Jupiter Opposition encounters Science Workshop in Lao PDR.

Phonesavanh School

Ministry of Science and Technology

Vientiane, Lao PDR

6-7 April 2017

The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Public Organization), together with the National Science Museum Thailand, under the Ministry of Science and Technology of Thailand co-hosted the “Scientific and Astronomical Training Workshop” for 50 school teachers from 25 different schools across Lao’s capital city and the surrounding areas.


        Hosted at Phonesavanh School for Gifted and Ethnic Student Pre-university. The 2-day collaborative workshop was made possible with close assistance from the school’s Director, National University of Laos and Ministry of Science and Technology of Laos PDR. This workshop was a solid outcome of the efforts to promote the importance of STI between the two countries. Earlier this year, the 2nd Joint Committee Meeting Working Group on Science, Technology and Innovation between Thailand and Lao PDR was held in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand to enhance bilateral collaborations between the two countries, Thus, the committee appointed the workshop to be held at least twice a year in Lao PDR, targeted to school teachers and students in the area, including stargazing observation via 3 Dobsonian telescopes given earlier to Lao’s Ministry of Science and Technology, National University of Laos and Phonesavanh School.



        The collaborative workshop kicked off with a cozy opening ceremony presided over by Madame Kaewphayvan Duangsavanh – Chief of National Scientific Council, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ms. Kannikar Wongthongsiri – Acting Director of National Science Museum Thailand and Mr. Wichan Insiri – Director of Foreign Affairs, National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand. Lecturers and participants then got down to business through various fruitful workshops including “Science Significance”, “Logical Thinking Skills”, “Problem Solving Methods” to name a few. In the afternoon of the second day, NARIT Public Outreach Team introduced participants to “Fundamental Stargazing” “Telescope Use and Operation” “Astronomical Teaching Media (Optical Bench)”, for them to familiarize with how telescopes operate. Certificates were then individually handed out to each and every participants by the end of the day, in conclude the program.



        The Thai Delegation also had a privilege to pay a courtesy call to H.E. Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology, Lao PDR at the Ministry ground, where His Excellency congratulated the delegation for making this cooperative workshop a success and advised for further possible collaborations both countries may contribute to one another.



        On the night of 7 April, a perfect opportunity revealed itself for lecturers, participants and the public to closely observe the Moon and Jupiter Opposition – which made its closest encounter to Earth that very morning. The clear sky above Phonesavanh School attracted much interests from the community when Faculty members and students from the National University of Laos brought in their telescope to join with the other 2 from the Ministry and Phonesavan on its ground so that everyone had a chance to observe those stars up-close and personal. Much enthusiasm shot across the school lawn by sun down as for many observers – was their very first time to see the Moon and Jupiter this close. The Jupiter Opposition phenomenon was also the one and only observation event held by NARIT outside Thailand this year, in parallel with many events held across Thailand on that very same night.



        The workshop was ultimately aimed for teachers and those of interest would pass on their knowledge and skills learnt to the students and the community at large. In order to create a knowledge-based society by having science, technology and innovation as tools to drive Lao PDR forward in the mere future.