Astronomy popularisation is really important for the development of basic sciences in Indonesia. The keyplayers here is not just astronomy department or Bosscha observatory but also amateur astronomy clubs and communities. In Indonesia, we have several active astronomy clubs and communities. In Indonesia, we have several active astronomy clubs and communities. Let start with HIMASTRON (Himpunan Mahasiswa Astronomi) an Astronomy Students Association of the Department of Astronomy – ITB, Bandung. This society acts as a partner of the department of Astronomy-ITB in astronomy popularisation and education in Indonesia through various activities such as public lectures, seminars, star parties, seminars, astrocamps, talk shows etc.
Besides HIMASTRON, there are many amateur astronomy societies in Indonesia, which is distributed in several big cities. In Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, all astronomy enthusiasts could join HAAJ Jakarta Amateur Astronomy Society) at Jakarta Planetarium that established in 1984. Until now, they conduct many activities such as regular meetings (biweekly), star partie, astro parties (talk shows, seminars, exhibitions) and workshops. They also established astronomy clubs and communities at the high school level around Jakarta and nearby cities. The high school astronomy clubs that organized by HAAJ are Kastro Sirius 89 (SMA 89), FOSCA (Jakarta Forum of student science club), Castro (Club Astronomi SMAN 3 Bogor) Even, at MADANIA schools in Bogor, they also have courses in astronomy, some activities and clubs in their school agenda. In Bandung, we have several communities like Cakrawala (Astronomy Club in Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia) and student astronomy club in Trimulia high school, Bandung.
In Yogjakarta, there is an astronomy club name Jogja Astro Club (JAC) which is very active in this region. JAC usually held a star party, science fair and actively observing crescent lunar for fasting month (Ramadhan). Recently in Surabaya, they just announced a new astronomy club under the name “Surabaya Amateur Astronomy” this month (August 2008) and will start their activity soon.
Far away from Java, in South Celebes, there is an astronomy club that developed by former astronomy olympians in SMAN 17 Makassar named SCASTRON.
In Indonesia, the presence of the astronomy club not only in the real world but also in cyberspace. In the cyberspace we have the largest group of astronomy enthusiasts and astronomy groups in a mailing list named Astronomy Indonesia Mailing List (in yahoogroups). The mailing list was build in 2001 by the alumni of the department of astronomy – ITB. Now this mailing list has more than 800 members. They made their first gathering on June 2008. Another cyber community is langitselatan (southern sky) online forum. It is a discussion forum from langitselatan.com blog, an astronomy online media in Indonesia.
In South East Asia, an astronomy networking was started on 2007 in Thailand, when astronomer from this region agreed to build a networking though South East Asia Astronomy Network (SEAAN) 1st meeting in Siam Physics Congress (SPC), Thai National Astronomical Meeting (TNAM), on 22-24 March 2007 in Bangkok. SEEAN itself was proposed during the SPS5, IAU General Assembly in Prague in 2006 by Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum from Thailand. SEAAN will sign their MOU next year in a meeting in Thailand.
published in the 2nd IOAA Newsletter