Coordinating Astronomy for Public Outreach in Viet Nam: Bringing Astronomy to Remote Areas

Viet Nam is a developing country with the population of about 90 million people and it is on the heimat of economic development. However, astronomy is still not being much appreciated in Viet Nam. Therefor, this project has two fold objectives. First of all, we aim at building up a coherent, unique online website to coordinate activities of amateur astronomy clubs in Viet Nam 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 on astronomy. For the moment, there are several amateur astronomy clubs in Vietnam (see figure 1) but they are loosely connected. Currently, the internet domain is the most updated website in Viet Nam about astronomy, maintained by 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 Viet Nam. 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 the astronomical events, and developments of the country and of the whole world. Besides that, we also want to have this website to be translated into English to serve as a portal of Vietnamese amateur astronomers to the outer world. To achieve this goal, we will maintain two groups of amateur astronomers. One translation group to translate reports of amateur astronomy activities in Viet Nam into English and translate news, articles, and writings about astronomy in English into Vietnamese. The other one performs technical works to keep the website up to date and visually attractive to the public. Viet Nam 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 not an exception. There are active clubs only in Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi, currently. 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, basic lectures.