2018 Recommended Projects

Every year, the OAD receives numerous, good quality proposals that we are unable to support. We compile these projects on to a ‘Recommended List’, which is shared here for the benefit of potential funders. The 2018 Recommended List has 19 projects across the three Task Forces. Read the project summaries below.

Please contact us to support or collaborate with one or more of the projects

Astrophysics Southern African Regional Workshop Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia, SA, Lesotho, Swaziland, Madagascar, Mauritius We envisage an annual regional 6 day workshop on astrophysics where students and researchers interact on hands-on projects, learn techniques for preparing research and conference presentations, use astronomy skills and techniques to solve industry and real world problems in the region and beyond. Through this workshop researchers and students will be encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and learn to work in a new space with face-to-face interaction. Direct interaction will help sharpen their skills; finding new approaches which can be applied to work they are already involved in. Writing, publishing and patenting skills will also be transferred during this workshop, which will have fruitful impact on their research. The workshop is to be broken down into the following themes to cover a broader spectrum of astronomy: Computational astrophysics, Research methodologies and presentation skills, Numerical methods, Computer simulations with high performance computing, Programming, Imaging techniques, Data mining and analysis, Astronomical databases and catalogues, Collaborations, Science and technology policies, Graduate engagement with industry and Knowledge exchange. The workshop will foster collaborations and building a strong network between researchers and students in the region, linking them to industry. The targeted audience include graduate and postgraduate students, researchers, industry representatives and policy makers.
Computer Laboratory and Networking Equipment at Eduardo Mondlane University Mozambique The Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) will introduce BSc Honours Degree in Astrophysics at the Department of Physics (DF) next year. Thus, in order to help the practical sections in the program, the Square Kilometer Array-SA (SKA-SA) project will donate 20 computers and Two antennas (2.3 m) for Radio Astronomy training program. According to the agreement between Mozambique ( UEM) and South Africa ( SKA), the donation will be allocated in two phases. In phase 1, the computers will be shipped to UEM, and in phase 2 the antennas will be installed at DF terrace. It is our intention to have the computer lab as sooner as possible to give our undergraduate students a tool to start their career in the field of Astronomy next year. Nevertheless, SKA-SA will not fund the preparation of the room offered by the DF to accommodate the donation. Due to the economic crisis that the country is facing, the UEM was forced to reduce the investment. Thus, we have to find alternative solutions elsewhere while we are still convincing our local industries to support us in future. The computer lab will be a very important facility to the basic train of undergraduate students in subjects related to Astronomy, Physics, and Computer Science. It will help us to develop the skills needed for our students to optimize the participation of Mozambique in the SKA project and prepare in general the human capacity to face the actual development of the industry by giving an overview of big data manipulation.
Modern Astronomy Tele-school State of Palestine Project title is Modern Astronomy Tele-school, rise from our vision to deliver the knowledge of astronomy using modern methods. we create “ tele-school “ word which is a combination of telescopes and schools, as we are going to train students on basic telescope operation in the 2nd stage. MATS will combine astronomy experimental, instrumental and research aspects through a five-day sessions and one extra observation session among 100 participants in two phases. The participants who fit the criteria will be chosen after filling out an online application and will be interviewed after selection. The 1st stage is the experimental side which will allow students to make their mini-experiments of main astronomy topics they had been taught theoretically in curriculum at schools. The 2nd stage will fly them through the world of astronomy instruments especially how to deal with telescopes and employ discipline skills related to the observational techniques used to investigate modern astrophysical phenomena. Students will deal with real telescopes parts after the theoretical lectures about astronomy instrument.The last stage opens the way to the participants to work in groups about a chosen idea of recent astronomy researches and learning the basics of scientific research under the supervision of UNESCO Chair holder in Astronomy and experts from different universities to insure the quality of the outcomes. A final ceremony will be held to announce the best three research articles
Software Defined Radio Astronomy Learning Kit Worldwide SDRAstroK creates a learning kit centred on radio astronomy with multidisciplinary characteristics useful for teaching of electronics, signal processing & astronomy to undergrad University level, based on SDR (SoftwareDefinedRadio). Radio astronomy uses electronics & signal processing. Typical syllabi & kits focus on hardware electronics with significant limitations as students can’t modify it. Our project creates a kit which dramatically increases hands-on engagement in construction & use of a Radio Telescope. SDRs implement hardware components with software, fully programmed or modifiable. SDRs exhibit versatility & allow network use for remote learning. The SDR core is a wideband receiver (up to 6GHz) & programmable FPGA-based hardware controlled by open-source software. This provides a framework for signal processing (from demodulation to FFT) extended with user code in C++/Python. By programming FPGA, users can alter receivers to match each application. Physical characteristics of signals are studied, based on the astronomical knowledge. Next, received data is being studied based on frequency, signal strength etc. This stage includes signal processing based on algorithms used to analyze the signal. This keeps students involved throughout the process of receiving/interpreting signals, allowing them to develop multidisciplinary skills. High motivation of participating students is accomplished with interesting observations like Hydrogen line, Pulsars and Sun emission.
