ASP2021: A Virtual Conference
9:45 AM - 10:35 AM: Concurrent Session 5D: 9:45 am PST (12:45 pm EST) - Oral Presentations
Big Astronomy: Moving Forward with What We've Learned
Conference Strand: Communicating Science Using Social & Traditional Media
Shannon Schmoll, Abrams Planetarium
Vivian White, Astronomy Society of the Pacific
Abstract of Session/Presentation: The Big Astronomy Project is an NSF funded project that is based on the Dome+ model of extending engagement beyond the dome. The project utilizes design principles of sparking audience interest, supporting audience agency in how they continue to learn and engage, and supporting the development of audience STEM identity. Using these principles, the project developed a new planetarium show, hands-on activities, live social media events, and a web portal with exclusive content. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the show to premiere online as a YouTube 360 degree streamed video. Domes are beginning to reopen now and some are showing the Big Astronomy planetarium show in person. This has shifted the project to a study that compares and contrasts two different modalities of engaging planetarium audiences, allowing us to characterize audiences based on interests to inform how virtual content can be most effectively used post pandemic. Additionally, the project has begun looking at how to expand resource offerings to be more accessible for those in the Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) communities. This includes collaborating with experts in the field of making astronomy accessible through the creation of new resources and modifying existing resources in the Big Astronomy project.