Astronomy’s Golden Age

astronomyThis project was initiated by the Graduate Astronomy Students of the University of Toronto and was supported by the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto.
The project raised $10,769 that were donated to Red Cross Canada. Part of the money will be used to provide basic necessities for internally displaced people and refugees living in camps outside of Syria.  The other part, will be used to provide social services and support to newly arrived refugees in Canada.

Why the show was developed:
Although we are astronomers we are first citizens and should be involved in social issues of our nation and the world. This planetarium show was developed at the University of Toronto by graduate astronomy students to raise money in aid of Syrian Refugees in 2016, and show people how science, curiosity and a desire to learn unite us all. We raised $10,769 and 900+ members of the public attended the shows in the series Astronomy’s Golden Age: Planetarium Shows in Aid of Syrian Refugees. #UnitedByTheStars.

List of Volunteers:
Initiator & lead: Jielai Zhang, Pegah Salbi
Show development: Heidi White, Mike Williams, Charles Zhu, Alex Rachkov
Promotions: Alysa Obertas, Max Miller-Blancher, Chris Sasaki, Zoe Jaremus
Charity research: Debora Lokhorst, Adiv Paradise
Presenters: Heidi White, Mike Williams, Charles Zhu, Alex Rachkov, Christa Van Laerhoven, Alysa Obertas, Debora Lokhorst, Siqi Liu, Lisa Esteves, Max Miller-Blancher, Jielai Zhang
With thanks to Mike Reid, Amir Abdul Reda, Celia Byrne, Gautam Patel, Liam Connor, Angela Choi

We are doing more:
We will put on some free shows in June/ July 2016 for Syrian refugees that have settled in Toronto. The presenter will give the shows in Arabic. We’d love to make this a bigger event if together with the astronomy community at U of T, other departments can come together and show what U of T is all about to these new Torontonians.

The planetarium show we developed will also be used by Prof. Sera Markoff from the University of Amsterdam and her colleagues in a project to engage the Arabic speaking community in Amsterdam, as well as a refugee center there!