Courses and Workshops

As our main objective is to promote the research approach within the amateur Astronomy’s framework we have organized numerous workshops and seminars. The goal through these is to present and train every interested individual (our members, students, amateurs, the public) to the observational methods, the use of equipment, the processing of the observations and data, so that the results will be scientifically useful.

These activities have been developed through our members’ initiatives for our association as well as for the top events of the local community, i.e. the Panhellenic Meetings of Amateur Astronomers (annually under pristine dark sky in mountains) and the Panhellenic Conferences on Amateur Astronomy (every two years). We have contributed significantly to the formulation and the inclusion of hands-on workshops during these major events, and we have been the first to organize such workshops during the 3rd Panhellenic Meeting of Amateur Astronomers in 2009.

Highlights of our work include:

  • 2013-2014: We organized a series of 20 theoretical courses on subjects of modern Astronomy. These talks aimed at the general public and there were followed by approximately 80 persons per course. (You can find videos of these courses, in Greek though, in our YouTube channel.)
  • 2014-2015: We run a project organized in “Focus Months”, i.e. each month was dedicated to the study of a specific object, including: the Sun, variable stars, comets, planets, artificial satellites, meteors. During each month we had set up weekly meetings to present the theory and the observational methods, followed by exercises and training in observations and their processing / analysis. These courses aimed to individuals that wanted to develop the necessary skills to contribute useful observations. Due to the practical nature of these workshops the number of participants was limited (and the participants ranged from 5 to 50 depending on the subject). However, we have made available all the material we have used (in Greek) through our site. (For more details see Kardasis et al. 2015 and Maravelias et al. 2018.)
  • 2018-2019: During this period we organized a series of lectures entitled “introduction to Observational Astronomy”. With this we bridge our first series of seminars on Astronomy in general with the second project of hands-on workshops in “Focus Months”, so that to offer talks that included both the theory around each specific celestial object as well as the contribution of amateurs to its study. Even though we didn’t employ any practical exercises or observations we presented the appropriate observational methods. The talks were open to the general public (with about 50 participants per talk). (For a summary of the project and its evaluation see Moutsouroufi et al. 2019.)

We try to always employ evaluation methods in all of our activities. This ensures our continuous improvement, as well as the investigation for new approaches. In some many cases we have managed to publish our results, mainly to international conferences (Kardasis et al. 2015; Maravelias et al. 2018; Moutsouroufi et al. 2019) but soon in scientific journals (papers in preparation to be submitted at Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal).

As we strongly believe in knowledge sharing, “courses” and “workshops” can pop up at any moment among the members of the HAAA. Furthermore, as we work with open access approaches, all the produced material used in these activities is publicly available.


References
Moutsouroufi, K.; Maravelias, G.; Strikis, I. M.; Kardasis, E.; Voutyras, O.; Kountouris, G.; Evangelopoulos, A.; Aggelis, K.; Papadeas, P.; Schmidt, T.; Christou, A. (2019), Evaluating introductory seminars on observational astronomy, using the Europlanet Evaluation Toolkit, EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting 2019, held 15 – 20 September, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland
— Maravelias, Grigoris; Vourliotis, Emmanouel; Marouda, Krinio; Belias, Ioannis; Kardasis, Emmanouel; Papadeas, Pierros; Strikis, Iakovos D.; Vakalopoulos, Eleftherios; Voutyras, Orfefs (2018), A paradigm to develop new contributors to Astronomy, submitted to the proceedings of IAU FM14 “IAU’s role on global astronomy outreach, the latest challenges and bridging different communities” (Vienna, Aug. 23, 2018), [2018arXiv181004562M]
— Kardasis, E.; Vourliotis, E.; Bellias, I.; Maravelias, G.; Vakalopoulos, E.; Papadeas, P.; Marouda, K.; Voutyras, O. (2015), Spreading the passion for scientifically useful planetary observations, European Planetary Science Congress 2015, held 27 September – 2 October, 2015 in Nantes, France, id.EPSC2015-707 [2015EPSC…10..707K]