The partnership between the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) and the Office for Astronomy Outreach of the International Astronomical Union (IAU-OAO) paves the way for more international projects with Portuguese collaborations.
The Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) and the International Astronomical Union Office for Astronomy Outreach (IAU-OAO), the largest international organization in astronomy, signed a memorandum of understanding for the joint development of international projects in astronomy outreach.
The tightening up of the collaboration between these two institutions will benefit the communication of astronomy and the professionals working in this domain, increasing the awareness of the importance of astronomy in our daily life and in education.
The memorandum strengthens the already existing synergy between IAU-OAO and IA, a synergy that looks to expand the production of contents and tools for the communication and teaching of astronomy.
“We recognise IA as a key-partner, because we have the same goals: to move forward astronomy as a science, and to communicate it to the public for the benefit of society,” says Lina Canas, Director of IAU-OAO.
This Office, based at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), promotes the involvement of the public in astronomy, making it accessible to all and involving communicators, educators and amateur astronomers.
The memorandum strengthens the already existing synergy between IAU-OAO and IA, a synergy that looks to expand the production of contents and tools for the communication and teaching of astronomy. One of the components of this collaboration will be the involvement of IA at the editorial level in IAU’s international peer-reviewed journal of astronomy communication, Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAPiournal), in which IA will figure as official partner.
IA, one of the highest impact institutions in astrophysics and space sciences worldwide, leads and participates in international projects in astronomy communication and education. One such project is the Astronomy Literacy initiative, which led to the first systematic definition of literacy in this field, presented in a multilingual booklet Big Ideas in Astronomy.
“With the vast experience of science communication in astronomy, informed by a strong international component in research, we believe IA will be decisive in the professionalization of CAPjournal in terms of best practices,” says Lina Canas.
“Even if this is a science that studies the universe outside Earth, astronomy gives back to society all the benefits of its research, like the technological development, the understanding of the Universe and our place in it,” explains João Retrê, coordinator of the Science Communication Group at IA (IA-GCC). “With it we gain humbleness and learn to value our own planet, the single one we are perfectly adapted to. It is our mission and duty to strengthen the ties that may help to communicate this science better and more widely, and its importance in our lives.”
“The confluence of the interests of IAU-OAO and IA made possible this historic memorandum, of which Portugal and IA are extremely proud,” says Francisco Lobo, coordinator of IA and professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. “We expect a very productive partnership, to the benefit of science and its outreach, and the benefit of education and of human development, increasing, in this way, the awareness of the importance of research in astronomy and astrophysics in Portugal.”
“We see this memorandum as the result of the growth and the quality of science communication at IA, at the national and international levels,” adds João Retrê. “We came together in a natural way due to our common work and goals, and it made all the sense to highlight our proximity.”