The OAD Committee meeting

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23 – 30 January, 2015, Cape Town, South Africa

During the IAU General Assembly in 2012, the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) was assigned to be the South East Asia Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (SEA-ROAD), which is committed to the development of astronomy is ASEAN nations. 

This year, during 23 January - 30 January, International Astronomical Union (IAU) has arranged the OAD Committee meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. In this regard, Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, NARIT's Executive Director, and Mr. Wichan Insiri, SEA-ROAD coordinator, have attended the meeting at the Office of Astronomy for Development: OAD at SAAO, Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Jan 22, 2015

OAD Office, SAAO, Cape Town, South Africa

 

OAD (Office of Astronomy for Development) Steering Committee members meet today as part of their 3-day 6th Face-to-Face Meeting of OAD Steering Committee held during 21-23 January 2015. 

Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, NARIT's Executive Director observes the meeting today en route to the 1st Face-to-Face Meeting of OAD Regional Coordinators (in which he and the team are participating) commencing tomorrow until January 30, 2015. 

The committees meet to discuss matters in relation to their current strategic plans and updates. The future plans are also displayed to match their financial resources and prospect partners are also included in the agenda. 

One of the most significant issues being raised and discussed during the meeting is evaluation mechanisms of projects organized over the past years. Fundraising framework is also a highlight of the meeting. 

Prof. Piero Bevenuti, newly appointed IAU General Secretary also observes the meeting. Other prominent figures in Astronomy such as, Prof. George Miley from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Prof. Kazuhiro Sekeguchi from NAOJ are among the members of the OAD Steering Committee. 

 

Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, NARIT's Executive Director (right) visits the Office of Astronomy for Development: OAD at SAAO, Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Jan 23, 2015

OAD Office, SAAO, Cape Town, South Africa

 

1st Face-to-Face Meeting of OAD Regional Coordinators kicks off as coordinators of regional nodes of OAD convenes at SAAO, Cape Town, South Africa during Jan, 23-30 2015.

 

Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, NARIT Executive Director leads the team of NARIT to air thoughts and implementation plans for astronomy development strategy for SEA region.

 

SEA-ROAD coordinator, Mr. Wichan Insiri reports the current and upcoming plans of SEA-ROAD to the OAD Steering Committee and other regional OAD coordinators.

 

The report includes the upcoming activities of which NARIT is going to organize in the year 2015 and their implementation plan and fundraising strategies were inclusive in the presentation. 

 

 

 

Jan 24, 2015

South African Large Telescope (SALT), SAAO, Sutherland, South Africa

 

Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, NARIT Executive Director pays a visit to South African Large Telescope (SALT) in Sutherland, South Africa. The visit is part of his 1st Face-to-Face Meeting of OAD Regional Coordinators which has been scheduled from Jan 23-30, 2015 at OAD, SAAO in Cape Town. 

 

Prof. Boonrucksar has been welcome by Dr. Brent Miszalski, SALT researcher. The on-site tour has been introduced to the NARIT team. The main highlight of the tour is the gigantic 10-meter class optical telescope designed mainly for spectroscopy. It consists of 91 hexagonal mirror segments each with a 1 meter inscribed diameter, resulting in a total hexagonal mirror of 11.1 m by 9.8 m. It is located close to the town of Sutherland in the semi-desert region of the Karoo, South Africa. Furthermore, operation and key sciences have been carefully explained by Dr. Miszalski as well. 

 

"SALT represents an important role in developing Astronomy not only for the African continent but also the global community as a whole. Its operation and key sciences represent one of the most cutting edge technologies available at the moment" says Prof. Boonrucksar. "The possibility of future collaboration with SALT, SAAO is positive as we are looking forward to partnering in SALT projects." adds NARIT Executive Director

 

Dr. Brent Miszalski, SALT researcher, takes the NARIT team around South African Large Telescope (SALT)

 

Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum with the gigantic 10-meter class optical telescope

 

Jan 26, 2015

OAD, SAAO, Cape Town, South Africa

 

Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, NARIT Executive Director meets Dr. David Buckley, Head of SALT Project to discuss the future collaborations with SALT and SAAO. Prof. Boonrucksar expresses his interest in collaborating with SALT in improving NARIT's current infrastructure and partnering with SALT in future shared facilities. 

 

There is a demand for astronomy education at graduate levels as a talk to send Thai graduate students to study in South Africa has been also mentioned. "South Africa is one of main landmarks when it comes to astronomy education. In order to expand our horizon, collaborations in astronomy education and research and development with SALT and SAAO are truly essential" says Prof. Boonrucksar. 

 

Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum discusses with Dr. David Buckley, Head of SALT Project about the future collaborations with SALT and SAAO

 

Stay tuned for the upcoming activities and pictures as the 1st Face-to-Face Meeting of OAD Regional Coordinators continues.