UNAWE Indonesia is made possible by several partner organisations, including Langitselatan, which specialises in astronomy community outreach. Within the past year, Langitselatan has delivered the UNAWE mission in classrooms and at community events to a wide range of children in this populous and diverse country.
In 2010 and 2011, Langitselatan made special kindergarden classroom visits, called SunDays, to a variety of schools in Indonesia. With the help of the Celestia planetarium system, kids could better visualize our Solar System and its scale. After some instruction about our Solar System, the Sun, and how telescopes work, kids observed the Sun themselves, either with safe sunglasses or with a solar telescope.
In addition to these classroom visits, Langitselatan participated in several large-scale community gatherings, including a huge festival called Kumkum, a Blogger conference, and a special trip to an outdoor camp for kids. At the first two events, representatives from Langitselatan gave talks on relevant topics about astronomy in modern society and held educational exhibits for kids. These stations included games, books, magazines, binoculars, Earthball activities, stories, and much more. Langitselatan also held a nighttime event just for kids at Camp Stone in the Cidahu village of Indonesia. Activities for the night included story-telling, game-playing, and observing the night sky with a telescope.
With all of these community events, the primary goal was to provide fun, interactive, and educational resources to kids to connect with astronomy. As Langitselatan coordinator Emanuel Sungging says, “Everything is an instrument that tells us [about] the Universe... That means that enjoying the sky and our Universe does not have to start from a hassle (for example, buying binoculars). From playing and joking, we can begin to learn more information about our world.”
Langitselatan has also recently adapted the UNAWE Space SCOOP into Indonesian so more children can appreciate the breaking news of modern astronomy. The 13 April, 2011 story, “Fireworks in Space,” was translated by Langitselatan and published in the Indonesian Astronomi magazine this past year.
It has been a successful and busy year for Langitselatan, and the UNAWE team is happy to have them on board! In the year to come, they hope to gather a larger database of resources in Indonesian, publish a book of “starlore,” or astronomy stories, make their resources more readily available on their blog, and, specifically, hold a special session for the Venus Transit in 2012.
For more information, see their blog. While the site is in Indonesian, all articles can be translated. The site also provides many excellent resources for anyone interested in organising a UNAWE event. Their astronomy version of snakes and ladders has been especially popular with kids!