The Fundación Chilena de Astronomía (Chilean Astronomy Foundation) was born in 2018 with a simple objective in mind: to promote science, technology and creativity with the aim of contributing to the development of their country.
“We believe that knowledge should be available to everyone,” says Carolina Muñoz Concha, the Foundation’s Executive Director, “The spread of knowledge can be used to contribute decisively to the construction of a more equitable and prosperous society.”
Chile is one of the best places on Earth from which to study the night sky. Its northern coast in particular boasts hardly any rain, crystal-clear skies and virtually no light pollution. As a result, many other countries such as the United States and those in Europe have chosen to situate their largest observatories here.
The Foundation was born from the idea of the astronomer and National Prize for Exact Sciences 2015 winner, Mario Hamuy. It first participated in Asteroid Day in 2020, after an invitation from the Instituto Astrofísica Milenio. The foundation was quick to recognise the importance of a global day dedicated to every aspect of asteroid education.
“It’s an internationally relevant subject and an excellent way to connect the public with astronomy and science in general, and to talk about asteroids and teach about them,” says Carolina.
Their approach was innovative and perfect for driving engagement while making sure people remain safe from the pandemic. They invited their audience to write and perform songs with specially written lyrics about asteroids. It found a broad audience, with people from ages of 4 to 50 sending in songs, sometimes whole families contributed to the entries. “We like to invite people to imagine, create and learn in a playful way,” says Carolina.
It proved such a success that the Foundation would like to host another music event. Based at the Instituto Astrofísica Milenio, the foundation is a very collaborative place that is always looking for ways to grow their general outreach programme. And by all accounts, their approach is working.
“People are increasingly interested in astronomy,” says Carolina. That’s a message that all of us here at Asteroid Day believe as well.
Click here to read about Fundación Chilena de Astronomía’s 2020 Asteroid Day Music Contest.