Amanar: Under the Same Sky Sahrawi Refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, and the Canary Islands, Spain Amanar is a project organised by GalileoMobile to engage children from the Sahrawi refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, and the Canary Islands, Spain, using astronomy. Our aims are to promote sustainable development in a region afflicted by deep social struggles, namely the Sahrawi refugee camps, foster a sense of global citizen through astronomy outreach activities for the children from both communities and raise awareness about the excellent conditions for astronomy in the region, to promote quality science education and careers in STEM. The project will comprise three phases with astronomy outreach activities and teacher workshops in 1) schools at the refugee camps near Tindouf and 2) public schools in the Canary Islands and 3) astronomy activities and observations in the Canary Islands for local and refugee children within the framework of the Holidays in Peace summer program[3]. The main outcomes of the project will be to promote longstanding astronomy outreach activities for the children from both countries and to build a bridge between the local Canarian community and the large number of astronomers working there. We aim to inspire them to get involved in the activities in order to give long-term sustainability to the planned summer program.
Planets in a room Italy for a first small scale pilot project. The world (and developing countries) for a second phase Planets in a room (PIAR) is a project made by the non-profit Italian association Speak Science for a self built, low-cost (<500euro), small (30cm), spherical projector that can also be used as a simple planetarium projector. Teachers and other individuals from all over the world will be able to easily build PIAR with their classroom and use it on their own, to show and teach in an exciting way astronomy and many other topics (geology, technology…). A prototype of PIAR was developed with partial funding by the Europlanet Outreach Funding Scheme (*). We ask for support to test and optimize the kit for distribution, to freely distribute and test PIAR in a selection of pilot schools in Italy and to build all the communication tools to be able, in a second phase, to distribute it to schools from all over the world, including developing countries. Among the tools we will deliver, a dedicated multi language website (in 3 different languages) with free building instructions (manuals and videos), lessons, lessonplans and all data needed to use the kit in schools and to build a community. Using this website and in collaboration with organizations such as Galileo Teachers Training Programme, we will invite to join the project teachers from all over the world, but also scientists, communication officers, librarians and other persons that can use the monitor in their EPO projects. * PIAR prototype was presented at EPSC2017. Read: https://www.speakscience.it/piar-annex1
School Network of Astronomy & Space Science Project Ethiopia SNASSP is a model network of schools in delivering comprehensive outreach program which can inspire and attract as many school students as possible and reach a point where a large group of young future scientific generation is going to be created, geared and attracted to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) by incorporating Astronomy as spice under the school network. SNASSP targeted teachers, students and amateur volunteers, and science communicators, to train and equipped them with the basic concepts of Astronomy and Space Science, Science communication, team leading and building skills, conducting indoor and outdoor outreach activities. To strength and sustain SNASSP, we will give emphasis first on human capacity building through training of comprehensive outreach program for practitioners. SNASSP will focus on the high involvement of girls on science clubs and give especially emphasis to attract as many girls as possible to science. SNASSP will also have research component that used to check the impact that the project will create tin the school network. It will investigate the knowledge, attitude and practice of youths towards the use of Astronomy as gateway of science to understand multidisciplinary fields. The SNASSP project will also involve collaborators and partners nationally and internationally. Thus, SNASSP project will be dedicated to make a vibrant movement that accelerate the development of Astronomy and Space Science in Ethiopia.
