Sidewalk Astronomy in Ngliman, Indonesia

By on April 10, 2013 in

Hi, I’m Avivah from Indonesia. I live in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. This is “officially my first story in Cosmoquest blog”. It’s a story about my trip to East Java ( I live in West Java).

My trip started from Bandung (A), West Java to Ngliman (B) in East Java. Credit: Google map

My trip started from Bandung (A), West Java to Ngliman (B) in East Java. Credit: Google map

Last week I had a trip to a district named Ngliman in Sawahan, Nganjuk, in East Java to visit my close friend’s grandmother. The district is in rural area. Three days away from the city felt really great. Another friend of us, Ronny Syamara, an amateur astronomer from Jakarta, joined the trip to Ngliman. We went to Ngliman from Bandung and Jakarta by train and continue the trip by minibus when we arrived in Nganjuk, the nearby city.

We stayed in Endang’s grandma’s house and just right in front of the house, stood an Elementary School. It was a cloudy day when we arrived there, but when the sun gradually showed it face, we used our sun glasses to observe it.

This certainly attracted many students in the school. So we decided to set up the portable telescope we brought from Bandung which had been intended to support us holding a sidewalk astronomy and sun observation with the children.

They were very excited to learn about the space. That night, these children visited us at Endang’s grandma’s house and asked for another astronomy session. Unfortunately the sky was not so friendly at that time, covered by clouds. Thus, we showed them Stellarium, SolarWalk with several other short movies instead while also explaining the very basic astronomy concepts to them.

The children were enthusiast to learn astronomy and kept asking many things, especially about solar system, life in outer space and the fate of the Sun. Session ended after their parents came to pick up their children.

In the next morning, the children surprised us again before we left. They asked for another “astronomy story and astronomy application for their PC”.  We promised them to come back there with more books and better preparation during the next dry season so that we can have another night observation with them. In fact, we will arrange another astronomy session in Ngliman district by next dry seasons most probably during the school holiday season.

We will be back to do more public outreach with the school in Ngliman and nearby because in Indonesia, the education is uneven between big city and small city. Not to mention schools in villages.  What we saw in Ngliman, children were enthusiast to learn more about science but the school can’t provide books and other supporting facilities. Not just that, teachers knowledge are also uneven between those in big cities and small cities.  So we hope in our next visit we can share more and provide more hands on tools to the students and schools.

Here are some pictures from our astronomy sessions during my trip to Ngliman last week. Please enjoy the slideshow.

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About Avivah Yamani

Astronomy communicator and Project Director of 365 Days Of Astronomy.

Visit Avivah Yamani's Website

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