“Conference on communicating astronomy with the public”: Taking action
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AbstractIn October 2003, The U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) held a 3-day conference in Washington, DC, on communicating with the public about astronomy. This conference was organized by participants in a December 2002 meeting hosted by Spain’s Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias in Tenerife on “Communicating Astronomy.” The goals of the 2003 conference, conceived as a working meeting, were “to develop a program to share outreach and education resources among the astronomical community [and] to find ways of communicating with underdeveloped constituencies.”Two important products of the 2003 meeting were:1.A “Washington charter for communicating astronomy with the public,” a position paper articulating principles of action for funding agencies, professional astronomical societies, individual researchers and universities, laboratories, research organizations, and other institutions with an interest in communicating with the public about astronomy.2.The appointment of a task group to explore the creation of an electronic archive of informational resources about astronomy. Two options under consideration by the task group are creation of a Web site providing links, categorized and searchable, to astronomy public outreach and education resources and creation of a Web site that would be a searchable database of astronomy information and imagery (either representative or comprehensive).This paper reviews the purpose and proceedings of the conference, reports on outcomes, and provides a status report on post-conference actions. It also reports on a newly organized NASA Astrobiology Institute Working Group on Astrobiology Science Communication.

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