Astronomy is unique among all fields of science in that it brings together laypersons, amateur astronomers and professionals like no other subject does. If it ever behooved a professional body of scientists to engage with people at large, the first choice would naturally be that of astronomers. While other professional societies reach out to people to publicise their work, astronomical outreach activity is multifaceted. It ranges from enabling the general public to look at the sky, to encouraging students to perform simple experiments, to even facilitating amateurs to contribute meaningfully to astronomy research.
The Public Outreach and Education Committee of the Astronomical Society of India has been active since 2014, but it lacked a forum to regularly communicate with the public at large. The committee has been maintaining a website to help coordinate its activities, as well as an active social media presence, but in view of the increasing number of activities it is undertaking, we have felt a need to bring out a newsletter on a regular basis. The POEC newsletter will be published four times a year, during the two equinoxes and solstices.
We hope that future issues of the newsletter will have more features and columns than the ones presented in this very first issue. We want to hear from the readers about their suggestions and comments, which will help us to engage with them better. We would also like to invite readers to contribute short articles for the upcoming issues of the newsletter.
Editor, ASI POEC Newsletter and Professor, Raman Research Institute