I’ve written about the terrific award-winning podcast 365 Days of Astronomy before: it’s a user-driven podcast, where listeners themselves record the episodes. It’s a great idea, and up until recently has been doing really well, with daily updates of personal stories of astronomy and science.
And now it needs your help. My friend, astronomer Pamela Gay, is the driving force behind 365 DoA and has just written a post on her blog saying that the podcast is in desperate need of submissions and funding. She has the details there.
365 DoA is a great venue to not only educate people about astronomy, but to get them personally involved. I strongly support their efforts, and I hope you will too.
In 2007, a young woman with no prior experience in astronomy made a discovery that led to dozens of astronomers using billions of dollars of equipment to figure out the solution to the mystery. The young woman, named Hanny, and the object — whimsically named the Voorwerp — wound up becoming a fantastic demonstration of how citizen science works, and how it can lead to a greater understanding of the Universe.
My friend Pamela Gay, an astronomer and educator, spearheaded an effort to get this story out to the folks who need it most: kids! She and her team created a comic book based on Hanny’s story, called "Hanny and the Mystery of the Voorwerp" – you can learn more about it at that link. The comic book (a panel is shown above) will be premiered at Dragon*Con this weekend, but you can pre-order a copy for $5. If you’re an educator, or are looking to get your kids interested in science, you should check it out.
It’s a cute story, but also an important one. You don’t need a big fancy degree or even years of experience to make a big discovery. Sometimes what you need is a bright, curious mind, and the desire to explore.
Great news, everyone! The 365 Days of Astronomy citizen podcast will go on for at least another year!
365DoA is an International Year of Astronomy project that lets you, the astronomy enthusiast, create your own astronomy podcast, upload it, and let everyone on this pale blue dot hear it. It was wildly successful, with spots filling up rapidly once it was announce last year. It also won a coveted Parsec podcast award this year, too.
But given this was an IYA 2009 project, I was wondering if it would continue on to 2010 and beyond, and it will! It’ll become a legacy project, and will be handled by Astrosphere New Media Association, a (charitable and tax-deductible!) online astronomy support group made up of dedicated people. I know this for a fact, because I’m a part of it.
The podcast team also invites people and organizations to sponsor the podcast by donating $30 to support 1 day of the podcast, with your dedication appearing at the start of the show. For just $360, it is possible to sponsor 1 episode per month. Alternatively, you can also have a dedication message at the end of the show for a week, for a donation at the $100 level. These donations will help pay for editing, and posting of the podcasts.
Each episode gets between 5000 and 10,000 listeners, so it’s not a terrible way to advertise if you’re looking for that. But submitting an entry is free. If you read this blog — and you do, I see you there — then astronomy is something you enjoy. I bet you can think of some topic here that inspires you, that fires you up, that makes you think.
Go ahead! Make my year.