Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join
Community Search

Outreach Committee Announcements
Share |

IPS Outreach Committee Announcements

2009 Feb 20.

The IYA Galileoscope website is now up and running for taking orders.
Go to:

2009 IPS President's Happy New Year message

2008 November IYA Update

International Year of Astronomy Resources

IYA2009 Discovery Guides now available online
Introducing 12 easy ways to share the excitement of the night sky during IYA2009!
The Night Sky Network, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, National Science Foundation, NASA, and the IYA US committee have teamed up to provide Monthly IYA Discovery Guides. These are internationally accessible and complete with articles, activities, instructional videos, and finder charts.
You can download them here:

The Guides form part of a wide range of activities, searchable here:

And for those of you with websites, we encourage you to link directly to these resources using the following:

2008 ASP IYA Conference Proceedings
A comprehensive resource guide for IYA intended for the scientific and educational communities
Order your St. Louis IYA conference proceedings from the ASP at:
IYA2009 Newsletters
The 400 Years of the Telescope newsletter ( is the official newsletter of the U.S. IYA2009, but there are two other free newsletters with IYA2009 articles: the Astronomical Society of the Pacific ( and Universe Today (, sign up on the right-side toolbar).

Top of page

October 8, 2008 on the Internet

Outreach Newsflash
Producers of the new PBS documentary The Journey to Palomar
and the NASA Ames Research Center



"George Ellery Hale's Legacy and the
Future of Giant American Telescopes"

When: Wednesday, October 8, 2008 - 11:00 AM (PACIFIC TIME)
(2:00 pm Eastern; 8:00 am Hawaii)

Where: On the Internet
(Click on NASA Webcast)

STUDENTS will meet producers Todd and Robin Mason of the award-
winning new primetime PBS documentary The Journey to Palomar and learn about the super-human efforts of American astronomer George Ellery Hale and his colleagues to build the biggest telescopes of the 20th century, predecessors of the new mega telescopes being built today for the 21st century.

THEN, students will have an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore the universe, LIVE with America's top astronomers who are building this next generation of giant American Telescopes. They'll also have a look at NASA's LCROSS mission to search for water on the Moon, live from NASA's launch of the final Hubble repair mission at the Kennedy Space Center. Students from Maine to Hawaii can submit questions directly to the experts via the internet.

SPECIAL GUESTS include Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather, Science Director for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope; Carnegie Observatories Director, Dr. Wendy Freedman on the Giant Magellan Telescope; and Caltech Optical Observatories Director Emeritus, Dr. Richard Ellis on the Thirty-Meter Telescope. Moderator is Dr. Derrick Pitts, television personality and Chief Astronomer at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.


THE JOURNEY TO PALOMAR is the story of American astronomer George Ellery Hale's dramatic public and private struggle to build the four largest telescopes in the world, which set the stage for astronomy and space exploration throughout the 20th century, revealing the greatest discoveries since Galileo and Copernicus. The documentary premieres nationwide on PBS November 10th. (Check your local listings for the schedule in your area.) A comprehensive Teacher Guide (free download) accompanies the documentary at in November.

Top of page

2008 June IYA Update

The International Year of Astronomy in 2009 (IYA 2009) is poised to become the greatest-ever global celebration of astronomy and its many contributions to society and culture. The year-long event was conceived to honor the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei in 1609. The IYA is sponsored by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and endorsed by UNESCO and the United Nations. The IYA aims to stimulate worldwide interest in astronomy and science, especially among young people. The major cornerstone projects for the IYA include:

The Galileoscope: An affordable educational telescope kit to be distributed through local planetariums and science centers. You are encouraged to now team up with potential partners in this initiative, such as science centers, planetariums, amateur-astronomy clubs, and other outlets. At this stage this project needs to know, as soon as possible, how many Galileoscopes you estimate that you will need. This will give us a more clear idea of the price and delivery dates. For that purpose please return the pre-order form to before 30 June 2008. The cost for each telescope is US$10.

