Dear School Astronomy Clubs,
We have received feedback from certain schools last year, requesting for greater transparency regarding upcoming major decisions. In response to this, we will like to provide advance notice about potential AstroChallenge dates and other intended major changes.
- Potential AstroChallenge Dates
AstroChallenge is usually held around the first/second week of the June holidays, subject to favourable lunar phases. In 2019, this would likely translate to Day 0 being held on 31st May, Day 1 being held between 3rd – 5th June, and Day 2 occurring on 8th
We would like to hear from you if there are potential issues/clashes surrounding these dates. Please kindly let us know of your concerns regarding these dates by contacting us directly, or via our email.
- Changes to AstroChallenge Format
After feedback that AstroChallenge is becoming too lengthy and could be made more relevant, the organizers have conducted an internal review and are proposing several major changes. It is our hope that the streamlined format will induce a greater focus on certain key aspects of astronomy knowledge and community engagement.
To this end, the organizers are proposing the following (non-exhaustive) changes:
Rebalancing the Theory Observation Round
Previously, the format of the Theory Observation Round created an unhealthy incentive to memorize obscure NGC objects and galaxies, nearly all of which could not be seen in Singapore. Furthermore, other areas of practical astronomy (e.g. astrophotography and setup) were being neglected in comparison. While deeper knowledge of the night sky should and will still be rewarded, going forward the questions in the Theory Observation Round will place comparatively more emphasis on night sky basics and other aspects of practical astronomy. In doing so, we hope that these changes will help prepare students for the demands of a typical sidewalk session.
Restructuring the AC Finals
Due to the sheer quantity of questions, the AC Finals tend to drag beyond schedule. To combat this, we are adopting a 3-pronged approach:
-Standardizing all future Game Rounds to be based on the Kahoot format
-Reduction in the number of Buzzer Round Questions to 15 per round
-Increasing the weight of the Preliminaries to 35% of the final score, at the expense of the Game and Buzzer Round
Once again, we would love to hear from you regarding your thoughts about these changes. We hope to make AC2019 an enjoyable and enriching experience for all.
The AC2019 Committee