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Vietnam is a developing country with a population of about 90 million people and it is on the way of economic development. However, astronomy is still not being much appreciated in Vietnam. Therefore, this project has two main objectives. First, we aim at building up a coherent, unique online website to coordinate activities of amateur astronomy clubs in Vietnam and to spread out astronomical news, knowledge in a more organised way. Secondly, we aim at organising various observing nights and hands-on activities in remote provinces to increase awareness of people about astronomy.
For the moment there are several amateur astronomy clubs in Vietnam but they are loosely connected. Currently, the internet domain www.vietastro.org is the most updated website in Vietnam about astronomy, maintained by the Ho Chi Minh City Amateur Astronomy Club (HAAC). It is providing astronomical knowledge and news in Vietnamese as well as becoming the official information portal of amateur astronomy activities held by local clubs and organisations in Vietnam. With the help of OAD-IAU, we are targeting at becoming the main hub to coordinate amateur astronomy activities as well as to circulate information on astronomical events, and science development in the country and in the world. This website will also be translated into English to serve as a portal of Vietnamese amateur astronomers outside Vietnam. To achieve this goal, we will maintain two groups of amateur astronomers. One group to translate in English reports of amateur astronomy activities in Vietnam and reciprocally translate news, articles, and writings about astronomy in English into Vietnamese. The other group will work on technical aspects, at keeping the website up to date and visually attractive to the public.
Vietnam has more than 330 square kilometres of land and is divided into 63 provinces and municipalities. However, most of scientific and cultural activities occur in the two largest cities: Ho Chi Minh City, and Ha Noi, the capital. Astronomy is no exception: there are currently active astronomy clubs only in Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi. We plan to publicise astronomy further to other provinces in 2013 if this proposal is accepted by delivering several hands-on activities such as: public observations, astrophotography and basic lectures.