OAD activities

Besides the annual Call for Proposals, the OAD also coordinates and coorganizes a number of activities with the help of its staff, visitors, collaborators and partners across the world. Below is a historical list of all such activities.

Astro4Dev Brainstorming Meetings
The Astro4Dev full moon mashups are monthly meetings to explore what could come from brainstorming across disciplines about development challenges – recognising that different fields have different strengths which, if brought together, could have some positive outcomes. The OAD will serve as a collection point of discussions, contacts, ideas and potential projects, such that even if a specific session does not lead immediately to an outcome/project, it could still do so at some point in the future.

View details of the next meeting

AstroComputing explores ways in which computing skills in astronomy can be applied to other areas. One activity was a Python programming workshop targeted at non-astronomy university students. Another activity was the implementation of astronomy and educational software on a Raspberry Pi (a sub-$50 credit card sized computer) for use by teachers and students as a laptop alternative.

A peer review platform for astronomy educational activities developed in partnership with UNAWE and LCOGT. AstroEDU allows educators and astronomers to submit activities in a standard format which allows for efficient distribution and use by teachers around the world. These activities are then peer-reviewed by at least two people: a professional research scientist and a professional educator

The OAD intends to gather astronomical resources for distribution around the world for free. To make this a reality, we appeal to potential donors for any astronomical resources you may be able to contribute. We also ask for those involved in educational and outreach activities to use this channel to request resources for your programmes.

AstroSense is an OAD project led by Dr. Wanda Diaz-Merced, a blind astrophysicist and computer scientist who develops software to analyze astronomical data through sound. Additionally, the OAD supports initiatives in the development of tactile astronomy resources, such as the 3D moon developed by the “Touch of the Universe” OAD-sponsored project.

The Astro-truck is a vehicle to promote astronomy, science and education. The Astro-truck initiative aims to link up with existing community outreach programs in Africa as part of the WTAT. The two target audiences are the students on the truck and the public interacted with at the formal community outreach events.

The AstroVARSITY project intends to provide course and tutorial resources for Maths and Physics lecturers at undergraduate level in order to use astronomy to enhance science teaching as well as potentially start an astronomy module within their department. The project will also offer hands-on activities and exercises based on an off-the-shelf telescope and instruments package to conduct practical experiments and research.

Pan-African Solar Eclipse 2013
On 3rd November 2013, many countries in Africa experienced a total/hybrid solar eclipse and every country on the African continent was able to see the Sun being partially obscured! Various continent-wide initiatives were held to consolidate the Pan-African intention to make the 2013 total solar eclipse, a fun and unique intra-african as well as international collaboration.

Khan Academy in Sutherland
The project idea was to get the Khan Academy Youtube videos into an offline package. This package could be then used as an “extra Mathematics learning resource” in underprivileged schools in South Africa and the rest of Africa at a later stage. The OAD worked in collaboration with Numeric, which had already started to develop such a resource.

Remote Telescopes
This project aims to consolidate information on remote telescopes available for education and provide students at universities and schools with a pathway to access. As a first step, we are creating a database of such telescopes the students can tap into. You can view our growing list of telescopes or on the map.

Telescopes to Tanzania
UNAWE Tanzania and Telescopes to Tanzania collaborate to promote Astronomy and Science Education in Tanzania. A project of Astronomers Without Borders (AWB), TtT is expanding the teaching and learning capacity in many fields, including math, chemistry, biology, and astronomy.

Toolkit: A Guide to Starting a Physics Student Society
A toolkit for setting up a physics or astronomy student club aimed at university undergraduates who wish to start their own student society. Download the toolkit with the guide and additional resources.

Transit of Venus 2012
For the 2012 Transit of Venus which occurred on June 5th/6th, the OAD was asked to serve as a collection point for the many photos, stories and experiences from all around the world.

Virtual Observatory workshops
This project is about running workshops for university level students on using the Virtual Observatory (VO). The motivation is that universities all over the world can have access to the large amount of real astronomical data available, and do world class research, provided they have the skill and an internet connection.

World Wide Telescope Workshops
SAAO and the OAD invited participants to a novel astronomy experience using Microsoft Research’s WorldWide Telescope (WWT). WWT is a virtual telescope that is designed to enhance your experience in astronomical research and science education. This hands-on workshop focussed on using the WorldWide Telescope to review very large astronomical databases and image collections.