NASA in Astrobases

From 6 to 14 June 2014 an international group of 20 scientists working on Planck satellite project visited Kujawsko - Pomorskie Voivodeship. Their stay in the region was organized within the framework of the Astronomy Forum supported by Marshal’s Office in cooperation with Jagiellonian College in Toruń and European Centre of Youth Cooperation.

Planck satellite project is currently the largest joint project of NASA and European Space Agency. Groups of scientists involved in the project take regular working meetings – in June, one of them took place at the University of Cambridge and the other in Toruń. To our region, scientists came from the U.S., Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Norway, Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, Estonia, Portugal, Great Britain, South Korea. Among the guests, among others, there were Charles Lawrence (Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA in Pasadena) managing the entire project from NASA, Graca Rocha (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and Krzysztof Górski from Jet Propulsion Laboratory who managed the work during  meeting in Torun.

The invitation to visit our region was also accepted by Michelle Larson, Director of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and Mario Puharich, Polish-American cooperation animator. The talks focused on, inter alia, exchange of experience and implementation of joint projects in matters of popularization of astronomy.

Adler Planetarium in Chicago is the first object of that type built on the western hemisphere and the oldest facility of this type still existing in the world. It is located in the complex of Museum Campus Chicago. In front of the building there is a monument of Nicolaus Copernicus and the figure of the astronomer is presented during educational sessions for visitors.

The visit of the delegation from Chicago was a continuation of co-operation which began last year during the visit of the representatives of Voivodeship in the United States under the leadership of Piotr Całbecki. Then we presented to our partners the projects connected with  astronomy implemented on Kujawy and Pomorze: Astrobase Kopernik Project, Astrofestival, achievements of Planetarium in Toruń and Toruń Centre for Astronomy  Nicolaus Copernicus University in Piwnice. The host region also suggested the implementation of joint projects with the Adler Planetarium: astronomical activities for young people from the region and Chicago, exchange of personnel popularizing astronomy and exhibition promoting Nicolaus Copernicus and astronomical heritage in the Adler Planetarium.

The program of stay in Kujawsko - Pomorskie included meetings with scientists, sightseeing of observatory in Piwnice, participation in the 3rd edition of Astrofestival in Golub-Dobrzyn, as well as visiting places connected with born in Torun Nicolaus Copernicus. An important part of the stay were visits in  Astrobases in Unisław, Kruszwica and Radziejów. During the meetings, the young enthusiasts of astronomy together with  the teachers-local coordinators of Astrobase had the opportunity to present their achievements, passion or projects, among others final works under the Astronomical Competition.

 Our guests were fascinated with knowledge, effects of students' work and astrophotographs took ​​by amateurs of astronomers. They were surprised that despite the lack of implementation of the astronomical subjects in school children have huge knowledge and skills.

"I did not expect that this is a project carried out with such verve and enjoys so much interest. I am impressed. " - said Professor Górski.

 “Meeting with such excellent representatives of science has made strong impression on the young enthusiasts of astronomy. It's a huge honour for Kruszwica Astrobase” – say Ilona Dybicz and Magdalena Musiałowska from Kruszwica.

The visits of NASA scientists and director of the Adler Planetarium in Kujawsko-Pomorskie is the beginning of mutual cooperation in the area of popularization of astronomy and implementation of joint educational projects. We hope that established relationships will soon translate directly into greater opportunities for astronomy education in the region and enable to achieve the goal of making the Kujawsko-Pomorskie the heart of Polish astronomy.

fot. A.Goiński, M. Malczak

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