The following bulletin update has been translated from http://www.inaoep.mx/noticias/?noticia=363&anio=2016 

For the ninth consecutive year, young people from many different countries came together in Tonantzintla, Puebla, Mexico for ESAOBELA, which was, this year, dedicated to Dr. Eugenio Mendoza Villarreal, one of the pillars of Mexican astrophysics. ESAOBELA, which begin on Sunday 10th January, brings together for a number of says students from physics, mathematics and engineering from various Latin American countries. ESAOBELA offers a basic course in Astronomy. The school is organised jointly by the Instituto Nacional Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE) and by the Instituto de Astronomía of UNAM.

During the school, students attend theoretical classes which are supported by practical observations using primarily the one-meter telescope of UNAM’s National Astronomical Observatory of Tonantzintla. This year, 24 researchers from INAOE, el Instituto de Astronomía de la UNAM, la Universidad de Guanajuato, el Instituto Politécnico Nacional y la Universidad de Guadalajara delivered courses on the astronomy of position and time, the Sun, spectral classification, photometry, stellar evoluation, optical instrumentation and electronics, interstellar material, the galaxy, extragalactic systems, radio astronomy and non-visible astronomy.

“This is the ninth iteration of ESAOBELA. Initially, the objective was to support young Central Americans interested in becoming professional astrophysicists but whose countries lacked the infrastructure or history of astronomy found in Mexico. We need to consider the context of astronomy capacity in Central America, where there are no professional astronomers but there are many physics departments and many physics students who are very interested in astronomy. However, we now have people from various parts of South America. This year, we had students from Peru and Colombia, with the rest of the students coming from Central American countries” reported M.C. José Peña Saint-Martin, the head of OAD and one of the lead organisers of ESAOBELA.

For Peña, the school is important because it convinces the young people who attend that what they really want to do is astronomy. “Many of our students have gone on to postgraduate studies in Mexico and in Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and Chile. We have had great results in these nine years. We have had a lot of successes, more than 100 people”.

Dr. Raúl Mújica García, Director of Outreach and Communication for INAOE and co-organiser of ESAOBELA, commented that these outcomes have also been very positive for México: “For us, it has been really good to recruit students from these universities, since the Instituto de Astronomía de la UNAM and the INAOE have attracted many students who enrich our postgraduate programme”.

He added that this year the school is paying homage to Dr. Eugenio Mendoza Villarreal, a researcher from the Instituto de Astronomía of UNAM, who retired several/many years ago. “Dr. Eugenio Mendoza long ago established a number of fundamental research tracks that continue to be pursued in modern astrophysics. Eugenio Mendoza measured the excess infrared in a type of star called T-Tauri and this showed that these stars have envelopes, which was one of the predictions made by the theory of star formation and he did it in the Observatory de San Pedro Mártir. I remember that when I was doing my masters I had to read those articles. He also did a lot of other research on many other topics in astronomy; that is why the school has been dedicated to him this year”. ESAOBELA will conclude on the 29th January.

For more information see the web page http://www.astroscu.unam.mx/cursos/esaobela/index.html