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December 2019 IPS Communicator
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IPS Newsletter — Issue 8 — December 2019


IPS Board Member Election Results

IPS is pleased to announce the results of the recent election for the first members of the new governing board. These new board members will begin their terms at the Edmonton conference in June. They are:

  • Africa: Suann Murabana
  • Asia: Sumito Hirota and Jin Zhu
  • Europe: Björn Voss and Jiri Dusek
  • Latin America: Alexandre Cherman
  • North America: Dayna Thompson and Michele Wistisen
  • Oceania: Martin George

In addition, IPS would like to sincerely thank all the candidates that stood in these elections. We very much appreciate your willingness to serve your organization. Thanks also go out to the Elections Committee for all its efforts in carrying out this election.
Current IPS council members will continue in their roles until the Edmonton meeting. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their continued service.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Standing Committee
Logo for Inclusive Excellence
Dayna Thompson and Dani LeBlanc

IPS President Mark SubbaRao is happy to announce the appointment of Dayna Thompson and Dani LeBlanc as co-chairs of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Standing Committee. They succeed Karla Peregrina. IPS thanks Karla for her service to this committee and for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts in the planetarium community.

In making the announcement, SubbaRao said, "I want to sincerely thank Dayna Thompson and Dani LeBlanc for stepping up to provide leadership for this important effort. Creating environments where planetarians feel welcomed, respected, and valued is a top priority of IPS. The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee is tasked with making sure we accomplish this in a thoughtful and effective manner. The EDI committee will also inform the public programming we perform in our planetariums, with the goal of making it welcoming and accessible to the diverse communities we all serve."

Thompson and LeBlanc have shared in a joint statement that they “are humbled and flattered to be entrusted with this very important work for the IPS, and for the planetarium field, which we and so many others care deeply about.” Thompson and LeBlanc acknowledged that great work has already been done by previous leadership, and they thanked Karla for her efforts. Thompson and LeBlanc went on to report: “There is still a lot to do. In order for IPS to make any kind of real change, we will need the help from our international community, and we hope that people join us in the work to strengthen our organization’s culture and climate.”

As they begin to build the Standing Committee team, Thompson and LeBlanc are laying new groundwork for a comprehensive plan that will move the IPS forward toward “Inclusive Excellence.” The plan outlines five overarching goals that will unite the IPS in its efforts. In the short term, the committee will focus on reviewing and revising IPS policies and bringing awareness to these efforts before, and at, the June 2020 IPS Conference. Their long term plan is to set up the IPS as a model for the planetarium field in exemplifying the principles and practices of Inclusive Excellence.

See the Inclusive Excellence Plan, read more about Dayna Thompson and Dani LeBlanc, and join the committee at:

Bringing a Planetarium to Namibian School Children
Planetariums for Nambia

IPS Council Member Jaap Vreeling is spearheading an incredible effort in Namibia. Their goal is to bring a planetarium to every school in the country within the next five years.

You can support this effort by contributing to and publicising their crowdfunding effort to purchase a new planetarium here.

Tips for Translations
Image Credit: © Can Stock Photo/cienpies

Did you know that you can translate Communicator into your preferred reading language with a simple right click on your mouse? It is easiest in Google Chrome, and takes some settings tweaking in Firefox. Microsoft Edge doesn't have an auto-translate feature, but you can download a translator from the Microsoft Store.

You can learn more here.

Extensions are available for Opera and Safari as well.

A Useful Typeface
Example of Dyslexie Font

For planetarians who produce handouts for people with dyslexia, there is a typeface called Dyslexie that is designed to make reading and learning easier. It does this by making the baselines clearer, "a visual center of gravity," which prevents letters from turning upside down; by using different shapes to minimize uniformity; and by using longer "sticks" (called ascenders).

The font is not free, but there are different charges for different users (home user, education, charities, and others). Learn more at

Other versions of this kind of font by the same author and by other designers including open source ones can be found here.

AfAS 2020
AfAS Logo

The first conference of the African Astronomical Society will be held in Cape Town, South Africa at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO from March 16 - 19, and they're expecting about 150 attendees. There is no registration fee, but registration is required in order to attend. There is a limited number of travel support grants available.

For more information see:


Important Dates

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