Please note:

  • This is a pre-order only, not a final binding commercial contract on either side.
  • There is the option to have one or more sponsor logos placed on the telescope next to the IYA2009 and the Galileoscope logos, at an additional cost to be determined.
  • We are investigating a bulk order for a stable but affordable tripod and a safe aperture-end solar filter. Please indicate if you think you might be interested in these optional extras for your Galileoscopes.
  • We encourage the IYA2009 Single Points of Contact to coordinate the distribution within the individual countries, but direct individual orders from IYA2009 partners (Organisational Nodes, societies, organisations, etc.), will be accepted too. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact:
Pedro Russo
IYA2009 Coordinator
Richard Tresch Fienberg
Galileoscope CP Chair
Stephen M. Pompea
US/IYA2009 Project Director, US/IYA2009 Telescope Kits Chair

Dark Skies Awareness: Promoting an appreciation for the value of dark skies in energy conservation and our quality of life through shared observations, art, and photography.
From Earth to the Universe: 100 of the most beautiful astronomy images with captions, prepared for local production and display at planetariums, museums, and at local public venues.

The Galileo Teacher Training Program: A long-term approach to teacher professional development using ambassadors trained in the tools and natural appeal of astronomy. See also NASA IYA Teacher Training Program—Discover the Universe with NASA.

In addition, there will both a German and a United States planetarium show reflecting the 400th year of Galileo’s telescope. The U.S. show will be distributed for a small fee through the IPS. Both shows will be available for distribution in early 2009.


Top of page

Update: 16 October 2007


International Year of Astronomy 2009
US Program Committee
Projects Proposed by the Working Groups[as of 9-30-07]
Summarized by Andrew Fraknoi, Executive Secretary and List Maker

A. Arts and Entertainment Working Group

  1. Astronomy Goes to the Movies Sequence at the 2009 Academy Awards
  2. Astronomy on Parade Float at the Rose Bowl
  3. Encourage Networks and Independent Producers to do IYA-Related Films and TV Segments

B. Classrooms and Families Working Group

  1. Galileo Teachers (US): Training Workshops for Teachers Offered through Regional Nodes (to give them hands-on experience with IYA activities and material)
  2. Galileo Handout Sheets and Kids’ Cards (Everyone Participating in an IYA Activity Gets a Sheet of Activities and Resources; Every Kid Gets a Fun Card)
  3. Booklet and/or Website of the Best Beginner Activities and Resources for Further Exploration (one for families, one for teachers; including activities for non-science subjects: history, English, discussions of science and religion) [could replace the sheet in #2]
  4. Create a Database of Trained Galileo Teachers and Work With Them After IYA
  5. Develop Several Activities That Could be Done by Classes Nationwide (relating to Galileo’s work) [and offer ways for them to share data and responses]
  6. Get major corporations to Help Disseminate IYA Materials (family activities on McDonald’s placemats, e.g.]
  7. Do IYA Training with Other Education Providers (after-school personnel, scout and 4H leaders, Sally Ride clubs, Challenger Centers, park rangers, nature and environmental center staff, etc.)
  8. Have IYA Guest Speakers at Conferences Attended by Educators (from different settings and different levels)
  9. Work with Teachers of English and Drama (as many schools as possible should do Galileo or astronomy related plays)

C. Cultural Astronomy and Storytelling Working Group

  1. Cultural Star Parties Using Traditional Teaching (combine telescopes and stories)
  2. Large Multimedia Events on Solstices or Equinoxes at Ancient Observatories (webcast and broadcast)
  3. Compile Appropriate Sky Narratives on Video, CD, and on the Web
  4. Storytelling Events with Museums, Parks, other Learning Settings
  5. Compile Storytelling Games (such as string games) and Other Learning Devices Related to Sky Storytelling and Develop a Curriculum
  6. Starlab Portable Planetarium Shows to Show the Sky Ideas of Different Cultures
  7. Coordinate Events with Mexico and Canada

