Eyes on the Stars: AUI Hosts 7th Annual Astronomy Festival

Al Akhawayn University held the 7th annual Ifrane Astronomy Festival this past weekend from September 21st through the 25th. This year’s theme was “Space and Robotic Quest”, and according to the festival’s website, its goal is “… part of Al Akhawayn University's efforts to disseminate scientific knowledge to the general public and to promote science and scientists among young people to stimulate their interest in science and technology.”


The first day of the festival featured a conference that was centered around the theme “Morocco: A Treasure of Meteorites Unique in the World,” and was led by Professor Hasnaa Chennaoui Aoudjehane who is a geochemist and specialist in meteorites and Planetology at the Faculty of Sciences Ain Chock at Hassan II University of Casablanca. In reference to the event, Ms. Chennaoui said, "This event is extremely interesting because it touches the youth and arouses curiosity while developing a scientific spirit in children that will find pleasure raising their heads to the sky, looking at the stars and seeking to answer important scientific questions.” Descriptions of meteorites found in Morocco were presented at this event, mainly focusing on the last meteor showers observed in Morocco including the Martian meteorite “Tissint.”


On Saturday, a public forum on “Astronomy and Robotics in Education” was held with a host of professors and researchers in the field of astrology in attendance who presented papers on “Astronomy and Robotics: Pedagogical Approach to the Moroccan School,” “Astrophysical Spectroscopy at the Oukaïmeden Observatory,” “The Contribution of Spectroscopy in Astrophysics,” and on the “Global Hands-On Universe” robotic telescope program. 


Other events held throughout the duration of the festival included a conference on “The Contribution of Spectroscopy in Astrophysics” held by Professor Fouad Sefyani Lakrizi of University Cadi Ayyad and the Oukaïmeden Observatory in Marrakesh and a meeting of amateur and professional astronomers from Morocco from the Centre de Formation Continue (EEC) at Al Akhawayn University.