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Meet the University Boosting Astronomy Education in Chile

Meet the University Boosting Astronomy Education in Chile main image

Sponsored by Universidad Autónoma de Chile

For centuries, millions of people have been fascinated with the cosmos and everything that exists within it, from planets to stars, comets to eclipses. Going beyond our imagination, it can sometimes be difficult to fathom and feel overwhelmed by it all.

Fortunately, researchers at the Science Communication Center at Universidad Autónoma de Chile have published a book to help! Titled, Illustrated Astronomy: Sun, Earth, Moon, Eclipses, it talks about the phenomena of eclipses in the simplest terms, as well as the influence they have on our planet, and shows how having a basic understanding of space can be the key to understanding humankind as it is today.

We spoke with them to find out more about the book and how they’re hoping it’ll bring the Chilean community closer to the stars.

Why astronomy matters

In 2019, Chile experienced a total eclipse of the sun, and will have another south of the capital, Santiago, in a year’s time in December 2020.

“It’s an excellent opportunity to share knowledge about an area that is currently booming in our country,” said Iván Suazo, vice-chancellor of research and postgraduate studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Chile.

"It allows us to bring science closer to the people because we will all have access to what will happen, to know what, why and how this phenomenon occurs in a simple and enjoyable way.

“It is knowledge that universities should be able to communicate to people,” he added, when asked about what motivated the publication of the book.

According to a survey conducted by Conicyt (National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research), 76 percent of the Chilean population believe they have very little knowledge about science.

“It's hard for us researchers to spread what we do. Today there are many ways to reach out to people – illustrations, videos, graphics, and so on. We must be able to take advantage of this and disseminate the research we do for the benefit of all,” explained the author of the book, Dr Juan Carlos Beamin, an astrophysicist and scientific coordinator of the Science Communication Center of the Universidad Autónoma de Chile.

Hence, the publication of the book, which specifically discusses in great detail the role and purpose the sun, Earth and moon play in an eclipse as well as their relevance in daily life.

Why we need to keep looking up

It’s easy to forget to look up at the night sky sometimes. Having an understanding of space can help us answer the bigger questions and solve the secrets of the universe.

This is why it’s important to capitalize on the natural curiosity of our local communities in order to encourage and attract the younger generation to consider the fun and interesting subject of astronomy.

From planetariums to museums and observatories, astronomy and the study of space doesn’t have to be confined to the classroom either. In Chile there are 17 observatories, covering 240,000 hectares of land. Over the next 10 years, it is hoped that eight more telescopes will be built, and the country will be home to 70 percent of the world’s astronomical capacity.

“We want the community to be involved. We have one of the best natural laboratories in the world, and with more than 300 clear days a year, the Atacama Desert has some of the clearest skies on the planet for astronomical observation,” said Suazo.

Written by Stephanie Lukins
As the sponsored content writer for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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