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IAU Online Initiatives – Together Through Astronomy

The International Astronomical Union is committed to helping tackle this pandemic and its impact on society through fun, educational, original and engaging at home-online activities.

Knowledge sharing and public engagement are critical for finding solutions to the cascading crises caused by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This article is part of an ISC blog series, which aims to highlight some of the latest COVID-19 related publications, initiatives and findings from ISC Members.

As the world struggles to contain the spread of COVID-19, many of us are turning online to stay connected with our communities. The ISC wishes to recognize the inspiring efforts and various events the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is carrying out during the upcoming months to connect and inspire communities through a shared love of astronomy.

Meet the IAU Astronomers! Call for Interest to IAU Members & Outreach Event Organisers

The “Meet the IAU Astronomers!” programme encourages teachers, informal educators, amateur astronomers, and others to organize virtual meetups with an IAU astronomer to talk with students, parents and the general public about astronomy, the importance of astronomy for society, and choosing astronomy as a career. Since April 2020, more than 160 IAU astronomers have joined the programme.

Telescopes for All: 17 Communities Selected to Receive Telescopes

17 communities of underrepresented groups around the world have been selected to receive telescopes signed by astronauts and Nobel Laureates. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a digital camera is provided with each telescope, so that outreach professionals and science educators can continue to conduct online observations safely with their community until safety measures allow for face-to-face interactions. This is the first group of telescopes to be distributed by the Telescopes for All: Inspiring Stars & Stars Shine for Everyone collaboration.

Online Astronomy @ Home Awards

As many outreach professionals turn online to stay connected with their communities in times of confinment, the Online Astronomy@Home Awards wish to recognise the inspiring efforts various event organisers worldwide are carrying.

Founded in 1919, IAU’s mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. Its Individual and Junior Members — structured in DivisionsCommissions, and Working Groups — are professional astronomers from all over the world, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy. The IAU has 11846 Individual and Junior Members in 107 countries worldwide. Of those countries 82 are National Members. In addition, the IAU collaborates with various scientific organizations all over the world. Read more about the IAU here.

Image Credit: Patrick Hendy/Unsplash

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