Faced with governmental funding cuts to science education and research, we have decided to go old school with a twist: On June 15-16, we are hosting a telethon using Google Hangout on Air – a Hangout-a-thon – to raise money to support public engagement in science.
The Hangout-a-thon will start on June 15 at noon Eastern (GMT – 5). Over the weekend, we will host numerous guests, ranging from scientists who will do science demos, creatives who can unite science and art/music, and researchers who will discuss citizen science and address science education from the perspective of research and metrics. Each segment will be released after the event as a stand-alone YouTube video on the AstrosphereVids channel, thus creating a library of content while raising money for future programs.
This event will be hosted by Drs. Pamela Gay and Nicole Gugliucci. Confirmed guests include (incomplete list):
The CosmoQuest virtual research facility was conceived by Dr. Pamela L. Gay (SIUE / Astrosphere New Media) and Fraser Cain (publisher of Universe Today) as a place where everyday people can participate in modern research while enjoying the same facilities (in virtual form) that professional researchers have at top universities. Launched in January 2013 under the technological leadership of Cory Lehan (SIUE), this facility supports online citizen science programs, weekly seminars, virtual star parties, and educational programs for both kids and adults. According to Alexa.com, CosmoQuest.org is the most trafficked astronomy related citizen science site on the internet.
Planning for this Hangout-a-thon was triggered by the cuts created by sequestration, and by the current White House plans to transition education out of NASA. If the President’s current budget is passed, all the funding programs CosmoQuest relies on for will be zeroed (see this “Death List” on NASA Watch) and the project will be defunded. Rather than accept that fate, CosmoQuest is working to raise the funds needed to keep our programs going, to build new citizen science programs for researchers that don’t otherwise have the means to accomplish their projects, and to contract, as we are able, extraordinary people laid off by these cuts at other institutions to keep doing great things through CosmoQuest. (Links to essays on these cuts are listed below).
CosmoQuest wants to make sure astronomy education survives and remains strong. While one team, and one telethon can’t fix everything, we hope this event can raise awareness, while protecting one small corner of astronomy research and education.
You don’t have to wait until June 15-16 to start giving! Make your donation (tax deductible in the US where laws allow) through PayPal today!