IAU Symposium 339 is delighted to offer a public talk at the Wallenberg Centre (10 Marias Street, Stellenbosch) on Monday 13 November at 19:00.
Dr Stella Kafka, Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) will present a public talk on Citizen Astronomy in the era of large surveys.
For centuries, citizen astronomers have been making important discoveries and significant contributions to science. With the outburst of all-sky surveys and the availability of appropriate software, professional astronomers depend on the public to analyse, sort and understand large quantities of existing data, or to acquire new data sets leading to noteworthy discoveries. Nowadays our philosophy, our view of the role of the public in time-domain science has changed. From crowdsourcing to data acquisition, citizens are now leaving a notable mark in the science landscape, also assisting professional astronomers with data analysis and publications. In turn, scientific projects and opportunities of active engagement are used to increase science literacy and public understanding of science. Dr Kafka will give a short overview on how astronomy has benefited from citizen contributions in various projects. She will also discuss how now, more than ever, citizen involvement in projects is needed to advance our knowledge and understanding of variable objects, and she will present ways citizen astronomers can significantly participate in new collaborations, complementing data acquired from facilities such as MeerKAT and SALT, for cutting-edge science.