Recap of important activities in the last half of 2019: ASGARD near space experiments

The Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) Nigeria with the support of the Nigerian Army, from the 10th -14th June, 2019 embarked on a trip to Brussels, Belgium with a team from the NAOWA College, Abuja for a first of its kind Space Experiment organized by the ASGARD IX program.

The experiment, which involved flying some selected Nigerian Vegetable seeds to the edge of Space through a Stratospheric Balloon in an attempt to determine the effects of the near space conditions on the seeds.

The NAOWA College team, which comprised the School Principal, a Science teacher and 5 Science students together with the Project facilitators from AWB, participated in a number of other educational activities aside the Stratospheric Balloon Experiment during their stay in Brussels, Belgium.

The AWB-Asgard Team

The team had a guided tour of MIRA Observatory, where they received a lecture from Phillipe Mollet, a MIRA Observatory Astronomer. The students also participated in a number of hands-on activities. The Observatory tour afforded the students the opportunity to see and use different kinds of Telescopes and other astronomical equipment.

The team also visited the Belgium National Museum, where they had a guided tour of the different sections of the museum, the museum visit was particularly educative as it afforded the students the opportunity of understanding the history behind some of the science-based discoveries.

The team was at the Belgium Royal Observatory, where the NAOWA College students had the opportunity of meeting with the first Belgian Astronaut, Dirk Frimout. The students made a presentation of their experiment to the astronaut and his team. There were also lectures by Astronaut Dirk Frimout and Prof. Katrien Kolenberg, a lecturer and foremost Astrophysicist from the Antwerpen University, Belgium.

The school experiment was flown to the edge of Space on a Stratospheric Balloon by the Royal Metrological Institute at their Uccle launch site.  This was the highpoint of the visit as the excited students and the team watched with amazement as balloon disappeared into the clouds bearing the school experiment.

The team also had the opportunity of visiting the Brussels Planetarium, where they received a lecture on Astronomy Education by a staff of the Planetarium. They were also taken on a guided tour of the Planetarium.

The NAOWA College students during this visit, had the opportunity of visiting the Sint-Pieterscollege, Brussels on a guided tour of the school and a visit to the science laboratories, where the students had the opportunity of having a hands-on Space experiment in the Physics laboratory with the award-winning Physics teacher and ASGARD Project Manager, Erik de Schrijver.

The experiment was returned home to be completed on the NAOWA College school farm. The AWB team will also carry out a post flight seminar that would enable the students to plant, observe and analyze the results of the effect of near space weather on the selected Nigerian food crop seeds flown to the edge of Space.

The NAOWA College team is expected to return to Brussels, April 2020 to present the results of their experiment and share their experience with other students from around the world at the next year’s ASGARD programme.

Each participating member of the team was awarded a certificate of participation jointly by the Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) Nigeria, MIRA Public Observatory, Brussels, Sterren Schitteren Voor Iedereen (SSVI), Brussels.

The Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) Nigeria, on behalf of the Team Nigeria, would like to express their profound gratitude to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the President, Nigeria Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA) for making the dream of these bright Nigerian students come to pass and for affording them the opportunity of being worthy Ambassadors of our dear country.

 

 

 

2019 Girls Astronomy Camp Nassarawa

In the month of June, AWBNigeria organized a girls’ astronomy camp in Lumen Christi Basic Science School in Nassarawa state. The participants were selected from girls schools around Nassarawa state.

AWBNigeria continues to push STEM encouragement for girls and that drive was no different in this camp. The National Coordinator of AWBNigeria, Mrs. Olayinka Fagbemiro, gave an introductory speech to the participants highlighting AWB’s activities and the benefits of STEM Education. Engr. Yewande Adeyeye followed up with a presentation on the roles that women play in STEM and Space science.

The participants were then engaged with a flurry of science activities like building a model of the solar system, coupling galileoscopes, building satellite models, learning how to use rotors and motors and others.

There was also a science quiz competition that engaged 2 participants from each school. The winners received prices and other participants received certificates.

Unveiling the 5 Telescopes donated by Astronomers Without Borders at Air force Girls Comprehensive School

In the evening of May 16, 2018, the AWBNigeria team went to Air force Girls Comprehensive School, Airport road to unveil the 5 Telescopes donated to the team by Astronomers Without Borders. All the students of the school were in attendance and they were excited for the opportunity to take a look at the stars. This school participated in the recently concluded Girls Astronomers Camp at Obasanjo Space Center. One of their students, Kabir Ummulkhair Hassan, won the Astronomers Quiz prize.

The students were very organized as they waited for nightfall to take a look at the stars. As they waited, the National Coordinator of AWBNigeria, Mrs. Olayinka Fagbemiro and other AWBNigeria Team members delivered Pep Talk about AWB, Astronomy, and our activities.

On our horizon was Venus, Jupiter, Sirius and Acturus. We battled with Cloud cover as it is currently Rainy season in Nigeria. Nevertheless, the students had the opportunity to take a look at the stars.

We at AWBNigeria are very grateful to Astronomers Without Borders and all the donors for making this possible. We remain committed to spreading Astronomy throughout Nigeria and demystifying the subject of Astronomy and Space Science. Thanks and God bless!

 

Space Up Nigeria Event

Coming up April 28th, 2018 at University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria, SpaceUp Nigeria is a one-day space unconference about the space sector, where participants decide the topics, schedule, and structure of the event. Everyone who attends SpaceUp is encouraged to give a talk, moderate a panel, or start a discussion. Sessions are proposed and scheduled on the day they’re given, which means the usual hallway conversations turn into full-fledged topics.

