (or near) a research center, can be a factor of social transformation.
One of the reasons for which this symposium has been organised is to seek answers to several questions, one of which being: Can Astronomy help reducing the waning interest that the younger generations of students feel about science studies? My personal opinion is that it is indeed the case. In fact, I claim that astronomy can be very effective for this aim. The present situation of pupil shortages in scientific studies is a complex problem because there are multiple and diverse variables influencing this situation. One of them is that the contents are not introduced in the most appropriate form, because the methods used in teaching scientific disciplines are not appropriate. This paper relates my personal experience; first as a teacher and then as a student at the Faculty of Sciences in the University of Alicante.
Astronomy is a science devoted to the study of what existed, exists and will exist, from the most elemental particle to the most massive and powerful galaxy one observes. The study of the universe is not only meant to be to achieve an important understanding about it, but also in other fields of science and technology. The most important contribution from astronomy is perhaps social: it fascinates millions of people along the globe. The history of astronomy carries along the very history of humankind.
A journalist's view on science and journalism. The presentation is based on personal experience gained over the past few years as editor of the minute of science broadcasted at Radio Europa FM, Bucharest, Romania, and as editor and writer for the Romanian electronic science newspaper Ziarul stiintelor. Is it possible to have science with or without journalism? Who is waiting for whom, science or journalism? Is astronomy more attractive to the public than other disciplines? Can it be used as a growing factor for the public understanding of science?
We describe and discuss most interesting archaeological findings related to old astronomy in Ukraine. Among them are the mammoth tusk fragments (Gontsy and Kiev-Kirilivska settlements) and the famous Mezin bracelets (Mezin settlement), where possible calendar patterns based on the lunar cycles are engraved with fine accuracy, as well as a possible stellar map on the mammoth shoulder bone (Chocurcha-2 settlement).
They came to the Big Island from as far away as Murrumbeena, Australia, and as near by as Hilo, Hawaii. They were progeny of Scottish coal miners, French physicists, Chicago truck drivers, Japanese samurai and Big Island cane workers. Together, these men and women would build and commission one of the most dynamic and productive 3.6 meter telescopes in the world that remains in the forefront of science and technology. The CFHT oral history DVD preserves the stories of the first decade and a half of the observatory.
Astronomy as one of the oldest sciences has influenced and spurred steady development of society and culture. Inherent superstitious beliefs and their related rituals that have been hampering the progress and prosperity of nations have been dispelled and reduced considerably through the promotion of astronomical activities at all levels of the society. For disseminating basic knowledge and logic of astronomical facts that were deemed important for the development of our society, various programmes have been conducted through mass media. Many talk programmes, seminars and star parties were organised in different places. Our experiences when planning and executing such programmes are summarised and illustrated. The effectiveness of our programmes with the participation of general public is discussed in detail. Positive results of our activities that have contributed towards creation of substantial awareness of astronomy for the development of our society in Nepal are explained.
Encounters with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology are carried out at the Universidad de Los Andes (Mérida, Venezuela) since 2000. The main purpose is that the minds of young people get familiarised with science and astronomy, through a well-established relationship linking universities and research centres with schools.
“The Sky as a Laboratory” is an educational project of the Department of Astronomy of the University of Padova aimed to give students a physical approach to astronomy and astrophysics. It is a regional program designed to improve science education in the last two grades of high school, by creating cooperation between scientists and teachers. Currently it is present in 30 high schools around all provinces of the region of Veneto in the North-East of Italy. The close involvement in the didactical activities of high schools teachers is without any doubt the winning strategy of the project. Their enthusiastic participation to teaching and organising activities attracts each year the attention for sciences of an increasing number of students and suggests new ideas for future educational activities.