After 2 years of virtual operation, the Mobile Laboratory “Conciencia Astronomía”, known as LabMóvil, is back on the road and back to its face-to-face activities in this science thanks to a recent collaboration between the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMTO) and the EcoScience Foundation with Las Campanas Observatory (LCO), part of the Carnegie Institution for Science.
The mission of LabMóvil is to promote science education for children and young people, as well as to attract the general public to astronomy through simple and replicable experiments. In addition, the laboratory is joined by the traveling backpack “Universe with All Senses”, created by the Planetarium of Medellin (Colombia) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU), to teach astronomy to blind and visually impaired people. This backpack was donated to the GMTO, an institution that took on the task of replicating this material in Chile at low cost.
In addition to “Universe with All Senses” are the 3D printed replicas of the Magellan telescopes of the Las Campanas Observatory, created by the institution and designed to teach visually impaired people about telescopes.
For Leopoldo Infante, Director of Las Campanas Observatory, the arrival of LabMovil to La Serena reinforces LCO’s commitment to scientific dissemination, both among the local community and throughout the country. “We are particularly happy to have signed an agreement with GMTO and Ecoscience to disseminate astronomy to society, and to have this fantastic mobile laboratory at our disposal for this task”, he emphasizes.
“From GMTO we are very happy to return to the face-to-face activities of our LabMobile. After 2 years of online work, in this 2022 we return to promote astronomy education for children and young people, mainly in the north of our country. More than ever, we are convinced of the importance of science in people’s lives” says Miguel Roth, vice-president and representative of GMTO in Chile.
The first joint activity will be the celebration of Astronomy Day in March 2022. Then, LabMóvil will travel to educational institutions in the north of Chile, bringing science and education to remote places that usually have difficult access to this type of events.
The institution responsible for its operation will be the Las Campanas Observatory, together with a group of astronomers and educators from its staff. To request a visit from the LabMovil, please contact LCO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The LabMóvil Conciencia Astronomía was born in 2019 from an alliance between Fundación Ecoscience and the Magellan Giant Magellan Telescope, with the support of The Kavli Foundation, for the development of an educational project capable of bringing the best practices in astronomy education to all of Chile, replicating the experience of the Bus ConCiencia program.
Astronomy Day 2022
The first activity in the context of this collaboration will be on March 21, 2022, and consists of a public exhibition at the offices of the Las Campanas Observatory in La Serena. The exhibition consists of three stations: experiments in LabMóvil, an inclusive exhibition for the visually impaired, and solar observation with telescopes.
The activity is open to the general public and will take place between 10:00 and 19:00 hours. To participate, please fill in the following form: https://forms.gle/L77VKkN8UpYwDdv9A
Collaborating with the organizers (Las Campanas Observatory, Giant Magellan Telescope and Ecoscience Foundation), the Central University and the inclusive astronomy group Dedoscopio. Astronomy Day is organized nationally by the Chilean Astronomy Society, SOCHIAS; the Planetarium of the University of Santiago and Public Science, of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation.
To conclude the activities, on Friday, March 25, the experience will be repeated in Vallenar, at the Atacama Technology Center, thanks to the collaboration of LCO with the municipality through its mayor, Mr. Armando Flores. The event is open to the general public and will be held between 10:00 and 18:00 hours. Registrations can be made in this form: https://forms.gle/L77VKkN8UpYwDdv9A
Las Campanas Observatory will also organize an activity for professionals in special education, whose registration is available on the LCO website (https://www.lco.cl/es/dia-de-la-astronomia/).