Early this week I visited the IAU's office of astronomy for development (OAD) in Cape Town, South Africa. In early 2012 I was very flattered to be asked to chair a task force, along with Pedro Russo from Universe Awareness, for children and schools after attending a workshop in Cape Town. There are 2 other task forces, along with ours, which tackle issues of public engagement and universities and research.
Call for Proposals to use the LCOGT 1m & 2m telescope facilities
During this week (7 - 9 January 2014) BBC have been showing the latest in their annual series of live space and astronomy programmes on UK television, called Stargazing LIVE. The programmes are hosted by particle physicist and presenter Brian Cox and comedian Dara Ó Briain (who hosted our first Show Me Stars twitter event in 2011).
Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award 2014, for outstanding outreach by an amateur astronomer to children and the public is awarded to Mr. Chuck Bueter. Bueter, independent informal education professional in South Bend, Indiana, was instrumental in the popularization of astronomy at summer camps as well as diverse astronomy events in the area, and garnered national attention through his programs and website. He has volunteered with Kids Astro Camp at Camp Eberhart in Indiana since 2003, where his enthusiasm for astronomy has helped introduce astronomy to children of all ages. Most recently, his passion for astronomy culminated with the Transit of Venus in 2012, where he orchestrated dozens events in preparation for the event. His efforts resulted in thousands of children and adults viewing the transit with excitement, and became the cover story of the March 2012 issue of Planetarian, the journal of the International Planetarium Society. He also worked with a local planetarium director to organize a program called “Let There be Night,” during which more than 3,000 student from 14 schools learned about the problems of light pollution from hands-on research and activities.
The lifecycle of stars is one of the core parts of the science curriculum in many countries around the World. It is, however, one of the more challenging parts of the curriculum for teachers. Many teachers are not specialists in astronomy and possibly did not study physics past their own school careers. This presents a significant problem when they come to teach the unfamiliar topics they meet in astronomy.
For this reason we created Star in a Box. It is a resource which allows people to explore the evolution of stars through different stages of their lives.
We have just released a new version of it based on consultation with a teacher focus group from Cardiff UK. Some of the new features are:
LCOGT is pleased to announce a new platform for high-quality, peer-reviewed astronomy education activities has been launched today by the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development. astroEDU is a platform that allows educators to discover, review, distribute, improve and remix astronomy education activities, and offers a free peer-review service by professionals in education and science. astroEDU came about through a partnership between LCOGT, Universe Awareness and IAU.
Hundreds of thousands of astronomy education activities exist, but their quality is highly variable. Using the familiar peer-review workflow of scientific publications, astroEDU will improve the quality, visibility and accessibility of these astronomy education activities. Because astroEDU is endorsed by the International Astronomical Union is also lends credibility to these activities.
Call for Proposals for Key Projects to use the LCOGT 1m and 2m telescope networks
The Division for Planetary Science' (DPS) annual meeting unfolded last week in Denver, CO. This is the main gathering for Solar System and exoplanet scientists, and LCOGT, of course, was there!