Public Outreach at the University of Athens Observatory


Since 2000 the University of Athens Observatory has maintained the goal of making astronomy accessible to the public and students alike through activities and public events. Every month the Observatory provides lectures and seminar talks on astronomical topics as well as observing sessions affording people the opportunity to get acquainted with current discoveries in astronomical research, the night sky through discussions with observatory staff and viewing the heavens through a telescope. The public outreach conducted at the Observatory focuses on talks and viewing opportunities on phenomena, specific to the time the sessions are held. In the past great efforts have been made to make sure the public has access to a telescope and knowledgeable staff while observing; planetary transits (Mercury and Venus) in front of the Sun, solar and lunar eclipses, comets passing the Earth, sunspot activity, fascinating objects in our Milky Way or beyond in the night sky. As an example of the generated public interest in astronomy, the University of Athens was delighted to be a major contributor in the World Space Week event in 2015 and afterwards and Mercury Transit in 2003 and 2016, representing Greek interest to the wider international community. Every year, more than 1000 students and more than 2000 people visit our laboratory, having the opportunity to participate in our activities and discover our Universe.

Public outreach is maintained also outside the Observatory and University facilities. Faculty members associated with the observatory are keen on spreading the word of science and astronomy by venturing out to local schools and generating interest among the youth and amateur astronomers. Faculty members have also been an integral part of the 2nd and 3rd Athens Science Festival, inviting professional astronomers and colleagues to bring their expertise as speakers and volunteers to educate the public.

In order to have a sustained relationship with the public, the University of Athens Observatory is keen on staying in communication with the public through social media. As of today, the Observatory is reachable through Facebook and YouTube and its up-to-date website.

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