ASEAN Astronomy Camp 2017 Stresses Youth Solidarity in Regional Integration

Doi Inthanon National Park

Chiang Mai, Thailand

24 – 27 January 2017

The oh-so-cliché ‘third time’s a charm’ has been rest assured in the spirit of an excess of success of the 3rd ASEAN Astronomy Camp 2017 as it resumes to mark the beginning of 2017.

 

Hosted by NARIT – as a regional node for Southeast Asian Regional Office of Astronomy for Development or ‘SEA-ROAD’, the Camp welcomed 37 high-school students and 9 teachers from a wide range of schools across Southeast Asia. It comprises of 7 national representatives from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam respectively.

 

 

On 24 January, AAC 2017 commenced opened by Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum – NARIT Executive Director, who personally extended his warm welcome and best wishes to the participants as he mentioned “My colleagues and I are very delighted to have you here joining this wonderful event with us in the city of Chiang Mai, where you’ll find more or less a lifetime experience exposed to you by our infrastructures and well-trained staff here at NARIT. We are proud to serve the region as a driving force to connect the dots of education and human capacity building in our nations.”

 

 

The rest of the program was conducted on Doi Inthanon National Park, whether at its headquarters, the summit and Thai National Observatory (TNO), where the state-of-the-art 2.4-metres and soon-to-be robotic telescope is located. As they embraced the rapid fluctuation and decrease of temperature that stayed between 5 – 15 degree Celsius each day and night, the Camps was packed with well-planned activities to maximize participant’s professional skills. To name a few of NARIT signature workshops began with the basic talk ‘Introduction to Astronomy’, ‘Basic Stargazing’, ‘Planet Walk’, ‘Make a Comet’, ‘Solar Observation’, ‘Dobsonian Telescope’ to hand-on deep sky observation during both days and nights.

 

 

Besides all of the abovementioned curriculum, AAC 2017 took the advantage of the best location possible atop the highest mountain in the country to expose young students and their advisors to local culture, food and language. Here at NARIT – we make it our priority to strive for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, throughout the Camp, participants and staff members were encouraged to be open-minded, accepting the differences and cultural disparities as they shared the precious time with their peers from different countries. By doing so, we’ve committed to decrease educational gaps among the region via the quality of education provided here.

 

 

On the third day spent at Doi Inthanon National Park Headquarters, we were struck by a minimal earthquake of approximately 4 Richter that was strong enough to be felt by all of us in the area. Although despite a minor panic, our staff reassured that our facilities – including TNO – were built to stand for such natural disaster. On the last day of AAC 2017, participants will have a chance to observe an epic sunrise at one of Thailand’s best spots called “Kiw Mae Parn” near Doi Inthanon Summit. This marks a memorable journey of success to inspire our young ASEAN citizens to only have much more anticipation to be exposed and educated to Astronomy and its related fields of science and technology at a large scale, and they just couldn’t wait for more!