Astro Training Project Nepal The overall idea of this project is to build the capacity of secondary schools through training of science teachers. We believe this will benefit their students in the practical approach in astronomy education in the classroom. The core project idea is to train 100 Nepalese teachers primarily from public schools (run by the Government or communities) having the least of resources in the fields of astronomy education. The teachers, upon the completion of the workshops will disseminate the knowledge and share the ideas with their respective students. With special emphasis on practical teaching methodology, this workshop will enable the teachers to teach Astronomy effectively thereby enabling 3000 (approx.) students to learn in interesting ways that can never be found in mere textbooks. This project will be conducted in the form of a nationwide series of five workshops.
Making Sense South Africa; Namibia The program aims to engage students (both disabled & non-disabled) in design thinking, technology and innovation using a range of open-ended workshops and science shows. The disabled students will include the visually impaired, the hearing impaired and the mentally disabled. Utilizing a sensory experience (touch, sight, sound and smell), the program will be offered to rural students both within Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN, South Africa) & Namibia. The workshops will be highly engaging, using the model of tinkering where students will be tasked to find innovative solutions to challenges posed which have been modelled after historical challenges that have faced astronomy and space science, intertwined with everyday challenges. Some of these include Orbital re-entry, Heat shielding, Water Filtration, Sustainability, Human Health Etc. The workshop will go a step further and ask participants to try & match their solutions to issues facing earth, their community etc. right now. The program will include science shows linked to the workshops which will explore some of the aspects of astronomy and space science, assisting students to better understand the contexts wherein the challenges are posed. The program will be run from the UNIZULU Science Centre, targeting 3000 KZN school students. An outreach component will be held in Namibia, targeting 800 students. Special female empowerment days hosted during the program. Evaluation on the attitudinal impact of the program will be conducted.
LECTURA ESTELAR Surrounding areas at Bogota, Colombia. Critical thinking is a crucial aspect that every citizen needs to participate in a democratic and plural society. Reading texts and articles from science, and especially from astronomy, from a more participatory and critical posture can help readers develop this capacity and enhance participation in social discourse in relation to the scientific issues that directly affect them. The proposed project seeks to locate free texts related to astronomy (UNAWE, NASE, GTTP, among others) in Spanish language and that are in line with the ages and objectives proposed in the project. The aim is to develop a printed brochure with different themes and for different age populations, develop a methodology and guide to use the readings indicating the key concepts to be developed and the experiments that can allow readers to approach the models of science implicit in it , as well as develop a critical attitude towards what is read. The development of this program will be during the 2018 school year. It is proposed to carry out a minimum of 4 hours with students and teachers (not necessarily consecutive) in the reading exercise using the proposed materials and another four hours of work with the teachers. necessarily consecutive) in the appropriation of the methodology. In developing this methodology, this project strengthens reading and math skills in children. This project will impact at least 1800 students in upper and lower secondary schools in both rural and urban schools and 90 teacher
Introduction to the Solar System and other stellar systems. It is intended for the indigenous of Brazil and of the Andean America (Andean ROAD). This proposal aims at scientific literacy through Teaching Astronomy in the Parintins island, in the interior of the international Amazon. The majority of the population is indigenous and the schools are distributed in urban, rural and riverside areas. In 2018, the focus will be Solar System Astronomy and Stellar Systems. We will have lectures, workshops, Astronomy in LIBRAS (Brazilian Sign Language), elaborated booklets in indigenous languages and in Spanish (to interact with the Andean node – ROAD) will be given. This proposal encourages the participation of women in science. Also works on the environment theme and link between the sciences. Sessions in the planetarium, observations of the Sun and the planets (in preparation for the centenary of the observations made in Principe and Sobral), together with other actions to commemorate 50 years of journey of man to the Moon. These activities will be distributed from February to November.
