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The International Year of Astronomy 2009 in Belgium

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The International Year of Astronomy 2009 in Belgium. Dr. Rodrigo Alvarez Royal Observatory of Belgium, Planetarium SPoC from Belgium. Belgium: only 10 millions inhabitants… … but rich astronomical offer: 7 public observatories 6 planetaria More than 80 amateur astronomical clubs (VVS).

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slide1
The International Year

of Astronomy 2009

in Belgium

Dr. Rodrigo Alvarez

Royal Observatory of Belgium, Planetarium

SPoC from Belgium

slide2
Belgium: only 10 millions inhabitants…
  • … but rich astronomical offer:
    • 7 public observatories
    • 6 planetaria
    • More than 80 amateur astronomical clubs (VVS)

Astronomy in Belgium

Beisbroek public observatory

slide3
Belgium: only 10 millions inhabitants…
  • … but rich astronomical offer:
    • 5 science centers
    • 8 world-leading astronomical institutes
    • Industries connected to ESO (VLTI) and ESA large projects

Astronomy in Belgium

Technopolis science center

slide4
A vast choice of competent actors to welcome and guide astronomy aficionados as well as simply curious people

Astronomy in Belgium

Euro Space Center

slide5
Besides this large panel of activities …
  • … a series of regular events promoting science (astronomy):
    • Star gazing events:
      • Sterrenkijkdagen
      • De Nachten
      • Nuit des étoiles

Regular events

Nuit des étoiles

slide6
Besides this large panel of activities …
  • … a series of regular events promoting science (astronomy):
    • Science festivals:
      • Wetenschapsfeest
      • Printemps des Sciences
      • Expo-Sciences
      • Ruimtevaartdagen

Regular events

Wetenschapsfeest

slide7
Besides this large panel of activities …
  • … a series of regular events promoting science (astronomy):
    • Open doors:
      • Kinderuniversiteit (KULeuven)
      • Royal Observatory of Belgium
      • Experimentarium (ULB)

Regular events

Open doors at ROB

slide8
Besides this large panel of activities …
  • … a series of regular events promoting science (astronomy):
    • International events:
      • Researchers’ Night (European Union)
      • Science on Stage
      • IY Physics, Heliophysical, Polar, Earth

Regular events

Researchers’ Night

slide9
Periodic events allow to punctually attract the media interest and the general public’s attention to astronomy
  • …but all « cultural » fields have their events calendar as well!
  • Quite large offer of events, especially in a country as Belgium (« Brussels, the heart of Europe »)

Competition between events

slide10
Periodic events allow to punctually attract the media interest and the general public’s attention to astronomy
  • …but all « cultural » fields have their events calendar as well!
  • Quite large offer of events, especially in a country as Belgium (« Brussels, the heart of Europe »)

Competition between events

slide11
27/09: French-speaking community celebration
  • 27/09: Brussels Museums’ Night
  • 28/09: Researchers’ Night
  • 29/09: White Night

Competition between events

slide12
IYA2009 specificities:
    • Unique and limited in time (2009)
    • Supported by prestigious institutions (IAU, UNESCO, UNO?)
    • International scale
  • Attract media and general public’s attention
  • Help triggering passion for astronomy

Add-value of the IYA2009

slide13
Belgian IYA2009 steering committee:
    • Major stakeholders promoting astronomy
    • At the amateur and at the professional level
    • 41 persons involved
  • Define and bring to a successful conclusion a series of actions
  • Make alive the IYA2009 in Belgium

The IYA2009 in Belgium

slide14
Galileo Galilei theatre drama
  • Foucault pendulum
  • Astronomy olympiad
  • TV broadcast of « Tous sur orbite » (5 min daily)
  • Special stamp edition
  • 3 national dates for star gazing events (instead of 1+1+1 per region/association)

Investigated possibilities

slide15
Night of darkness
  • Astronomical city tour
  • Special edition of « Science Connection » magazine
  • Astronomy kits for schools
  • Conference
  • Travelling exhibition
  • Weekly astronomical files

Investigated possibilities

slide20
Conclusions
  • Possibly many actions that will benefit from the support of all the main actors in astronomy in Belgium
  • Given the hard competition between events, the IYA2009 is the perfect opportunity to help Belgian people to really focus on astronomy and its achievements
  • www.astronomy2009.be
slide23
As far as astronomy public outreach is concerned, many planetaria, public observatories, amateur astronomical societies, science centers and world-leading astronomical institutes are present and active in Belgium. However, as in many countries offering a rich panel of cultural activities as well as numerous opportunities for sightseeing and many entertainment parks, people willing to promote astronomy have to draw the media attention continuously in order to keep attracting people. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is the perfect opportunity to help Belgian people to really focus on astronomy and its achievements during a full year. 

Abstract