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March 2020 IPS Communicator
Communicator logo
IPS Newsletter — Issue 11 — MARCH 2020


NAOJ citizen science project
Subaru Telescope

A good activity for home science: GALAXY CRUISE –National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s first citizen science project that uses the Subaru Telescope’s extensive data (HSC-SSP)– the English site was released on February 19.

Read the article at:

Visit the website directly in English and in Japanese.

Other citizen and community science projects that can be practiced from home or local area (maintaining social distance and individual hygiene):

  • Classifying astronomical objects and categories in other areas of scientific research in Zooniverse.
  • Classifying local litter to understand the impact of cumulative human behavior through direct experience using the Litterati app.

Italian planetariums and the pandemic
Graphic credit: Andreas Burkert

Globally we are struggling to deal with the impact of the covid-19 pandemic. Here is an update from planetarian Dario Tiveron about said impact upon our Italian Planetarium colleagues:

I am sharing this because I believe it's extremely important to share what Italy is going through and encourage the worldwide planetarium community to not underestimate how much the Covid-19 outbreak could impact on your own activities he explains, and continues We – as planetarians – are familiar with the math behind the exponential function. We love to talk about the Power of Ten. Please do use your knowledge to help your local community become aware of this invisible threat.

Astrophysicist Andreas Burkert is regularly releasing these graphics in his Facebook page with new info following the pandemic.

Here is a handy resource on exponential growth and epidemics from Animated Math.

And at the nano scale, an extensive explanation on how soap works on the virus from Prof. Palli Thordarson, an Icelandic chemistry Professor at the University of New South Wales.

IPS American In Italy Program
Week in Italy logo

This year's winner, Andy Kreyche from California, was unable to travel for the professional exchange experience this year due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Andy will travel to Italy next year. This year we will continue to take applications and consider them for the 2022 experience.

For more information see:

Dome Dialogues inaugural e-Conference
Dome Dialogues banner

With many planetariums closing indefinitely as the COVID-19 virus expands across the world, there's more of a need than ever to provide safe and open environments that allow for continuing professional development and networking. While our domes might not be open to the public –or even to allow us to work in them!– our community can continue to come together in support of one another.

In response to this, The Dome Dialogues will host the first in a series of short eConferences, where planetarians from around the world can meet together online to discuss their current situations, projects, and ideas –or just to support one another in these trying times.

This first virtual get-together will be held at noon Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), but future eConferences can (and will) be hosted at times more convenient for international attendees. The only limitation is an attendee cap of 100 –however, all eConferences will be streamed to YouTube for future viewing.

To join the first session on Friday March 20th, 12 PM – 1:30 PM EDT follow this link but note the cap mentioned above.

Communicating Astronomy with the Public Meeting
Photo: David Iliff; CC BY-SA 3.0

The CAP SoC, after discussion with the LoC, has decided to extend the deadline for submissions of abstracts & grants until 5 April 2020. This decision also took into account the evolving COVID-19 situation, giving participants more time to plan for #IAUCAP2020. Coordinators are in close contact with the local organizing committee who continue to advise them and who follow the protocols and guidelines of the university and local and national health services.

Check for updates and further changes in the event site and social media page.

The Conference theme is Astronomy for a Better World. As part of the partnership between the IAU and IPS, we will be organizing a session entitled Planetariums for a Better World. Please contact IPS President Mark SubbaRao if you would like to contribute to this session.

The March Planetarians' Zoom Seminar
Photo credit:Renae Kerrigan

TIME: 27 March 2020 at 2 pm PDT (21:00 UT)

PRESENTERS: Renae Kerrigan, Shannon Schmoll and Tiffany Wolbrecht will give a presentation and lead discussion on...

TOPIC: Big Astronomy: A (nearly) Free Show and Great Resources. When we think of big astronomy, we think of big telescopes. But PEOPLE enable discoveries. Big Astronomy is a National Science Foundation funded project to explore the Dome+ model – a planetarium show distributed for a minimal fee in both English and Spanish along with a website that hosts resources and live programs to extend learning beyond the dome. Research on the effectiveness of this method will be carried out by Michigan State University. Learn more about the project and the resources that will be available to your planetarium in this presentation.

About the presenters:

  • Renae Kerrigan, Planetarium Director at Peoria Riverfront Museum
  • Dr. Shannon Schmoll, Planetarium Director at Abrams Planetarium
  • Tiffany Stone Wolbrecht, Planetarium Lecturer at Ward Beecher Planetarium

To join a Planetariam Zoom Seminar (PZS), follow the instructions in this page

Important Dates

Dome Dialogues e-Conference, March 20, 12 PM – 1:30 PM EDT (100 people limit)

March Planetarian’s Zoom Seminar, March 27, 2 pm PDT

Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP2020), abstract and grant applications deadline has been extended until April 5th

The IPS2020 Conference has been postponed.

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