Astronomy .(English)

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Transcript Astronomy .(English)

Communicating Astronomy
with the Public
Lars Lindberg Christensen ([email protected])
Pedro Russo ([email protected])
IAU Commission 55 Team; IAU/C55 - Journal Working Group Team
Communicating Astronomy with the Public
►As a tool to communicate science, astronomy possesses almost magical
►It touches on the largest philosophical questions of the human race: Where do
we come from? Where will we end? How did life arise? Is there life elsewhere in the
►Space is one of the greatest adventures in the history of mankind: an all-action,
violent arena with exotic phenomena that are counter-intuitive, spectacular,
mystifying, intriguing and fascinating.
►The science of astronomy is extremely fast moving, and delivers new results on
a daily basis.
►In many ways astronomy can lead the way for other natural sciences and be a
frontrunner for the communication of science in general.
IAU C55: Communicating Astronomy with the Public
It is the responsibility of every practicing astronomer to play some role in
explaining the interest and value of science to our real employers,
the taxpayers of the world.
Mission Statement
►To encourage and enable a much larger fraction of the astronomical community to take
an active role in explaining what we do (and why) to our fellow citizens.
►To act as an international, impartial coordinating entity that furthers the recognition of
outreach and public communication on all levels in astronomy.
►To encourage international collaborations on outreach and public communication.
►To endorse standards, best practices and requirements for public communication.
=> Community-building!
IAU C55: Communicating Astronomy with the Public
Commission Members
President: Ian E. Robson (UK)
Vice President: Dennis Crabtree (Chile)
Secretary: Lars Lindberg Christensen (ESO/ESA)
Organising Committee:
Richard T. Fienberg (USA)
Anne Green (Australia)
Ajit K. Kembhavi (India)
Birgitta Nordström (Denmark)
Augusto Damineli Neto (Brazil)
Oscar Alvarez-Pomares (Cuba)
Kazuhiro Sekiguchi (Japan)
Patricia A. Whitelock (South Africa)
Jin Zhu (China)
IAU C55 CAP: Working Groups
►Washington Charter
►VAMP – Virtual Astronomy Multimedia Project
►Best practices
►Communicating Astronomy with the Public conferences
►Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
Washington Charter
Chair: Dennis Crabtree (Chile)
VAMP - Virtual Astronomy Multimedia Project
Adrienne J. Gauthier (Chair)
Lars Lindberg Christensen
Robert Hurt
Ryan Wyatt
► In a quickly moving connected world, public astronomy communication must develop to
follow the pace of the other players in the electronic information mass market (gaming,
entertainment industries etc.)
►The greater problem today is not so much the availability of excellent astronomy
multimedia resources for use in education, outreach etc., but rather the access to these
►The public needs better access to images, videos of stars, galaxies or astronomical
VAMP - Virtual Astronomy Multimedia Project
►Even for an expert user, locating a particular image invariably requires going to a known
resource or relying on the existing highly imprecise multimedia search engines, such as for
instance Google images or YouTube.
►The Virtual Astronomy Multimedia Project (VAMP) will enable access to, and vastly multiply
the use of, astronomy multimedia resources — images, illustrations, animations, movies,
podcasts, vodcasts etc. VAMP will enable innovative future exploitation of all kinds of
outreach media by systematically linking resource archives worldwide.
►The primary deliverable of VAMP would be a digital library/repository system that stores,
organizes, and delivers standardized metadata for all Education and Public Outreach (EPO)
media for astronomy and planetary sciences.
Best practices
Discuss the best practices in communicating astronomy with the public.
Possible topics
► Media training for scientists.
► Code of Conduct for press releases.
Lars Lindberg Christensen (ESA/Hubble, chair)
Bruce Etherington (SETPOINT Wales)
Ken Brandt (Robeson Planetarium and Science Center)
Dave Buttery (Auriga Astronomy)
Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2005
ESO HQ, Garching, Munich, Germany 14-17 June 2005
Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2007
Athens, Greece, 8 - 11 October 2007
►To prepare for International Year of Astronomy 2009.
►To make public astronomical knowledge global and accessible
to everyone, adapting communication methods to cross national,
political, social and cultural borders and impairment limitations.
► To promote international collaboration.
► To evaluate current tools and methods and prepare for future
Key Topics
► Case Studies and hands-on demonstrations
► Communication in the YouTube/MySpace/vodcasting mediascape
► Audiovisual, multimedia & online tools
► Social impact and evaluation of astronomy communication
► Education and communication tools for the visually impaired
► Prospects of IAU Commission 55 Communicating Astronomy with
the Public
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
Working Group Members
Lars Lindberg Christensen (ESA/Hubble, DE)
Rick Fienberg (Sky & Telescope, USA)
Andrew Fraknoi (Department of Astronomy, Foothill College, USA)
Richard de Grijs (Sheffield University, UK)
André Heck (Strasbourg Astronomical Observatory, FR)
Terry Mahoney (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, ES)
Steve Miller (University College London, UK)
Paul Murdin (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK)
Pedro Russo (IAU/IYA/ESA/Hubble)
Sidney Wolff (National Optical Astronomy Observatory, USA)
Why a Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal ?
