This is a fine place
Shining face to face
Those bonfire lights in the mirrored sky
The space between wonder and why
Ahh yes to yes to ahh ahh to yes
Why the Sun?… why the Sun?
Rush – Between Sun & Moon (Counterparts – 1993)
Why the Sun? that question is not simply a lyric from the musician (Rush). The similar question also asked by a reporter during our Dawn of IYA activities in Indonesia on 1st of January 2009.
What is Dawn of IYA 2009?
Dawn of the IYA2009 is a global, Sun observation campaign, proposed by Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto (CAUP) and the IYA2009’s Solar Physics Group (SPG), which seeks not only to be the global teaser for the IYA2009 (a first calling card), but also to show to a larger, global public, what our star is all about. See this site for the detail.
So here we are, some of astronomy goers from the country join forces, hand in hand did the activities. Since the activities aimed for the large community, so this project were organized by the communities themself. There were two activities in two large cities, in Jakarta (the capitol) was organized by HAAJ (Amateur Astronomy Community of Jakarta), Planetarium Jakarta, together with Fosca (Teenage Science Community) and Sirius (astronomy club from Senior High School (SMAN) 89). There was good news and bad news from Jakarta. The heavy cloud covered the sky so there was no observation in Jakarta, but there was a good news, at the same time the SMAN 38 also declared their club of astronomy, baptized as Polaris. Good to hear that the astronomy start to flourish in Indonesia.
And the other activity organized in Bandung, organized by langit selatan, the media, communicator & community of astronomy. Together with other astronomy goers they catered the curiousity of the sky on sidewalk activities in Cihampelas Walk, a big mall in the center of Bandung. Lucky that the sky gave us a glimpse of the sun, regardless there were cloud hanging over, so there were time we have chances to observed the Sun with the public. Not just observing, because there were also many others astronomy goers also involved in the activities, so there were numerous activities provided, like the learning of telescopes using galileoscope (short for ‘You are Galileo‘ telescope, which started in Japan, see this site for further information), teaching to use the sun-dial for children, discussion with teachers about basic astronomy, introduction on the upcoming eclipse (there will be annular solar eclipse in Indonesia on January 26th, 2009), and so on.
The langit selatan also involved the GHOU (Global Hands on Universe), so they provided the galileoscope. There were also professional from professional astronomy institution (Dept. of Astronomy & National Space institute), which can tell the Sun in a ‘serious’ way. Because of some of us also involved in Unawe (Universe Awareness for Young Children), so i could say that Unawe Indonesia also involved to share the joy & fun about the sky to the children & building awareness for young generations. The teachers, undergraduate students, graduate students, and families also involved on the activities, which gave a broad spectrum of activities, like sharing knowledge to another teachers, or simply just plan for another family gathering for observations in the future occation. Surely there were helluva fun activites.
We did not have a plan to make this activity as a ‘major event’, so we never promote this event to the larger community, we just came, observe and that’s all. But our activities became the attention to the media, so it was a surprised when we were reported to a local media, (from detiknews). So it seems astronomy has become the attention on the general public, as we perceived from our activities. Not just because the public attracted to observe, but the opportunity to share the knowledge with the public, the teachers, the families, younger generations, maybe that would be enough to pave way for the astronomy in Indonesia in the future. Time will tell. Nonetheless, why we did the activities? Because of the IYA 2009? In the major agenda of IYA 2009, like ‘Dawn of IYA 2009’, yes we are, but most of all, we just enjoy did this. We might don’t have sopisthicated equipment to observe, so sorry that we cannot contribute the picture of our shiny Sun. All we can share is the happiness to peek at the Sun during our activities.
All in all, like the question of ‘why the Sun?’, simply, because it is fun, and as the Sun already shines for eternity, as the Sun is the closest star for us, yet the Sun still keep lot of mistery and we still have little understanding about our star. Let’s unravel the mistery of our nature!