★ CoAstro is a festival!

The Learning Planet Festival brings us together in the name of education and those committed to its transformation. In 2024 it had hundreds of onsite and online events in the week surrounding International Day of Education (January 24th).

To the panel – “In what way does citizen science transform education” – the European Citizen Science Academy, invited CoAstro´s Condo Administrator, to speak.

This is one more recognition of the work that CoAstro’s teachers have been doing on a completely voluntary and altruistic basis, since 2018.

★ New Year… good old customs!


The global Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) is a joint partnership between the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF). The mission of the OAD is to further the use of astronomy, in all its aspects, as a tool for development. This development in the sence of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

One of the primary ways the OAD implements its mission is through the Call for Proposals

In 2023, CoAstro submitted its application. As a result, received a Letter of Endorsement, which you can read HERE.

So, from this year on, we can say that CoAstro has the IAU/OAD Endorsement!

This is not only prestigious because of the nature of the IAU/OAD, but also because CoAstro has, in this context, competed with projects from developing countries (and therefore, in this respect, with an advantage in its applications). This is therefore symptomatic of CoAstro’s value in democratising access to science: making science available to those who, not by choice, but through lack of opportunity, don’t have access to it.

Thanks to everyone who enabled CoAstro to reach this level.

★ The CoAstro in the “House of Sciences”

CoAstro was one of the projects selected for the VIII Encontro Internacional da Casa das Ciências [8th International Meeting of the House of Science].

In the panel of July 19th, CoAstro was selected for its scientific/educational nature and as an example of good practice in the curricular and multidisciplinary aproach of science. Indeed, it was considered by the meeting’s Scientific Committee to be a project of great educational interest, approaching the teaching of science from an innovative, multidisciplinary logic of making the curriculum more flexible and in-depth.

CoAstro can be seen in the Book of Proceedings of the Meeting HERE.


★ A CoAstro candidate

In addition to the previous awards/candidatures (with the Centenary Award being the most notable), since the end of 2022 CoAstro has once again been honoured in various ways.

Thus, at the end of 2022 it was a candidate for the Prémio Fundação Engº António de Almeida. In 2023, it was an invited candidate for the European Union Prize for Citizen Science and for the prize Eric and Wendy Schmidt Awards for Excellence in Science Communications. However, CoAstro came closest to an international honour this year when it was once again a finalist for Science Breakthrough of the Year – Science Engagement.

This is a source of even greater pride: in 2023 CoAstro will still be on the crest of the wave, even though it started in 2018!

A greater honour is deserved by all those who, over these five years, have kept astronomy, sown as a seed in CoAstro, alive in their schools.

★ The Centennial CoAstro

“2023 is a special year – the planetarium will be 100 years old. In 1923, a team from the Carl Zeiss company completed the first planetarium based on optical-mechanical light projection in Jena, Germany”.

This Centennial is being marked with a wide set of iniciatives. In one of them, named “Local Projects competition“, CoAstro has been selected.

In CoAstro, the grant will be used to take astronomy to those (not by choice, but by lack of opportunities) who are the furthest away from this science. Thus, we intend to engage school communities in free science communication initiatives: night sky and/or solar telescope observations, thematic hands-on activities, “questions and answers” (Q&A) with astronomers and the core activity – “Go Mobile” planetarium shows.

Teachers will also be involved in professional development actions. It will aim to work on key contents and teaching methodologies in astronomy, but also to present concrete examples of how to use this science, in the syllabus : astronomy as a mean to teach other sciences, languages, humanities, arts…

May the Force be with us!

★ A top CoAstrian

One of CoAstro’s astronomers – Sérgio Sousa – has been confirmed as one of the best… in the world!

Who says so is the latest edition of the rankings Research.com, which annually rank the world’s best and most influential scientists in their respective fields.

As University of Porto says (translation of our own): “among the analysis criteria used to rank researchers are the number of citations and the D-Index (Discipline H-index), a measure that estimates the degree of dependence between authors and their research environment throughout their history of scientific publications. The profile of each scientist also takes into account the number of publications and a list of their awards and achievements”.

A pride, not only for CoAstro, but also a national pride!

★ One best practice: the CoAstro

That CoAstro is a “best practice”, we already knew! However, recently, it has again been confirmed as a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) best practice.

Indedd, it was invited to attend (and to present itself) at the Scientix 2023 National Conference. The Conference took place last March 11th, and was organised by the Direção-Geral de Educação, within the scope of the Scientix project.

Scientix is coordinated by the European Schoolnet: a consortium of 34 Education Ministers, the European Commission, universities and companies.

Scientix’s mission is to improve science education by promoting and supporting STEM collaboration between teachers, researchers, policy makers and other STEM professionals.

CoAstro’s presentation can be seen HERE (aos 6:22:43) and its poster is available HERE.

One of the novelties of this presentation was the establishment of what it will be needed for CoAstro to linger: a future best practice, or a best practice with a future?

★ CoAstro´s in Toulouse

CoAstro was presented, by  one of the portuguese teacheres selected for the Climate Education Summer University 2022 (CESU).

This happened because of CoAstro’s close relationship with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Indeed, CoAstro reduces territorial inequalities (SDG 10), because it targets students and teachers of Portuguese regions, with lower spontaneous engagement with science. This also ensures inclusive and equitable quality education, leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes (SDG 4.1.) and including people with disabilities and children in vulnerable situations (SDG 4.5). CoAstroCoAstro ensures public access to information (SDG 16.10).

This summer school has selected 30 European teachers, preparing them to address the topic of climate change and climate modeling. It is part of the project Earth system models for the future 2025 (ESM2025), unded by the European Union under the program Horizon 2020.

CESU took place from July 18 to 22 at Météo-France (the French Metereology Institute), in the city of Toulouse.

★ CoAstro in Shaw (not show)

CoAstro was one of the projects selected to be presented at the 4th Shaw-IAU Workshop on Astronomy for Education.

This is the most important meeting promoted by the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education: the International Astronomical Union’s office dedicated to astronomy for primary and secondary education.

CoAstro was integrated in the parallel session “Astronomy education research on the role of astronomy in schools”. Due to the global scale of the event, the session was held twice, in order to cover several time zones.

The presented work can be read at the workshop’s Proceddings book (pages 64-67).