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ICE-CSIC organises an outreach activity to bring astronomy closer to Sahrawi children

28/08/2023
Picture taken during an outreach activity with Saharawi children by ICE-CSIC staff.

Picture of the 'cosmic walk’ part of the activity organised in Castelldefels.

Last Friday, 25th August, the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC) in collaboration with the Castelldefels Astronomical Group (Astrofels) organised an outreach activity about astronomy within the Amanar project for Sahrawi children who spend the summer with host families in different locations in Spain thanks to the 'Vacaciones en Paz' programme.

The activity was held in Castelldefels, at the Astrofels association observatory, located in the Cal Ganxo Center for Environmental Activities, attended by 12 boys and girls together with their host families. The activity began with a presentation about the planets in the Solar System, accompanied by a 'cosmic walk' calculating the sizes and distances between planets if the Earth were the size of a peppercorn. To understand the scaled distance between the Sun and the different planets, we walked the equivalent steps between them, also showing the equivalent sizes of each planet for them to acquire a better visualisation of Solar System scaled distances. The engineer Sofía Sisteré, the communication and outreach officer Alba Calejero, the predoctoral researcher Abubakr Ibrahim and the communication and outreach manager at ICE-CSIC Jorge Rivero were part of the activity.

After a dinner break, the kids could enjoy an astronomical observation by Astrofels to observe the moon and Saturn. 

Throughout the summer, different astronomical organisations arranged outreach activities aimed at Sahrawi boys and girls and their foster families in cities such as A Coruña, Granada, Madrid, Sagunto and Tenerife within the Amanar project. This is an outreach project that was born in 2019 to inspire the Sahrawi community through the observation of the universe and the development of scientific skills, as well as to foster a sense of unity under the same sky.

The Amanar Project, originated by the GalileoMobile initiative, has had the growing support of international scientific institutions throughout its history, such as the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) and the Office of Astronomy Disclosure (OAO ) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO), the Gran Telescopio de Canarias (GTC), the Virgo Collaboration, Universe Awareness (UNAWE), Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP), the Leiden Observatory, the Europlanet Society or the Asociación Canaria de Solidaridad con el Pueblo Saharaui, among others. 

The activity in Castelldefels has been funded by the Amanar project, the IAU through the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) and the Office for the Dissemination of Astronomy (OAO) and by the Europlanet Society.

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Jorge Rivero & Alba Calejero