Scientific exploration course of Radio Galaxy Zoo China Radio Galaxy Zoo is an online citizen science project led by an international astronomer team. Dr. Julie Banfield and Dr. Ivy Wong are the two co-leaders of the project. Citizens can help astronomers find super-massive black holes and the radio lobes they ejected with personal computers or mobile phones. The project is free, highly accessible, and can be adapted to research astronomy. Such project thus is appropriate to work as a medium in developing the science awareness and ability in doing the scientific exploration of students. Collaborate with the Radio Galaxy Zoo team, the course we propose here is the first attempt in China to use the project to increase scientific literacy and inquiry as well as providing astronomy education towards primary/secondary school students. So far 36 students have joined the course. Every Saturday, the students shall attend the course provided by our organization. We would teach astronomical knowledge relevant to Radio Galaxy Zoo, develop their abilities in collecting data and doing statistical analysis, and guide them to experience scientific writing. Participants would spend 2 hours per week in their spare time on the project, which lasts ten weeks per semester. During this period, we will also help them participate and contribute towards the Radio Galaxy Zoo project. At the end of each semester, each student would have a chance to do scientific writing and give a presentation.
Astronomie et Sciences de l’Espace pour le développement de l’éducation au Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Over the past ten years, the mining sector in Burkina Faso has made a fairly substantial jump (Zabsonré et al. 2015). The development of this sector leads to an upsurge in artisanal mining which drags along with it harmful consequences on the environment and on social life. This sector employs all categories of people including minors at the age of schooling. Despite the current regulations on children work, statistics reveal a high school dropout rate, especially in the rural area due to the lack of financial means. In 2007, recommendations for free education from 6 to 16 years were made according to the orientation of education act. However, minors are still being abused due to absence of proper information in rural area. The ASEDE aims to promote not only the free education access but the basic of astronomy and space sciences through its activities. The project will focus learners from primary to high school which age varies between 12 and 18 years. The project activities will also be dedicated to the promotion girls’ education as they are the most vulnerable around 15 to 21. For a pre-idea, different science outreach activities will be organised. Astro game will be introduced to motivate and award leaners with talent from poor background. These activities could firstly take place all along the academic in the south-west region of Burkina where the panning tends to slow child’s education. Successful activities will be further strengthened and reproduced in other regions.
Tour2sky India Tour2Sky Project Details Our Aim to Make Students Visualize Sky Tour doing several Fun Activities Prte Test about Our Solar System 1. Intro About Sky Tour to Students in this Part We will Explain we are going to Tour our Solar System and watch Interesting places in Solar System. 2. Making Rocket and Intro to Solar Map All Students will make rocket and Explain Different between Bike, Car, Plane and Rocket Speed and Say We Made Rocket Which Travel speed is equal to Light. Activity Link :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fsl6k2BGD6o Explain Distance between Each Plants in Solar System 3. Making Clouds (Just Show We are Crossing Clouds) Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-rOhP80u40 4.Shows about Each Planets Explain various 5 things about each planet 5. Post Test 6. Astronomy Exhibitions 7. Start Astronomy Communication Center With Group of Attended Students
UP Astronomical Society Members’ Big Night Phillipines The University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (or UP AstroSoc) is a university-wide organization that is composed of university students from the University of the Philippines Diliman. It, bianually, holds an overnight session, otherwise known as the Members’ Big Night (or MBN), for its members, which aims to broaden their knowledge on the developments of Astronomy and its societal impact in the Philippines. Lectures on handling outreach programs, gender sensitivity, and astronomy education will be given to equip our members with the right skillset in engaging with the public. Moreover, activities will also be facilitated to give our members a first-hand experience on how our invited experts address several aspects of handling outreach programs and public speaking. Lastly, a star party will be held to serve as a culmination of all the talks. It will serve as an avenue for socialization for us to strengthen the organization’s bond. By the end of the event, the organization must have formed its 5 year goal for the Filipino general public and astronomy education which takes into consideration the development gaps that prevails in the Philippines.
