by Christie McMonigal

 And here we are at the end of GAM2014. GAM is now in its 5th year and I am honoured to be part of something so special. This is my first year coordinating GAM and it has been an amazing experience.

This April we have been blessed with a plethora of astronomical events - the Lyrid meteor shower, solar and lunar eclipses, Mars in opposition and at its closest approach to Earth and Vesta in opposition. It has been a very exciting month for astronomers!

lunar eclipse VTImages of the total lunar eclipse compiled by the Virtual Telescope

mars watch
GD Goenka Gurgaon, a SPACE India school conducted Mars Observations with 220 students as part of GAM2014

And as if that wasn't enough we also had Global Star Parties (some even going for a whole week!), online observing, concerts, hangouts, poetry and photo contests, dark skies awareness programs, and many more!

I was asked by Mike Simmons, president and founder of AWB to coordinate this GAM in February and I readily agreed, having no concept of the challenge that lay before me! Two months is really a very short amount of time to coordinate the world's largest celebration of astronomy. But thanks to the amazing people I got to work with and the enthusiasm of everyone who took part, we managed to pull it all together into what has become an incredibly successful GAM.

The success of the program can be measured in its people, in the hundreds of thousands of people that have gotten involved - tuning into online observing events, hosting star parties, sharing their activities with us on Facebook, Twitter and our website. It has been amazing to see people from all over the world get involved with such enthusiasm!
The biggest challenge for me personally has been working with different time zones. I am in Australia and most people in AWB are in the USA. This meant a lot of Skype meetings and emails at odd hours. I will definitely not miss the 7am staff meeting and waking up every morning to what felt like hundreds of emails needing responses! I have a theory that everyone held off sending me emails until they knew I was in bed!

We had a few glitches this year as we migrated our website over to a new server. This broke the event registrations temporarily, but fortunately it didn't stop people from participating. We had an overwhelming response on our social media channels with so many people sharing events, photos and updates with us.

So for the final post in the GAM2014 blog and to bring GAM2014 to an end I would like to thank not only our sponsors, without whom GAM would not be possible, but also every single person who got involved this month. Whether it was sharing a photo on Facebook, hosting your own event, tuning in to watch an online observing event or an AstroArts hangout, or even simply going outside to look at the stars, it is the people around the world that make GAM so special. It was fantastic to see astronomy being celebrated worldwide. It really embodied AWB's motto One People, One Sky.

philippines viewingSidewalk Astronomy event by the Astronomical League of the Philippines, Inc.

So thanks to all of you for helping make GAM the amazing and awe-inspiring event it is today!


christieChristie McMonigal is Global Astronomy Month 2014 Coordinator and an Australian science communicator with a strong focus on astronomy. She has worked in education and outreach with a number of organisations including Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre and Sydney Observatory. She currently works with the University of Technology Sydney, coordinating the outreach and recruitment programs for the Faculty of Science.

Christie has a passion for sharing her love of science with the general public. She feels science, in particular physics and astronomy, is a vital part of our everyday lives and she loves to use science to engage and inspire people of all ages


    You need to be logged in to leave a comment