The Visitor Centers of IAASARS

The Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing is very active in a variety of public outreach activities. Members of the Institute, using mainly the Visitor Centers of IAASARS located in Penteli and Thissio, regularly organize a wide range of activities informing the general public, as well as the media, about topics of their scientific expertise focusing in particular in the areas of Astronomy and Space Physics.

Up to date information regarding the activities of the Visitor Centers, as well as various astronomy news, are also provided (in greek) via our Facebook page.

Visitor Center in Penteli

The Visitor Center in Penteli has been operating since 1995. Its purpose is science education and public outreach aiming in particular at middle school and high-school students. This is accomplished through special morning seminars, talks, as well as observations of the night sky with the historic 62.5cm Newall refractor. The Center also produces educational movies on various astronomy related topics, which are presented to our visitors during the tours. In addition to being accessible to organized groups during the regular morning hours, the Visitor Center is open to the general public five times a month , on the average, during the evenings. The evening tours consist of oral and video presentations, followed by a tour of the Newall telescope and observations of the night sky, weather permitting.

The Visitor Center is located in the original building of the Newall refractor at the Penteli Astronomical Station, at an altitude of 500m about 18 km from the center of Athens. The facilities of the Center have been fully restored in the summer of 2013.

More information is available in the dedicated webpage of the Penteli Visitor Center.

Visitor Center in Thissio

The Visitor Center in Thissio is housed in the Sina building, which was constructed in 1842, and is located on the historic grounds of the National Observatory of Athens at the top of the hill of the Nymphs. The site is situated across from the Parthenon and just to the north of the hill of Pnyx where Meton built his Heliotrope in the 5th century BC and performed the first astronomical observations of the classical Greek period.

The goal of the Center is twofold: to inform the general public about a wide number of Astronomy related topics and at the same time to present the nearly two century long history of Greek Astronomy and NOA, a history which has been shaped by the major transitional periods in the evolution of the modern Greek state.

The visitors of the Center will have the opportunity to explore the Geoastrophysics Museum and the library of the Observatory, which contains many historic books and documents. They can also explore the first optical telescopes of Greece, including the Doridis 40cm refractor and the 16cm Syggros meridian telescope, as well as a variety of scientific instruments from the 20th and 19th century.

More information is available in the dedicated webpage of the Thissio Visitor Center.

The Observatory goes to School...

In 2014, as part of its public outreach activities, the Institute has commenced an initiative giving the opportunity to elementary schools of the Athens metro area to provide basic information about Astronomy, our Solar System and the Universe to their students. Specialized scientists of IAASARS use a portable, inflatable planetarium to teach the students about the wonders of the night sky.

The portable planetarium is a unique, engaging and pleasant educational tool. Students of ages 5 to 12 are introduced to Astronomy, its influence on our mythology and culture, as well as the formulation of scientific ideas and our understanding about our place in the Universe. The night sky is projected on the dome of the planetarium while our scientist explains the motions of the Earth, the planets, the stars and our familiar constellations.

More information about this activity is available, in Greek, here.

Public Outreach Group

The Public Outreach Group of the Institute supporting all activities organized at the Visitor Centers, as well as other locations and events, consists of the following personnel:

Senior: Dr. V. Kolokotronis, Dr. A-F. Metallinou, A. Milonas, D. Tsimpidas, D. Tsioutsia, and T. Varsos.

Junior: A number of graduate and undergraduate astronomy students from the University of Athens, some of which are shown in the picture on the right, who are interested to share their excitement about astronomy and space physics with our visitors, have been trained on various aspects of our activities and support as interns the Visitor Centers. For the 2017-18 academic year these are: Stella Boula, Panagiotis Evangelopoulos, Georgia Loukaidou, Michalis Papachristou, and Achilles Strantzalis.


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National Observatory of Athens
Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications & Remote Sensing
Vas. Pavlou & I. Metaxa, 15236 Penteli, Greece