Your very own starryteller09/06/2014
Teachers and students are invited to take part in a stargazing course.
A new online stargazing hub is a dream come true for Wellington scientist Haritina Mogosanu.
Milky Way Kiwi began life as New Zealand’s first astrophotography magazine, but is now an online resource for all things astronomical. Romanian-born Haritina hopes that teachers, students, and anyone else who is interested will find inspiration to ‘look up’.
“I first started some years ago by publishing an independent magazine that featured black and white photos of the stars. Much has happened in my life since then, and I feel this is the way forward with Milky Way Kiwi.”
Milky Way Kiwi is home to Haritina’s work as a science communicator. Along with her work as a senior advisor at the Ministry for Primary Industries, her mission is to spread her love of the stars to anyone and everyone who is interested.
What exactly is a starryteller?
Starrytellers are hardworking science communicators, says Haritina (below).
“Starrytellers take the knowledge of people who look at the stars and create equal opportunities for everyone else to be inspired,” she says.
“You will find them talking in planetaria, on the side of the road with telescopes, doing shows on TV or radio, or talking to schools.”
Milky Way Kiwi coaching – a stargazing course
Haritina’s stargazing course offers training for planetarium presenters or professional development for teachers who want to expand their astronomy knowledge. It will also be helpful to those who want to work in astro-tourism.
On Milky Way Kiwi you will also find a link to a free starrytelling course.
“This free course is a teaser for the official stargazing course, but it’s still got a lot of information and starry inspiration to get someone started,” she says.
Bringing together a constellation of experts
Haritina hopes that Milky Way Kiwi will serve the astronomical community around her.
“I got a lot of my starry friends to help with the site. It features their work – I really admire what they do and am so thrilled they wanted to write for me,” she says.
Featured astronomers include Adrianos Golemis, the European Space Agency medical doctor from Antarctica’s Concordia Station, Petter Detterline, chief astronomer at the Mars Desert Research Station, well-known New Zealand astronomer Alan Gilmore, as well as many other local and international star-gazers. In addition to publishing articles by these people, Haritina is also gathering on the site links, events, and other useful information.
This drive to bring all the information together in one place will serve the astronomical community, says Haritina. Aimed at weaving together the various strands of space science communication in New Zealand, she has put together a regular e-newsletter. Described “a little like New Zealand’s sky and a telescope”, in that it will present a wide range of information then hone in on particular topics, the newsletter will cover topics from Māori astronavigation to space history. This will be particularly useful for busy teachers who wish to keep up with local events and activities. You can sign up for Haritina’s starrytelling course or the regular email newsletter here.
Haritina is excited to host the stargazing activities on Milky Way Kiwi and says it is rewarding work. “It brings me so much joy, it makes me really happy to see it coming together.”
Image at top: The Milky Way: infrared image from NASA's Spritzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/S. Stolovy (SSC/Caltech)
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