D. Dark Skies Working Group

  1. Globe at Night and World Wide Star Count Activities Programs for Students, Families, and Individuals (activities that let people monitor the light pollution level and begin to appreciate the loss of the night)
  2. More Sophisticated Light Monitoring Activities for Those with More Background and Equipment
  3. A Documentary about Light Pollution
  4. Booklet or Web Site of Poetic Quotes about Stars and the Night Sky
  5. Tour of Native American Storytellers around the Country
  6. Light Pollution Exhibits around the Country (especially at libraries)
  7. Create an On-line Star Map With Legends and Stories (click on an object and hear stories)
  8. Provide Sky Story Information and Activities for Teachers
  9. Contact Magazines and Other Media about Doing Dark Sky and Light Pollution Stories for 2009
  10. Do an Art Contest on "What Does the Night Sky Mean to You?”
  11. Designate Certain Observatories as Dark Sky Teaching Sites
  12. "Return of the Sky” Tours (traveling program of talks about the sky, sort of like a rock and roll music tour)
  13. World Series of Astronomy (competitions for adults and kids to see how many objects in the sky they can identify)

E. Looking through a Telescope Working Group

  1. Offer Everyone in the U.S. a Look through a Telescope (particularly to see what Galileo saw); work with amateur astronomy groups and individuals
  2. Do Sidewalk Astronomy Nights throughout the U.S.
  3. Resource Guide to Explain Galileo’s Observations and How they Changed our Understanding of the Universe
  4. Galileo Club Card or Sticker [see also the Classrooms and Families Working Group]
  5. Record People’s Reactions to Looking through a Telescope and Launch them into Orbit on the WISE Mission
  6. Telescope Amnesty Program (bring your unused telescope to an IYA star party and we’ll show you how to use, repair, or replace it)
  7. Produce a Sidewalk Astronomy Handbook on How To Run Such Events

F. New Media Working Group

  1. 365 Days of Astronomy Project (Blog and Podcast)
  2. IYA Talks (Recorded video and audio distributed on the Web)
  3. On-line "Astronomy Wall” (for the public to share images, art, responses to IYA)
  4. Establish a Presence for IYA in Many Different Kinds of Web Communities

G. Observatories & Visitors Centers and Informal Science Education Working Group

  1. Traveling Astronomical images Show
  2. "Endorsed” Planetarium Program – e.g. History of the Telescope
  3. "Live From…” Web events Between Observatories (visitors centers) and Informal Science Education Facilities (e.g. consider partnering with ASP sites on History of the Telescope)
  4. ViewSpace
  5. International Videoconferences
  6. Sister City Events

H. Research Experiences (Citizen Science) Working Group

  1. Epsilon Aurigae Monitoring Campaign
  2. Activities for the K-12 Science Olympiad for 2009

I. Telescope Kit Working Group

  1. Galileoscope (small inexpensive basic telescope, distributed in huge quantities)
  2. Saturnscope (a slightly more sophisticated telescope, still made and sold inexpesively)
  3. Material to help people assemble and use the above kits

J. Other Projects Not From a Formally Constituted Working Group

  1. Image Exhibits at Outdoor and Indoor Locations
  2. New Image Unveilings throughout IYA
  3. Develop Material for Newspaper Pages and Supplements (with Sponsors)
  4. Develop and Publicize a Calendar of Sky and Space Mission Events for 2009 (Rick Fienberg already is doing the sky events calendar)
  5. 24 Hours of Astronomy (Follow the Night Sky and Astronomy Research for a Full 24-hour Period -- with lots of media and web coverage) [Suggested by the international group]
  6. She is an Astronomer Web Site [for demonstrating gender equity; suggested by the international group]
  7. Encourage Symphony Orchestras and Other Musical Groups to do Astronomy-Related Concerts and Joint Projects (Jim Hesser)
  8. National Events throughout the Year with Lots of Media Publicity
  9. Encourage Many Local Events throughout the Year (and do publicity on the IYA Web Site)
  10. Develop a Meaningful Evaluation Plan for the Activities of all the Groups
  11. Fund Raise for all the Above!

Top of page

20 May 2007: The primary purpose of the Outreach Committee is to facilitate, or make connections to available sources of information, recommend partnerships with which planetariums can collaborate on activities or events, and provide media resource contacts. This committee update is intended to share some of the current resources available, or will be available to our membership. I hope that future partnership opportunities and resources can be posted on the IPS web site to be accessed when needed.

