You Are Galileo! & SEAAN Introduction to Astronomy Workshop synchronized in Myanmar

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1 – 2 Dec 2017

University of Mandalay

Mandalay, Myanmar

The 9th Southeast Asia Astronomy Network Meeting (SEAAN 2017) turned out to be a great success by all means of the international standards with overwhelming enthusiasm from amateur astronomers, lecturers and students alike. To keep the positive vibes going, the Local Organizing Committee, consisting of University of Mandalay, National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Public Organization) – NARIT, International Astronomical Union Office for Astronomy Outreach (IAU OAO) and National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) teamed up with anticipation to organize the parallel workshops “You are Galileo!” and “Introduction to Astronomy” held on the ground of Convocation Hall, University of Mandalay for 2 consecutive days to welcome the festive December.

 

Given the qualified participants over 100 from all across Myanmar, each 2 lecturers and students represented their affiliated educational institutions at various levels from high school to university. You are Galileo! kicked off with inspiring and informative remarks by NAOJ’s Hidehiko Agata and OAO’s Sze-leung Cheung to get the participants going. They were then introduced to the Galileoscopes in which later will be allocated and donated to them for good. Through the first day, participants familiarized themselves with the set-ups and professional operations of different types of telescopes from big and small. 48 Galileoscopes were donated by IAU OAO and OAD to each participating school, 2 Vixen Telescopes were donated by NAOJ and 2 Dobsonian Telescopes by NARIT. These 3 types of telescopes apparently operate on their own terms for different purposes, thus required professional in-depth knowledge from the operators (which in this case will be Burmese lecturers, students and the public) and they didn’t disappoint. Organizers were impressed by the keen interests shown from the recipients to own and operate the aforementioned equipment. The group was split into half as they demonstrated the using of Mitaka Software. Participants had a chance to practice using Mitaka on their own laptops and expected to introduce the software to their fellows later on. The whole-day efforts paid off by the end of the day when a hand-on night session of stargazing was held in the soccer field on MU campus. Organizers and participants spent up to 3 hours in the dark observing at various visible planets and stars. Meanwhile in parallel, the Introduction to Astronomy workshop was being carried out by numerous research astronomers from NARIT whose attractive topics attracted many participants including Exoplanets, Variable stars, Solar system, Stellar evolution, High Energy Astronomy, Radio astronomy, Galaxies & Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology.

 

 

The second and very last day of these workshops began with invited talks from professionals and researchers working on astronomy and the related fields from OAO, NAOJ and NARIT to talk about current astronomy status in Asia at different countries and regions – encouraging participants to become astronomers by illustrating how importance this field is for the development of the whole world at large. In the afternoon session, it is crucial that participants get their final chance to carry out the operations of their very own telescopes by themselves – under close supervision of our professionals they practiced Solar observations. They wrapped it up on the panel discussions ‘How to get started with astronomy activities in Myanmar” which welcomed comments and feedbacks from organizers and participants to share their opinions on the previous workshops and tackle into the main challenges to develop astronomy in Myanmar and what are the possibilities to go further. All of the aforementioned sessions were also open for the public to attend in the hope to create visibility and interests in astronomy in this country.