GalileoMobile Constellation Programme brings astronomy closer to schools in six South American countries during IYL 2015

The science outreach project GalileoMobile is back on the road with the organization of four simultaneous expeditions to bring the wonders of the sky to children in five countries in South America during November and December 2015. To celebrate the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015), GalileoMobile has envisioned its most ambitious project so far: the Constellation Programme. This programme comprises the creation of a network of 20 schools across six countries in South America, allowing them to share their innate fascination with the sky through hands-on activities and fun experiments. The GalileoMobile Constellation Programme has been officially endorsed by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) IYL 2015 Cosmic Light Programme.

Children practising how to use the telescope in Lumiar, Brazil.
Children practising how to use the telescope in Lumiar, Brazil.

GalileoMobile has spent the last six years bringing astronomy closer to young people across the planet. In Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Peru, and Uganda, our group of volunteers has reached thousands of children and hundreds of teachers, sharing the beauty of the cosmos with them all.

The first phase of the Constellation Programme involved teacher and student training. GalileoMobile local collaborators personally visited each of the network schools and the GalileoMobile team provided continuous online support. The schools participating on the Constellation programme also received a telescope, educational material and a handbook of activities that will guide them in their exploration of the Universe. Moreover, an online platform, friendly and fun to use, was launched to facilitate the exchange of information and experience between all the nodes of the network.

During the second phase of the programme, members of the GalileoMobile team are visiting each of the network schools where educational workshops, further activities, and public events are organized.

Activities about exoplanets in Peru.
Activities about exoplanets in Peru.

Find below information about the expeditions:

Colombia:  GalileoMobile team members in Colombia performed activities in schools in Bogota, Girardota, Antioquía and Pereira on 2-14 November.

Brazil: on 7-15 November, five GalileoMobile team members visited schools in the region of Lumiar.

Peru: Schools in the region around Cusco are being visited 8-24 November.

Chile and Argentina: from November 23rd to December 12th GalileoMobile members will be visiting schools in Chile and Argentina, from Chile Chico and Cariquíma to Cordoba.

Ecuador: schools in the Constellation Network will be visited on February 2016.

But the experience won't end there! GalileoMobile will ensure that the legacy of Constellation lives on, by allowing network schools to continue collaborating via the online platform, and encouraging them to plan their own science activities for years to come.

The GalileoMobile Constellation Programme is supported by the IAU Office for Astronomy Development (OAD), NORDITA, Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins (MAST), Cerro Tololo Observatory (CTIO), Planetarium of Cusco, Planetarium of Medellín, Universidad Sergio Arboleda, Universe Awareness (UNAWE), the Galileo Teacher Training Programme (GTTP), A Touch of the Universe Project and the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

About GalileoMobile

GalileoMobile is a non-profit, itinerant, science outreach initiative that brings modern astronomy closer to young people around the world, with emphasis in regions that have little or no access to other outreach actions. The initiative was created in late 2008 inspired by the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) and is currently run by astronomers, educators, and science communicators.

The team organises workshops for teachers and hands-on astronomy-related activities for students in schools and villages to foster a will of learning and critical thinking through the exciting wonders of our Universe, and to inspire a sense of global citizenship "under the same sky" by promoting a cultural exchange. To encourage follow-up activities GalileoMobile also donates to each school visited a telescope, a copy of the GalileoMobile Handbook of activities, and other educational material. In addition, GalileoMobile has created several documentaries/visual products to share this message of unity with the world and inspire similar initiatives

For more information visit the GalileoMobile website.

About IYL 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations (A/RES/68/221) to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.  With UNESCO as lead agency, IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.  The IYL Global Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

The Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). 

Patron Sponsors include Bosca, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Royal Philips Lighting, Thorlabs and UL.


Fabio del Sordo

John Dudley
Steering Committee Chair
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015

Joe Niemela
Global Coordinator (IYL Secretariat)
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015