From the Washington Charter:
“Develop infrastructures and linkages to assist with
the organization and dissemination of outreach
►“Promote professional respect and recognition
of public outreach and communication.”
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
Publishing in in the Global Marketplace
The publishing business is changing rapidly in these years as a consequence of:
• The intense globalization that takes place
• The overwhelming popularity of the Internet
Business changes
• Larger scale: larger publishers, larger customer consortia
• Cost-savings are possible
• Marketing is turned upside-down: Pull instead of push (Googlability..)
Customer behaviour changes
• The need for products “On-Demand”, i.e. when they want, about what they want and
in the format they want.
• Timing becoming the major issue!!
• Push for wider, or even open, access
• Need for more ethical publication models (developing nations..)
• Need for more added-value products along with the traditional product
• Need for more user involvement in the publication process (ranking, online
discussions, community peer-reviewing ..): Crowd-sourcing!
• More articles are published and read (increasing costs and workload)
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
Publishing standards
►From 2D prints to 3D publications: enhanced articles (multimedia, advanced
interlinkage etc.)
►The production is moving closer to the customer
►Less focus on printed products, more on Print-On-Demand (lower production costs,
more flexibility, faster ..)
However one principle stands:
• The peer-reviewing process continues to provide the stamp of quality of scholarly
articles and must be preserved
Strains on the Producer ↔ Publisher ↔ Consumer relationships as a result of the
contrast between the rapid global technological change and the less rapid change in
publishing strategies.
Time to catch up? ;-)
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
► Document and disperse knowledge: “Teach and Train”
► Provide a basis for discussions
► Compel further progress
► Establish priorities in the field
► Further careers (through documentation of the excellence of the
► Help to avoid the duplication of effort
The journal should publish works and projects in the diverse areas of astronomy
communication, in a scientific journal format and with open access.
As an example we expect that the journal will prove very important for public
communication around events such as the International Year of Astronomy
2009. The CAP journal can serve as a repository of ideas, projects, activities,
exhibitions and other key topics for the National Nodes of the IYA2009.
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
(e.g.: ÆR - Astronomy Education Review)
Public communication
(e.g.: CAP journal)
(Christensen 2006)
Objectives and Scope
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
Key Topics
► Best practices
 Case Studies/What works and what doesn't
► High-tech communication
 New technologies
 The Web as a Science Communication Tool
 Communication in the Virtual Observatory era
 Archives of communication products
 Investigating real astronomical data
 Technical standards
 The shock of images
 Art and science, or can a multidisciplinary approach help outreach?
 Audiovisuals and multimedia
► Sociological issues
 Communication ethics
 Science fiction and science
 Scientific lobbying
 Globalization and Science Communication
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
Key Topics
► Public Understanding of Science
 Surveys of public understanding and attitudes towards science and technology
 Perceptions of science
 Popular representations of science
 Scientific and para-scientific belief systems
 History of science education and of popular science
 Science in developing countries and appropriate technology
► Media
 Science and the media
► Informal education
 Evaluative studies of science exhibitions and interactive science centres
 Planetariums and Science Centres: Economics and Ethics
 Playing with Astronomy/ hands-on experiments
 Planetariums and science centres, a key tool for education and outreach
► Miscellaneous
 Multilingual outreach products
 Events, e.g. International Year of Astronomy 2009
 Book reviews
 Web page reviews
 Job announcements
 Other announcements
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
Target Audience
 Public information officers
 Astronomy community
 Planetarium and science centers community
 Astronomy educators and communicators
 Science communication researchers
 University students
 University professors
 Teachers
 Amateur astronomers
 History of science researchers
 Science philosophers
 Science sociologists, etc.
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
Journal Features
► Modern magazine style (due to the audience and
► 4 times per year
► Size: 16-32 pages
► Full colour
► Seven main sections:
Letters to the Editor
Research & Applications
The section Research and Applications will contain
peer-reviewed “science” articles
►Advanced web presence
Readable version of the journal
Online forum: Commenting, discussing,
evaluating articles, news, products
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal
 History
 Organization
 Supporters
 Working Groups
 Meetings
 Job Bank
 IYA2009
 Training
 Calendar
 Links
The International Year of Astronomy 2009
► Increase scientific awareness.
► Promote widespread access to new knowledge and observing
► Empower astronomical communities in developing countries.
► Support and improve formal and informal science education.
► Provide a modern image of science and scientists.
► Facilitate new networks and strengthen existing ones.
► Improve the gender-balanced representation of scientists at all
levels and promote greater involvement by underrepresented
minorities in scientific and engineering careers.
► Facilitate the preservation and protection of the world’s cultural
and natural heritage of dark skies and historical astronomical
EPN IYA2009 Open Forum: Today 15:50