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ORION Astro Lab three-day workshop

Project aim & description
ORION Astro Lab is a three-day workshop organized and led by the IAU Office for
Astronomy Outreach – NOC Madagascar to guide and equip amateurs & Astronomy lovers
who wish to set up an Astronomy Club in Madagascar (and in french-speaking African

There are only two active volunteer-led associations (MASS and Haikintana) that promote
astronomy in Madagascar, an SKA/AVN partner country with a population of about 22
millions people. Most of the activities are also based/run in the capital city of Antananarivo
which should be extended if one wants to become inclusive and reach out to the larger

Proposed dates: 30 & 31 March and 01 April 2022
Place: Antananarivo Madagascar

Who should attend?
Amateur and astronomy enthusiasts eager to launch an astronomy club and committed to
undertake regular training to ensure the sustainability of the new club.
Attendees are limited to 25 amateurs from Antananarivo to facilitate organisation and
exchange between participants. However, should there be enough funding and local
organizers to run the event, the number can be increased but not beyond 40. Given that the
workshop will be delivered mostly in French, online participation from other french-speaking
African countries is also envisaged (TBD).

Topics to be covered
– Getting started in amateur astronomy
● Astronomy vs. Astrology
● Naked Eye Astronomy in the Southern Hemisphere
● Navigating through our Solar System
● Conducting a stargazing 101
– The Astronomy landscape in Africa & Madagascar
● The status of Astronomy in the Red Island (past, present, future)
● IAU OAO – NOC Madagascar mandates & activities
● MASS, Haikintana, IOGA goals & activities
● Malagasy Astronomy vocabularies
– Soft skills required to run a successful club
● Project management
● Communication
● Leadership
● Fundraising

Proposed Hands-on Astronomy activities
– Making my own Planisphere/Star Wheel
– Making my own Pinhole projection
– How to navigate Stellarium
– Astrophotography
– Malagasy Astronomy & Space Science (MASS), the IAU Adhering organization of
– Haikintana – Astronomy, an amateur astronomy association
– Institute and Observatory of Geophysics in Antananarivo Madagascar (TBC)
– African Astronomical Society (via their Outreach Committee – TBC)
– IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach (TBC)
Organizing Team (TBC)
– Dr. Zara Randriamanakoto, IAU OAO NOC M/car & MASS Founding President
– Mr Andoniaina Rajaonarivelo, President of Haikintana – Astronomy
– Ms Mializo Razanakoto, Founder of Haikintana – Astronomy
– Mr Ny Ando Ralitera, MASS Local Coordinator & Chair Student Members
– Mr Notahiana Ranaivoarimina, MASS Outreach Officer
– Ms Onja Randriamanakoto, Volunteer at IAU OAO NOC Madagascar
Potential trainers and guest speakers
– Most of the organizing team
– Prof. Charles Ratsifaritana, Professional amateur astronomer
– Dr Fidy Ramamonjisoa, Observational Cosmologist & Stargazer Expert
– Dr Solohery Randriamampandry, Astronomer & IAU NAEC Madagascar
– AfAS Outreach Committee Members
– IAU OAO Staff members

Estimated Timeline
Nov 2021 – mid-Dec 2021:
– Appoint organizing committee
– Approve concept note
– Secure/Apply for funding
mid-Dec 2021 – mid-Jan 2022:
– Identify & contact potential workshop trainers
– Design & Develop workshop materials
– Online Pre-advertisement of the workshop
mid-Jan – mid-Feb 2022:
– Call for participation
– Book venue & caterings
– Confirm workshop trainers
– Finalize Workshop schedule & finalize workshop materials
mid-Feb – mid-Mar 2022:
– Call for participation closes & List of participants published
– Call for volunteers to help run the workshop (if necessary)
– Purchase of materials & print out
mid-Mar – 29 Mar 2022:
– Reminder/Confirm participants
– Confirm catering & any other service providers
– Final briefing
30 & 31 Mar, 01 Apr 2022: ORION Astro Lab Workshop
mid-April 2022: Internal evaluation
end of May 2022: Report submission to funders

Tentative Program
08:30 Registration
09:00 Opening remarks, welcome & keynote address
09:30 Ice-breaking & Vision Storyboard Exercise
10:30 Tea break
10:45 Tip #1 – Talk/Sharing session: Setting the scene
11:30 Hands-on session #1
12:30 Lunch
13:30 Tip #2 – Soft skills session
14:30 Hands-on session #2
15:30 Tea break

15:45 Group Activity*
16:30 End of Day 1

08:00 Summary Day 1
08:15 Tip #3 – Talk/Sharing Session
09:00 Hands-on session #3
10:00 Tea break
10:15 Tip #4 – Talk/Sharing Session
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Tip #5 – Soft Skills session
14:00 Group activity
15:00 Tea break
15:15 Group Activity
16:30 End of Day 2

DAY 3 – GO!
08:00 Summary Day 2
08:15 Tip #6 – Soft skills Session
09:00 Hands-on activity #4
10:00 Tea break
10:15 Tip #7 – Sharing Session : How to become a stargazer expert
11:00 Group activity
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Group activity – wrapping up
13:30 Group presentation

14:30 Evaluation & Way Forward
15:30 Awards of certificates & Closing Speech
16:00 Driving to the stargazing site** + Snack time
19:00 Stargazing & Astrophotography session
21:00 End of Day 3***
* The group activity is aimed at helping participants co-create and develop key strategies to build and
successfully launch their astronomy club by answering questions such as: who are my targets? How will I reach
out to them? Which activities will I offer and how often?
** Subject to the weather conditions. If the weather is bad then this event can be moved to Day 2 or any day
within two weeks after the workshop ends.
*** Transport to/from the stargazing site organized in advance to ensure the safety of each participant on their
way back home.

Estimated budget
The proposed budget of R 25,000 is a breakdown of the estimated expenses for 30
attendees (25 participants + 5 trainers & in-person organizers) for a three-day workshop:
Description Quantity Unit Price Cost
Venue – 3 days 1 R 1,000 R 3,000
Catering – 3 days (Lunch + 2 tea breaks) 30 R 130 R 11,700
Workshop kits & materials 30 R 200 R,6000
Transport to/from stargazing site – 1 night 30 R 100 R 3,000
Sub-Total R 23,700
Contingencies (7%, e.g. inflation, transfer funds) R 1,300
Total R 25,000
NB: The current budget assumes that the participants are all based in Antananarivo (and hence no
need to cover their accommodation and daily transport) and any workshop organizer and/or trainer
wishing to attend the in-person workshop will cover their own return flight ticket to Antananarivo
(subject to Covid-19 restrictions).

Potential Funders/Sponsors
– African Astronomical Society
– IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach (via their funding scheme)


Mar 30 2022 - Apr 01 2022


All Day


Antananarivo Madagascar
Antananarivo Madagascar

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