The Universe Observing Center a modern center to teach and communicate astronomy
Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
AbstractThe Universe Observing Center is one of the parts of the Parc Astronòmic Montsec (PAM). PAM is an initiative of the Catalan government, through the Consorci del Montsec (Montsec Consortium), to take advantage of the capabilities and potential of the Montsec region to develop scientific research, training and outreach activities, particularly in the field of Astronomy. The choice of the Montsec mountains to install the PAM was motivated by the magnificent conditions for observing the sky
... at night; the sky above Montsec is the best (natural sky free of light pollution) in Catalonia for astronomical observations. The PAM has two main parts: the Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec (OAdM) and the Universe Observing Center (COU). The OAdM is a professional observatory with an 80-cm catadioptric telescope (Joan Oró Telescope). This telescope is a robotic telescope that can be controlled from anywhere in the world via the Internet. The COU is a large multipurpose center which is intended to become an educational benchmark for teaching and communicate astronomy and other sciences in Catalonia. The management of the COU has three main goals: 1) Teach primary and secondary school students in our Educational Training Camp. 2) Teach university students housing the practical astronomy lectures of the universities. 3) Communicate astronomy to the general public. The COU comprises special areas for these purposes: the Telescopes Park with more than 20 telescopes, a coelostat for solar observations and two dome containing full-automated telescopes. The most special equipment is "The Eye of Montsec", with its 12m dome containing a multimedia digital planetarium and a platform for direct observation of the sky and the environment. During 2009 we expect around 10000 visitors in Montsec area to enjoy science with Montsec dark skies and an special natural environment.