Special Report on the
Celebration in Algeria
Sirius Astronomy Association

The World Space Week
(WSW) this year in Algeria has been celebrated in a rather vivid way. A National Salon on Popular Astronomy was held in Constantine which brought together associations from the various parts of the country to celebrate the Week. Sirius Astronomy Association a prominent youth association decided a year ago to hold a National Salon in celebration of World Space Week 2002. Under the hospice of the Cultural Consultative Committee of the City of Constantine, it started planning a series of events, with a decision in a late stage to involve several well known Astronomy Associations, each representing a part of Algeria.

Early Start, but Unfortunate Timing!
  The Salon was held on the week next to the WSW due to the Nation wide Municipal elections held on the 10th of October with no public activities tolerated during the period prior to that date. Yet the various school districts were informed of the WSW celebration directly, and tens of various educational institutions in the Constantine area actually displayed the WSW celebration poster during the weeks prior to the event. A particularly vigorous media campaign was initiated in early September, and since late September till the week itself, ads were read on the air put graciously by the Cirta FM radio station, a government owned station, informing the public of the various events planned for the occasion. All in all, close to 1000 posters were distributed and posted at various public places, including some 150 buses and minibuses, the various Youth Centers…It is to be noted that almost all the major newspapers notified the public of the event, especially since the APS (Algerian Press Service), the official press agency put two wire bulletins on the events.

Getting the Ball Rolling and Having a Good Time
  The Salon was held at the al-Khalifa Cultural Center, an imposing Center in downtown Constantine, and was inaugurated by the Governor of the Constantine province on October 16. Hundreds of visitors has walked through the various aisles and inquired at the different stands during the two days of theevent. It was well covered by various local and national newspapers (el-Khabar, el-Chourouk, el-Watan,Al-Açil...), and by live broadcast by the Cirta-FM radio station.
In addition to the various stands on the space conquest including models of Sputnik, Apollo 11, the Hubble Space Telescope, many explanatory panels focused on this year's theme, namely Space and Daily Life on Earth, were displaying the various applications of space. In addition, the AlSAT1 satellite, the first Algerian satellite expected to be launched during the next few weeks as part of the DMC set of satellites (Disaster Monitoring Constellation) was given particular preeminence.
A prominent area of the Salon was also the Smarties corner which was drawing a large crowd of young people at all times. Live demonstrations of air powered rockets were taking place on a continuous basis, as well as on going puzzle competition with many small prizes given away for the winners. That made many tens of young people happy.

A National Event 

The stands of the various other astronomy associations have also seen anunending flux of visitors. We mention in particular al-Battani Association from Oran in Eastern Algeria with their slide show of their various astronomy trips in Sahara and foreign lands. The Mountada Association of Medea in Center Algeria stand displayed in particularthe various scientific activities among the youth. The Amnir Club from Beni Isgen in the heart of the M'zab Valley in the far South focused on their Astronomical observation program of eclipses, meteor showers... The Cirta Philatelic Club displayed through numerous panels, the history of the space adventure with thousands of stamps to show from those celebrating the launching of Sputnik to those on the ISS building.

The Starshine Special Corner
  Part of Starshine explanatory panels The involvement of Algerian Schools with the NASA Starshine program was highlighted through a special stand giving all the details on this School's satellite which has seen the involvement of some 50 educational institutions, public and private, with the Starshine2-3-4 satellites, arranged and coordinated by the Sirius Astronomy Association. For a look at an earlier involvment of Sirius with 12 Schools with the Starshine 2 and 3 satellites, check the Starshine 2 special page on it at the association's site.

Food for the Mind, and Kid's Competition
   A set of four lectures were given during the Salon (Two each afternoon), given by professionals of the Space and Astronomy community and held in a large auditorium next to the exposition hall. In particular, the Thursday afternoon program was very well attended with hundreds of participants, mostly young people. The lecturers were Dr.S.Kahlouche, head of the scientific applications division at the National Center of Space Technology (CNTS) at Arzew who talked on "The National Space Program and AlSAT1". Check a related article on AlSAT1 written by the CNTS scientists. The other lecture was given by Dr.N.Segouani head of the Astrophysics Department at the Bouzaréah Observatory near Algiers on the "Astronomy of the Future" ...

In addition, it was held a special competition for young people "One slide, one question", with 150 participants from the audience divided according to two levels.
Eight prizes were distributed to the winners, graciously donated by the DIDACTAL/ELECTROSON company, the official sponsor of the Sirius Astronomy Association. Participants to the Salon were also honored accordingly.

 A Web Site for the Salon 
  The Association created a special Web site forthe Salon, the one you are at now! Itwas activated two weeks before the Salon and is updated regularly. It covers the various activities held during WSW2002, and contains various documents including the Poster of the Salon, the program of lectures, various articles on space sciences, the UN General Secretary's statement for WSW2001 in both English and Arabic, and various multimedia documents.

Sirius Voice, the Salon’s Gazetteer

  We note further that a special issue of Sirius Voice was published containing eleven articles on all the aspect of the space science, written by Algerian professionals on Space and Astronomy in and out of Algeria, as well as members of the Association. It contains the first non technical article released to the public to our knowledge, on the AlSAT1 Algerian satellite. It contains also an extensive article written by Dr.N.Guessoum from the American University in Sharjah on the various applications of space, in tune with this year WSW's theme. Many of those articles were put on Salon's Web site.

   The Salon was very successful by all standards. It really went a long way to make the World Space Week and its objectives better known nation wide.
We expect to make next year's Salon an even larger event and truly nation wide. We have started contacting some potential sponsors. Recognition from the WSW steering committee will certainly help in that respect.

Sites produced
by the Sirius members

World Space Week 2002 in Algeria

Check them out one by one, they each worth a visit!

Main site of the Constantine Astronomy's Salon.
Check the site on the Apollo11 model
Site on the Salon's poster.
Site on the Solar System (In Arabic mostly): Prize WSW-2002

Site on an atypical day at "Ahbab ar-rahman" kindergarten


Sirius Astronomy Association.
BP 18, Cité du 20 Aout 1955. Constantine 25000 Algérie
Conception: C.Mouatsi // / Oct 2002