Global Hands-On Universe Community Gathers in Vienna

GHOU Group Photo

Participants of 2018 GHOU conference at the Kuffner Observatory, Vienna. (GHOU / NUCLIO / T. Heenatigala)

While many of you were still making final updates to presentations, packing suitcases or otherwise preparing to travel to the GA, nearly 50 astronomers and educators from around the world had already gathered in Vienna for the 2018 Global Hands-On Universe conference, which was held 13-15 August at the Kuffner Observatory. The sheltered grounds and historic facilities of the Observatory provided an inspiring location for this annual conference.

Global Hands-On Universe is a community of educators and astronomers with a combined aim to teach astronomy in a way that follows the scientific process; students are guided to develop models to explain the phenomena that they encounter during their investigations.

In addition to conference sessions, the astronomers at 2018 GHOU conference also ran workshops for teachers from 16 countries to learn new ways to engage students in astronomy, including a kinesthetic exploration of orbits in the Solar System, called the Human Orrery. Other workshops included creating lesson plans to explore spectroscopic-based research projects and using digital images to determine the mass of the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way.

The GHOU conference also featured updates on national activities from across six continents.

Human Orrey

Participants taking part in the Human Orrery activity. (GHOU / NUCLIO / T. Heenatigala)

RICHARD GELDERMAN is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Western Kentucky University, US, where he studies active galaxies and oversees a local science festival and a Café Scientifique. He is also Director of both Hardin Planetarium and the 1.3-metre Robotically Controlled Telescope.