open science

Crowdfunding Astronomy Outreach Projects: Lessons learned from the UNAWE crowdfunding campaign

Abi J. Ashton, Thilina Heenatigala, Pedro Russo

In recent years, crowdfunding has become a popular method of funding new technology or entertainment products, or artistic projects. The idea is that people or projects ask for many small donations from individuals who support the proposed work, rather than a large amount from a single source. Crowdfunding is usually done via an online portal or platform which handles the financial transactions involved. The Universe Awareness (UNAWE) programme decided to undertake a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign centring on the resource Universe in a Box. In this article we present the lessons learned and best practices from that campaign.



Increasing Mathematics Engagement in an Astronomy Outreach Context

Mark Woodland

The ability to better understand the Universe is very enticing, but for many of us mathematics can be a steadfast barrier to getting there. This article explores the role of mathematics in astronomy outreach and shares my experience of using mathematics to engage an audience, rather than shying away from it.


The Planeterrella: A planetary auroral simulator

Jean Lilensten, Laurent Lamy, Carine Briand, Mathieu Barthélémy, Baptiste Cecconi

This article presents a plasma physics experiment which makes it possible to produce polar lights. The experiment, named Planeterrella, involves shooting electrons onto a magnetised sphere placed in a vacuum chamber. Inspired by Kristian Birkeland’s Terrella, but with several different configurations and technical improvements, the experiment allows the user to simulate and visualise simple geophysical and astrophysical situations. Several Planeterrellas are now used across Europe and the USA. The design of the original experiment and the expertise of its first authors are shared freely with any public institute and are outlined in this article.


When Astronomy Gets Closer to Home: Why space weather outreach is important and how to give it impact

Bárbara Ferreira

When the public think about natural hazards, space weather is not the first thing to come to mind. Yet, though uncommon, extreme space weather events can have an economic impact similar to that of large floods or earthquakes. Although there have been efforts across various sectors of society to communicate this topic, many people are still quite confused about it, having only a limited understanding of the relevance of space weather in their daily lives. As such, it is crucial to properly communicate this topic to a variety of audiences. This article explores why we should communicate space weather research, how it can be framed for different audiences and how researchers, science communicators, policy makers and the public can raise awareness of the topic.