The declaration of 2009 by UNO as International Year of Astronomy provided a great impetus to the science popularisation activities in India, specifically for creating awareness about astronomy in general public and scientific literacy among the children. Coincidently the year 2009 also witnessed the occurrence of Total Solar Eclipse on June 15, 2009 and the belt of totality also passes through Indian territory, covering some of the northern and central States of India which are populated very thickly. The occasion was utilized by Vigyan Prasar (VP) to develop a more focused package of outreach activities on astronomy by building a nationwide campaign involving children, science clubs, schools and common people to witness the eclipses safely and removal of myth and superstitions associated with them. As part of outreach activities, VP, a National Institute of Science and Technology Communications, developed and produced a series of informative booklets, books, radio and television programmes, CD-ROMs and organised a number of training programmes to train resource personsto take up field based activities by involving general public and children. Two activity based camps were also organized for the members of Science Clubs with the aimof providing the basics of Astronomy through a series of hands-on-activities, taking up short term observational project by developing low cost/no-cost equipments andobserving solar eclipse safely. Again the yearlong campaign was finally culminated in the form of again a National Camp to Observe Annular Solar Eclipse (January 15, 2010) which was organised at Kanyakumari in Tamilnadu (India).
This paper highlights the institutional efforts of VP in popularising astronomy during the IYC 2009 and to what extent the efforts were successful in enhancing the scientific literacy on astronomy among the members of science clubs.
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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Communicating astronomy
Campaigns built around solar eclipses

Brinder Tyagi   Govt. of India

Vigyan Prasar   Govt. of India

The declaration of 2009 by UNO as International Year of Astronomy provided a great impetus to the science popularisation activities in India, specifically for creating awareness about astronomy in general public and scientific literacy among the children. Coincidently the year 2009 also witnessed the occurrence of Total Solar Eclipse on June 15, 2009 and the belt of totality also passes through Indian territory, covering some of the northern and central States of India which are populated very thickly. The occasion was utilized by Vigyan Prasar (VP) to develop a more focused package of outreach activities on astronomy by building a nationwide campaign involving children, science clubs, schools and common people to witness the eclipses safely and removal of myth and superstitions associated with them. As part of outreach activities, VP, a National Institute of Science and Technology Communications, developed and produced a series of informative booklets, books, radio and television programmes, CD-ROMs and organised a number of training programmes to train resource personsto take up field based activities by involving general public and children. Two activity based camps were also organized for the members of Science Clubs with the aimof providing the basics of Astronomy through a series of hands-on-activities, taking up short term observational project by developing low cost/no-cost equipments andobserving solar eclipse safely. Again the yearlong campaign was finally culminated in the form of again a National Camp to Observe Annular Solar Eclipse (January 15, 2010) which was organised at Kanyakumari in Tamilnadu (India).
This paper highlights the institutional efforts of VP in popularising astronomy during the IYC 2009 and to what extent the efforts were successful in enhancing the scientific literacy on astronomy among the members of science clubs.

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