The world of astronomy has changed a lot in the last 25 years, but it will “undergo brutal changes” in the next few years, the Science Minister announced today, which announced that Portugal will integrate a worldwide network of digital interconnected telescopes.
In Constância, in Santarém district, in the 25th edition of Astrofesta, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, anticipated the challenges of the future, stating that “today, Portugal participates in a large project worldwide to be able to connect all the telescopes in a digital way “, including those installed in the Living Science Center of Constância – Astronomy Park.
“If it is true that the last 25 years have been a great transformation in Portugal of introducing scientific culture in the Portuguese, it is also true that the next 25 years in the area of ??astronomy will undergo brutal changes,” said the official at the official opening of the event, which gathers until Sunday about a thousand Portuguese astronomers and other nationalities, professionals and amateurs, researchers and teachers, among others.
As Astrofesta “the oldest astronomy party in the country, a festival that is a reference nationally and abroad”, gathering hundreds of people every day for three days, Manuel Heitor said that astronomy “is essential to improve knowledge of the Earth (…) and also, and above all, to explore new activities of social and economic scope. ”
For the official, Astrofesta “is the most representative, but it is also the one that is associated from the beginning what is modern science in Portugal”, highlighting the work of astronomers such as Máximo Ferreira, director of the Centro Ciência Viva de Constância, who, “over 25 years, have helped to develop what is essential, which is the public’s attraction to scientific knowledge.”
As the minister emphasized, “the meeting here [in Constância] of a thousand people is certainly the recognition of the last 25 years and a clear demonstration of astronomy’s capacity for the future of Portugal and what is the interaction [of the country] in the world and a knowledge economy. ”
Máximo Ferreira recalled that everything began with “two small telescopes in a van” that led to the Serra D’Ossa, in Redondo, in 1994, having taken astronomy the following year to the beaches of the Algarve, in a spirit of mission and dissemination that shared with the former minister Mariano Gago.
“People did not come to the telescopes, we took the telescopes to where they were people,” he recalled, noting that the program “dissemination of astronomy and science in general” was extended to the interior regions in 1997 with the program Summer, which remains to this day.
In the year in which 25 years of Astrofesta are celebrated, this event presents a varied program that involves observations of the sky (with naked eyes and with telescopes), a mini-course of introduction to Astronomy, a small interactive science fair and several lectures, among which stands out one dedicated to the strange galaxy designated by CR7.
This year announces as a novelty a lecture on radioastronomy and activities with a radio telescope. There will be a moment of presentation of a small brochure evoking the 25 years of Astrofestas, several moments of music provided by the CICO mobile carillon, two exhibitions (“astropintura” and “sundials”), public access to Lake Archimedes and light snacks in a tent prepared for that purpose.