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27.03.2006 General News

UCC to re-introduce the study of astronomy


Cape Coast, March 27, GNA - The University of Cape Coast (UCC) will from the 2007/2008 academic year re-introduce the study of astronomy in the physics department of the Faculty of Science.

The University, which was established in 1962, initially, had astronomy as one of the courses at the department, but it was dropped due to lack of funds.

Professor Samuel Mensah, Dean of the Faculty made this known during the opening of a five-day international workshop on the Solar Eclipse 2006', dubbed "African cultural astronomy conference", at the UCC. The workshop, which is being organised by the UCC in collaboration with the University of Arizona in the United States of America, has scholars and students from Ghana, USA, Britain, Canada, South Africa Tanzania and Nigeria attending and is the first of its kind to be held in Africa.

It is, among others, geared towards educating and equipping the participants with skills on research methods, as well as advancing the study of African astronomy.

It would also deliberate on topics like 'opportunities in solar physics, a relationship between human destiny and cosmic' as well as on astronomy and astrophysics in countries like Nigeria and South Africa. Other activities lined-up for the conference include, a live observation of the solar eclipse on Wednesday, lectures and film shows. Professor Mensah, said astronomy had socio-economic benefits but regretted that there was no known astronomist in the country, and called for political commitment to generate its study.

Touching on the eclipse, he reiterated calls on the public not to watch it with naked eyes and explained that the authentic solar shades, would give the sun an orange colour, when the phenomenon is being viewed, and cautioned that any other shades which would produce a different colour, would be fake.

Professor Jarita Holbrook of the University of Arizona, who is one of the resource persons, underscored the importance of astronomy in relation to socio-cultural life of people and urged Africans to venture into its study.

She hinted that UNESCO, would be celebrating 'the year of astronomy' in 2009 and urged the participants to identify astronomical sites in their respective countries and make them available to mark the day.