AURORA POLARIS - Partnership Opportunity for Learning: Astronomy Resources for Inspiring Seniors

On 20th December 2007 the United Nations 62nd General Assembly declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009).  Engaging older learners in non-formal opportunities linked to IYA2009 is the aim of this Grundtvig learning partnership.  Slovakia, Poland, Greece and the UK will work together to further develop their astronomy outreach provision to enable senior citizens to access astronomical educational resources relevant to their needs.

The partnership will share expertise and information during four transnational workshops.  Educational resources will be developed by each country with the active participation of older learners.  Resources to meet a range of special needs - including visual impairment - will be piloted.

The SHARE Initiative (UK) will coordinate the project.  Partners include the Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (Slovakia), Olsztyn Planetarium and Astronomical Observatory (Poland) and the University of Athens (Greece).  Associate partners include astronomical societies, University of the 3rd Age groups, Universities, a research group and a website portal.

The project will run from August 2008 to July 2010.  Adult educators and older learners from each country will be involved in the planning, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of outcomes.


  1. To respond to the educational challenge of an ageing population in Europe
  2. To improve the access of older learners in Europe to the International Year of Astronomy 2009
  3. To enable up to ten organisations in Europe to collaborate in a Grundtvig learning partnership


  1. To pilot up to eight educational resources for IYA2009 with older learners by October 2009.
  2. To evaluate final resources with older learners in each partner country by March 2010.
  3. To disseminate outcomes of the project including a DVD by July 2010.
  4. To create ten talking tactile overlays for visually impaired learners in both English and at least one other partner language by December 2009.
  5. To organise four transnational workshops in partner countries by May 2010.
  6. To organise four transnational workshops in partner countries by May 2010.
  7. To circulate a project newsletter prior to each transnational and at the end of the project.
  8. To maintain a project website from December 2008 until at least July 2010.

Overall objective:
To build a learning partnership across Europe that can share its expertise and skills through work with older learners to create a range of educational resources as a legacy from IYA2009.