Regarding the 2007 – ’08 International Polar Year (IPY) and International Heliophysical Year (IHY), the message for both the IPY and IHY focuses on linking the earth with space itself, particularly solar processes that impact earth’s outer atmosphere (and auroras, solar variations, polarizations of the cosmic microwave radiation). Both the IPY and IHY are setting up sites to encourage organizations like the IPS to become involved globally by teaching or supporting these linkages in local schools, science museums, and planetariums programs. The Burke-Baker Planetarium in Houston has a pending grant that will, if accepted, develop a planetarium show emphasizing global linkage between Polar Regions and the rest of the globe, and the processes controlling these links. If fully developed, this show will be distributed to planetariums free, or for a minimum fee. The IHY will have an International Open Doors day in June and will encourage coordinated collaboration in which planetariums worldwide could be useful. More on this after the IHY event.

In recognition of the International Year of Astronomy and the 400th year of the invention of the telescope in 2009, the IPS, along with partners in Canada, Mexico, and the Hubble Space Telescope Institute, the Sky & Telescope Magazine, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and representation from the International Astronomical Union are in the planning process of developing worldwide participation in outreach programs to engage the public in astronomical activities and events that include dark skies awareness, telescope making and sky observations, lecturers, and possibly a five-minute mini planetarium show emphasizing the invention of the telescope. A 25-minute "traditional” and fulldome planetarium show on the history of the telescope, Galileo, and ways the public can explore the universe with telescopes is currently in the works by a consortium of planetariums (Adler, Buhl, Imiloa) and is intended to be distributed through the IPS to its members.

Developing Countries

Since the 2001 Sri Lanka conference, the IPS is becoming involved in a project to do more for planetariums in developing countries. Dave Weinrich, Joanne Young, Dale Smith, and April Whitt are currently formulating plans to develop ways to reach out more to planetariums in developing countries. One idea is to use the international recognition of the IPS, in particular its contributions to space science education and alliances to projects worldwide with media coverage as lending support and recognition to planetarians in third world countries. Another idea for reaching out to planetarium interested folks in developing countries is inviting non-IPS people to conferences where they could participate in events such as vendor sessions, some selected paper sessions, and hear guest speakers. These offerings may also apply to inviting the general public.

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific will host their annual conference this year in Chicago 5 – 7 September. At this meeting, the IPS will co-host a panel session with the ASP. I will encourage the ASP to co-host future workshops at IPS meetings or regional conferences, as well as co-sharing materials to our members.

One particular opportunity to develop meaningful partnerships and provide resources is to involve scientists and workshop facilitators, especially from NASA. Within the United States, there are a series of NASA "Brokers/Facilitators” whose specific focus is to create partnerships between space scientists and educators to carry out activities and facilitate the dissemination of space science materials that are normally free. Listed below are regions of the U.S. and their designated Broker/Facilitator. Contact the Broker in your area for available guest speakers, workshop presenters, and materials.

NASA Broker Facilitators

The European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA offer a multimedia gallery that can be used to help build presentations and planetarium shows from some of the best images taken during the past four decades, especially of solar system exploration. Here are three topics and their sites:

Both NASA’s and ESA’s multimedia sites now contain video galleries, podcasts, animation downloads, and interactive features that are accessible and should be eventually listed on the IPS web site. These two multimedia sites are: and

Future Outreach Committee updates will appear on Dome-L, in the Planetarian, and, hopefully, on the IPS web site.

The agenda is centered on the development of key activities per theme:
Looking Through a Telescope
Dark Skies Are a Universal Resource
Astronomy in Arts, Entertainment & Storytelling
Research Experience for Students, Teachers, and Citizen-Scientists
Telescope Building & Optics Challenges
Sharing the Universe Through New Technology

Top of page

Top of page

Outreach Committee Page

Sign In

Forgot your password?

Haven't joined yet?


10/19/2016 » 10/22/2016
GLPA 2016

10/21/2016 » 10/23/2016
Small Digital Planetarium Workshop

11/4/2016 » 11/5/2016
Fulldome UK

International Science Center & Science Museum Day

Deadline for 2016 Stratoscript Compendium Ring

International Planetarium Society, Inc   
c/o Ann Bragg, Treasurer   
Marietta College, 215 Fifth Street   
Marietta, Ohio 45750 USA