Unam continues to grow and strengthen the country’s education sector

Unam collaborates with University of Oxford for astronomy online course

26 October 2021 | Education

Desiree Gases

Astro-tourism is a night-time activity that complements traditional tourist activities. Fixed or mobile observatories that can be set up with good quality telescopes. Astro-tour guides can be trained locally and monthly night sky updates can be provided to highlight local delights. Astro-tourism is increasingly becoming the next frontier of nature-based tourism, however, with light pollution on the rise, finding dark and starry skies is slowly becoming a great challenge, a subject area the Universities of Namibia and Oxford online course focuses on.

Astro-tourism will allow the Unam group to become globally competitive in the field of very-high-energy (VHE) astrophysics. The astro-tourism course at Unam, titled ‘Introduction to Astronomy and Astro-tourism’ took place between 24 August and 21 September 2021. The e-learning provided several hundred participants with relevant and theoretical information on astro-tourism in the context of Southern Africa, mainly for local guides to implement and to educate the general public.

John Haufiku, the acting director of Unam, said: “We see the importance in astro-tourism being a low-cost means to increase tourism experience and, hence, revenue; even at grassroots level. The pristine night skies of Namibia are still an underutilised natural resource.”

The development aspects of the project arise from the capacity-building that will follow from growing the size and capabilities of the physics department at Unam, as desired by the Namibian authorities, along with specific targeted activities by the postdocs that will guarantee short-term impact, in high-school education and tourism.

This project was led by Prof. Garret Cotter (University of Oxford), Prof. Michael Backes, and Dr Eli Kasai (both University of Namibia), and the course was facilitated by Dr Hannah Dalgleish (University of Namibia and University of Oxford) and Dr Meghan Hughes (University of Oxford). The project was funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund and Exeter College, Oxford in the UK and supported by the International Astronomical Union Office of Astronomy for Development (IAU-OAD) and the Namibia Scientific Society.

Astro-tourism summarises activities like stargazing, sharing indigenous star lore, visiting observatories and other astronomy-related sites, and doing astrophotography.

The online course covered the topics of:

Introduction to astronomy;

Astronomy facilities and research in Southern Africa;

Astronomy and astro-tourism for development;

Stargazing and indigenous astronomy; and

Light pollution and dark sky conservation.

The course received 864 registrations, including 295 from Namibia and 77 from South Africa. The majority of registrations came from a tourism (35%) or astronomy (28%) background. People residing in Namibia and South Africa retained a high participation throughout.

To obtain a certificate for their attendance, the participants had to complete some homework assignments and 231 participants were awarded certificates.

“Overall, the course reached the desired audience and was thoroughly enjoyed by many,” said Dr Backes, senior lecturer in the Department of Physics, Chemistry, and Material Science.

Similar News

 

N$2.5m Unam lab to speed up research

13 hours ago | Education

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKA laboratory established at the University of Namibia (Unam) will assist the environment ministry to develop comprehensive baseline maps and provide faster feedback and...

Nust marine engineering students seek over N$3 million

1 day - 30 November 2021 | Education

Enzo AmueleA group of 16 students in a marine engineering degree programme at the University of Science and Technology (NUST) in partnership with a Finnish...

Investing for the greater good

1 day - 30 November 2021 | Education

Monique AdamsThe Maltas Club Namibia celebrated its 10th anniversary on 11 March this year. The core mandate of the Maltas Club is premier student learning...

Covid-19 pandemic reforms education

1 day - 30 November 2021 | Education

Iréne-Mari van der WaltAmidst the looming uncertainty of the new semester calendar ushered in by the ministry of education, arts and culture, executive director Sanet...

Controversial university reaches out to rural residents

1 day - 30 November 2021 | Education

Iréne-Mari van der Walt The Limkokwing University Namibia campus has been the centre of controversy of late, as rumours spread about its accreditation by...

Launching of the San Youth Scholarship Training Programme

1 day - 30 November 2021 | Education

Desiree Gases The San Youth Scholarship Training Programme was launched on 19 November 2021 at Cosdec (Community Skills Development Centres) at Tsumeb in the...

NSFAF worse off if Nghiwete returns

2 days ago - 29 November 2021 | Education

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKThe Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund’s legal secretary, Fillemon Immanuel, says it would be worse off if its CEO Hiliya Nghiwete were to return...

Dolphin schools continue to make waves

1 week ago - 23 November 2021 | Education

Leandrea Louw The Dolphin schools in Walvis Bay have been a beehive of activity over the past month and currently boast with numerous achievements....

The passion for making a difference

1 week ago - 23 November 2021 | Education

Celestine Simonea Isaacks, PK De Villiers Secondary SchoolAfrikaans first and second language – grade 11Afrikaans second language grade 12 (AS level)When and why did you...

Radiography students’ outreach brings breast cancer awareness

1 week ago - 23 November 2021 | Education

Every year, students from the School of Allied Health organise awareness activities to educate the public about breast cancer. A practice group of radiography students...

Latest News

The recovery of the rental...

13 hours ago | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUAlthough rental markets across most advanced economies are on a path of recovery due to the resumption of “normal life”, improved pace of Covid-19...

Van Wyk reports ACC to...

13 hours ago | Justice

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKFishrot lackey Nigel van Wyk, in a report to the Office of...

Defence grilled over unapproved weapons...

13 hours ago | Ministries

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKThe defence ministry has bought, without Treasury approval, weapons worth N$5 million from its own ammunition manufacturing company, Ndilimani...

Govt, unions in stalemate over...

13 hours ago | Labour

ESTER KAMATI WINDHOEKCivil servants will have to face another year without a salary increase as discussions, which took place on Monday, between...

SA's Covid-19 cases could triple...

13 hours ago | Economics

ALEXANDER WINNING AND WENDELL ROELFSouth Africa's daily Covid-19 infection rate could triple to more than 10 000 by the end of this week as the...

Global jet fuel demand under...

13 hours ago | Economics

Global jet fuel markets stayed under pressure on Tuesday as more countries expanded border restrictions to keep the new Omicron coronavirus variant at bay, prompting...

EDITORIAL: Pohamba is embossing himself

13 hours ago | Opinion

Former President Hifikepunye Pohamba has been in the news this week for unsavoury reasons.In strict law terms, Pohamba has every right to kick pensioner Amanda...

Omicron raises new fears for...

13 hours ago | Economics

Delphine Touitou - Just as it was recovering from the body blow of the Covid-19 pandemic, the global economy has taken yet another hit from...

Expats in Namibia: Tax considerations

13 hours ago | Business

Johan Nel - Namibia has a source-based tax system. Income that has accrued, or deemed to have accrued, from sources within Namibia will form part...

Load More