Astrojournalists: a pioneer initiative in Latin America Brazil, Colombia In this project we propose a new way to do outreach in Brazil, through the production of press releases and active media promotion of national research activities. This relates not only to immediate scientific results achieved by astronomers, but also to benefits to society brought on by scientific pursuits and activities, such as economic growth and technological advancement. The idea is not new per se, being modeled after press offices in the United States and Europe, but has never been properly implemented in Brazil. The press releases will be distributed to journalists of all main national media channels, including TV and printed press, reaching an estimated public of millions throughout the country. This is a continuation of a project currently funded by the IAU OAD office. We have assembled a team of astronomers from different states, now formerly associated with the Brazilian Astronomical Society as the Press Committee, led by myself. We also have three undergraduate fellows majoring in Astronomy and Journalism, financed through a cooperative project with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and ensuring the formation of future science communicators. In that sense, we are requesting additional funds for two main goals: (1) continued use of a press office that will help convert the releases into news; and (2) use this same office to promote science talks by team members in events of great visibility, including attempts to organize such events ourselves.
Astronomy Outreach for People of Himalaya Nepal In Himalayan region, there is almost no light pollution in such high altitude. Sky seems in its natural state. People have beautiful stories about cosmos moreover they worship mountains and sky together believing that its peaks are the way to touch the sky. They lack behind in socio-economic development of country. There is low level of literacy rate as compared to other regions of country. We plan to carry out an outreach series for the students and people from high hill rural area to mountain region of our country. We have selected six different places of country; Syangja, Kaski, Tanahun, Lamgung, Mustang and Magdi where we plan to conduct outreach programs. It will reach to hundreds of school students and general public who will get benefited directly from this event series. Our team will travel with the necessary Astro-kits, telescopes and equipment to those selected places and will conduct programs. We will conduct public talks, astronomy documentary shows, astro-kits making workshop, night sky observation programs.
Astronomía al Aire Spanish speaking countries, ~Andean OAD Node: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia and Chile Astronomía al Aire is an informal science education project aimed to Spanish speaking public, which intends to reduce the gap between the specialized science and scientific conceptions on common citizens, promoting inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. It mixes traditional media like radio broadcast with blog and microblogging, press articles and pocket books, discussing science topics related to Astronomy and Astrophysics, emphasizing on values, the need and the impact of science. This proposal intends to extend the present initiative to university radio stations and editorials in other Andean OAD countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, Perú and Chile) and to generate content in other formats -short video and full-dome presentations for small planetariums- that could impact different audiences. Audio and text have a qualitatively different impact in rising awareness than visual presentations, and we want to cover both terrains. Radio clips & pocket books for those less connected to the internet whi) le blog posts and microblogging for frequent internet users. More visual public will be reached through Youtube short videos and planetarium fans with full-dome presentations. We shall build a Andean researcher ambassadors network to contact university radios & editorial and to identify possible planetariums to implement the full dome video versions of the radio clip. Ambassadors will also generate Q&A sessions based on on youtube video
Nights of the Stars in Senegal Senegal The French Association for Astronomy (AFA) has the project to contribute to the development of “Nights of the Stars” in French speaking sub-saharan countries in partnerships with the Senegalese Association for the Promotion of Astronomy (ASPA). The organisation of the event is lead both by ASPA and AFA. The first one bring 10 to 15 volunteer, the other one5 volunteers. The “Nights of the Stars” is a well known public outreach event in France, which contribute to the promotion of astronomy in the general public. The goal of the project is to make people more interested by sciences, and encouraging children to study sciences. It will contribute to the reach the 4th SDG : “achieving inclusive and quality education for all”. The first edition would be held in Senegal with the goal of reaching about 10 000 people. The total number of people in the area is 4 million. The long-term goal is to expand progressively the event in neighboring countries. The choice of Senegal was motivated by the fact the ASPA is really well implanted in the country and has already organized several major events with a large audience a various levels, including children, students and researchers. ASPA already has 200 members, a core of 50 of them are active.