At SpaceUp, you will meet fellow space enthusiasts and hear from expert panelists

As in any SpaceUp event, you are also encouraged to give a presentation! We welcome the views and opinions from all participants. It’s not as scary as it might sound. Sessions at SpaceUp are conversations, just like every conversation you’ve had (or wanted to have) at any other conference. The only difference is that the sessions are planned on the spot, which means we’re sure to be talking about topics we find interesting.

Sign up here

INAF interviews the National Coordinator AWB Nigeria

The National Institute for Astrophysics, Italy interviewed our ebullient National Coordinator, Mrs. Olayinka Fagbemiro. The interview centered on the level of awareness of Astronomy in Nigeria with particular reference to Rural communities and the myths peddled on the subject matter. In the interview, she also spoke about the activities of Astronomers Without Borders Nigeria and what we aim to achieve. You can bring STEM Education to young girls in Nigeria. Astronomers Without Borders seeks your support for our BIG (Big Impact Giving) micro-crowdfunding campaign to raise $577 to provide 5 Telescopes for an Astronomy camp specifically for girls. https://www.classy.org/campaign/astronomy-girls-camp-nigeria/c176551

Unveiling the Telescope donated by Vixen Co., Ltd Japan

The team was delighted to unveil and test the Telescope donated to AWB Nigeria by Vixen Co., Ltd Japan on Wednesday April 4, 2018. Vixen Co., Ltd has manufactured the most respected line of Telescopes and mounts in Japan since 1949, where it is the number one selling brand. Vixen’s philosophy is to bring happiness to the users of Vixen’s products and they definitely brought happiness to the AWB team and all the students that will have the opportunity to use the Telescope in the near future.

The team was fixated on the user manual and fixed the Telescope in no time. The Telescope will be a great asset for the team and also a driver for the goals of the team. The Team is committed to helping others develop a passion for Astronomy and Space Science and this Telescope will be an invaluable tool for our outreaches and programs.

We want to use this post to thank Vixen Co., Ltd for this gift. We thank them for their commitment to helping others develop a passion for the wonders of the night Sky and the joys of Terrestrial observation. This gift has the potential to have a domino effect of their drive, goals and commitment for Astronomy in Nigeria. Thank you Vixen Co., Ltd.

Space Education: Banky’s Private School

Pupils of Banky’s Private School Apo visited the campus of National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA) on Wednesday 28 March, 2018. Engr. Bashir Yusuf and Engr. Adams Maikarfi were in charge of the lecture sessions. The pupils had the opportunity to understand the basics of Space Science and Astronomy. They received lectures on the planets of the solar system, Gravity, Weightlessness and conditions in Space, The International Space Station, Satellites and so many more.

Banky’s Private school pupils
Engr. Bashir with the pupils
Engr. Bashir with the pupils
Banky’s Private school pupils

Blooms Academy’s visit to NASRDA HQ

Blooms Academy, Sun City, Abuja paid a visit to the National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA) Headquarters on Monday, March 26, 2018. They came to learn about the agency’s activities, astronomy, Space Science & Technology and they came with a lot of enthusiasm and intelligent questions.

Engr. Henry Ogu took the introductory session and the first lecture session. The lecture session aimed at teaching the students about the conditions in Outer Space, Gravity, Weightlessness, Satellites and Astronomy. They also learnt about the satellites that NASRDA has launched, their functions/capabilities and their major parts. A question and answer session ended the lecture. The students asked highly technical and intelligent questions and they showed great interest in Astronomy. They were encouraged to follow up on STEM related courses.

The Director of Engineering & Space Systems, Dr. Agboola and Engr. Bashir Yusuf took the last session. They lectured the students on Rockets, Nigeria Sat-1 (Earth Observatory Satellite) and entertained their questions.

The School was invited for the Young Astronomers camp coming up next month in the NASRDA HQ.

Engr. Henry taking the first lecture session
Engr. Henry taking the first lecture session
Engr. Henry taking the first lecture session
Engr. Henry taking the first lecture session
Engr. Henry taking the first lecture session
Engr. Henry taking the first lecture session
Engr. Henry taking the first lecture session
Engr. Henry taking the first lecture session
Engr. Henry taking the first lecture session
Engr. Bashir taking the second lecture session
Engr. Bashir taking the second lecture session
Engr. Bashir taking the second lecture session
Second lecture session
Dr. Agboola and Head Teacher Mr. Onah
Dr. Agboola and Head Teacher Mr. Onah
Dr. Agboola & Engr. Bashir giving their lecture
Group Photograph with the students from Blooms Academy
Group Photograph with the students from Blooms Academy

St. Virgo & Lumen Christi Academy visit to NASRDA HQ.

St. Virgo & Lumen Christi Science Academy from Mararaba, a conurbation town on the outskirts of the Federal Capital Territory, visited the Headquarters of the National Space Research & Development Agency on March 2, 2018. Both institutions have primary school pupils and secondary school students that were represented at the excursion. They took a tour of the NASRDA campus and had a presentation delivered to them on Space Science & technology and NASRDA’s exploits as a major driver of Space Science & Technology in Africa. They had the opportunity to see the models of Nigeria Sat-1 and NigComSat-1 satellites that were launched by NASRDA in 2003 and 2007 respectively. They received explanations on Rocketry and propulsion engines as well. Question and answer sessions ended their tour of NASRDA.