This quarter, the POEC has been mainly involved in planning various outreach events for 2018, and facilitating requests for help, networks etc from various groups in the country.
AstroSat Picture of the Month (APOM)
APOM has proven to be very popular with the school and college students since its inception. Three of them have already been published, and the fourth will be released on 28 Dec. These are posted on our website at http://astron-soc.in/outreach/apom/ as well as on our social media. We are happy to note that these have been much appreciated by students and reached many hundreds of them.
The first APOM was an UV image of the spiral galaxy NGC 2336, the second was of the dwarf galaxy WLM, and the current one is of the globular cluster NGC 1851. A new APOM is posted on the 28th of every month, so set your calendars, and share them with your friends and family. This initiative is by the ASI POEC along with the AstroSat Training and
Focus group on astronomy experiments
The previous newsletter had carried an announcement of an upcoming workshop on “Developing astronomy-themed experiments for Colleges/Universities at UG/PG”, organised by IUCAA and us in June next year. In order to prepare for this workshop, we have formed a focus group of a few astronomers and physics teachers from across the country. This focus group will collate an initial set of possible experiments, classify them, and identify each of them with specific parts of the physics syllabus. Their work will then set the stage for a larger and wider discussion during the workshop itself. If you would like to contribute to the set of experiments being collected by the Focus Group, please email Priya Hasan (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Joe Jacob (email@example.com).
Rajasthan Photography Contest 2017 prizes
As a part of the ASI 2017 in Jaipur earlier this year, we had organised a number of education and outreach events in Rajasthan over the period of a few weeks. One of these events was the ‘Rajasthan Astrophotography Contest’. We received fantastic entries that were judged by Ajay Talwar and Rakesh Rao, and the winning photos were presented at the GBM in Jaipur.
The first prize, sponsored by ISRO, was a visit to Sriharikota to see a launch. The second prize was a trip to the Mt Abu Infrared Observatory, sponsored by PRL, and the third prize was a telescope, sponsored by IIA. The three first prize winners were able to witness a glorious launch by PSLV C39 in August and the second prize winner spent two delightful nights under the beautiful skies of MIRO.
Publicising research news
Stories about interesting discoveries are shared by us on our social media routinely, which are read and shared by a host of students across the country. In this quarter, two specific news stories that made waves in the newspapers stand out in this regard. One was the discovery of phase-resolved X-ray polarisation by AstroSat from the Crab pulsar, and the second was the discovery of gravitational waves from a binary neutron star merger followed by the first ever electromagnetic followup across the world.
We not only publicised the press releases and the newspaper coverage, but also wrote about them in our social media, at a level appropriate for high school students. These garnered enormous interest on our facebook and twitter accounts. If you plan to announce any interesting research news in the future, please do let us know beforehand, so that we can work together to disseminate it to the public.
Talks on POEC activities
• Niruj Ramanujam gave a talk summarising POEC activities at the BRICS Astronomy meeting at IUCAA on 21 Sep 2017
• Niruj Ramanujam gave a talk on the collaborative program between the POEC and the AstroSat Training and Outreach Team at the AstroSat Science Meet in ISRO on 25 Sep 2017
• Samir Dhurde gave a talk on POEC activities at TMT International Science Forum, Mysore, 7th November 2017
• Priya Hasan spoke on POEC activities at United Nations/Italy Workshop on the Open Universe Initiative Vienna, Austria, 21 November2017
How to follow us ?
The POEC has an active online presence. Follow our activities and announcements through any of the following.
Call for volunteers
The POEC would like to work with volunteers from across India on a host of activities, including
1. Organising regional or local events
2. Designing resource material like posters, kits, hands-on models etc
3. Writing content at a level aimed at students and general public
4. Translating resource material into many Indian languages
5. Coding open-source astronomy tools and apps
6. Creating audio and video resources
If you are interested in these activities, or anything else that you think would be useful, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org