The Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) will travel from 27 March to 3 April 2019 with the Mobile Planetarium through Namibia to visit schools in remote areas. The project is part of Radboud University’s and University of Namibia’s (UNAM) outreach plans for the Africa Millimetre Telescope (AMT) that will be constructed at the Gamsberg summit in Namibia as part of the Event Horizon Telescope.
Both Radboud, UNAM and NOVA see the use of the Mobile Planetarium as an excellent means of bringing school children around the world into contact with modern astronomical research. The Rössing Foundation in Namibia, which is carrying out various science projects in schools, is hosting the trip of the Mobile Planetarium. The planetarium will also be set up at the AMT investors event on 27 March in collaboration with Bank Windhoek.
The AMT project aims to provide the ‘missing link’ to the network of telescopes in the Event Horizon Telescope project, in a joint effort to image a black hole for the very first time. The team of the Radboud Radio Lab in Nijmegen works closely together with their Namibian partner UNAM, to further boost Namibian science, education and outreach in a dedicated program which aims at engaging children at all ages and train them to become the next generation engineers and scientists.
The journey with the Mobile Planetarium through Namibia fits perfectly within the celebration of 100 years of International Astronomical Union (IAU). The IAU emphasizes the importance of astronomy for society, and promotes global collaborations, including in the field of astronomy education. This fits in with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
It is important for NOVA to encourage other countries to implement a project that has proven to be very successful in astronomy education in the Netherlands. NOVA makes the expertise that it has built up in recent years with the Mobile Planetarium project available to all IAU countries. NOVA started in 2010, together with the University of Groningen and Leiden University, the deployment of three mobile domes in Dutch primary and secondary education. Since then, more than 300,000 children have attended a show in one of the planetariums.
The Namibia trip can be followed on Twitter via @IAU100NL and @africa_mm_tel
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