Tanabata Lecture Held at Santiago Japanese School

On July 7, the day of the Tanabata star festival, Associate Professor Yoshiharu Asaki gave a lecture on astronomy titled "Amanogawa (the Milky Way) and the Galaxy" at the Santiago Japanese School in Chile. The following is a report from Associate Professor Asaki.

In Santiago, the capital of Chile, a lockdown was ordered to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, which increased the concern that we would not be able to give a face-to-face lecture at the school. However, one week before the event, it was eased to a semi-lockdown that allowed us to go out during the daytime on weekdays, and I could visit the school and hold the event. Even so, since it was not allowed to hold an indoor meeting with more than 10 people, we had to divide students of nine grades into three groups, consisting of two to four grades, to give three sessions.

The lecture covered the topics of the winter constellations that can be observed in Chile (July is a winter month in the Southern Hemisphere), the starry sky seen in the Atacama Desert, and the fact that the Milky Way is a galaxy, which is a collection of stars, as well as very strong activities that are taking place at the central part of the galaxy. The starry sky of Atacama is so beautiful that it is said to be the best in the world. The center of the Milky Way can be seen in the direction of Sagittarius and Scorpio high up in the sky. It would be an unforgettable memory if we could see the Milky Way that shows up in the darkest night sky in the magnificent nature of Chile. Currently, we cannot travel freely in Chile due to restrictions amid the pandemic. We hope that we can return to normal life as soon as possible and all of the students at the Santiago Japanese school can enjoy seeing the wonderful night sky of Atacama.


Associate Professor Asaki explains the Milky Way and the stars of Tanabata. The children listened to the lecture while keeping a distance from each other.
Credit: Santiago Japanese School