Citizen Astronomy in the era of large surveys

Dr. Stella Kafka - Director American Association of Variable Star Observers, will present a public talk hosted by the South African Astronomical Observatory and the Astronomy Department, on the occasion of the international symposium on "Southern Horizons in Time Domain Astronomy".  Dr Kafka's talk is titled, "Citizen Astronomy in the era of large surveys".

For centuries, citizen astronomers have been making important discoveries and significant contributions to science. With the outburst of all-sky surveys and the availability of appropriate software, professional astronomers depend on the public to analyse, sort and understand large quantities of existing data, or to acquire new data sets leading to noteworthy discoveries. Nowadays our philosophy, our view of the role of the public in time-domain science has changed. From crowdsourcing to data acquisition, citizens are now
leaving a notable mark in the science landscape, also assisting professional astronomers with data analysis and publications. In turn, scientific projects and opportunities of active engagement are used to increase science literacy and public understanding of science. I will give a short overview on how astronomy has benefited from citizen contributions in various projects. I will also discuss how now, more than ever, citizen involvement in projects is needed to advance our knowledge and understanding of variable objects, and I
will present ways citizen astronomers can significantly participate in new collaborations, complementing
data acquired from facilities such as MeerKAT and SALT, for cutting-edge science.

Dr. Stella Kafka, is the Director of the AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers).  Before her tenure at the AAVSO which started in 2015, Dr Kafka held positions at CTIO, IPAC/Caltech, Carnegie Institution of Washington/DTM and AIP Publishing. The AAVSO is an international nonprofit organization of variable star observers whose mission is to enable anyone, anywhere, to
participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronomy.

Date: 
Monday, November 13, 2017 - 19:00
Venue: 

STIAS Wallenberg Centre, 10 Marais Street, Stellenbosch

Contact Information: 

To book for this event, please contact Roslyn Daniels

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