Sirius Astronmy Association Salon 2008
The 7th National Fair in Popular Astronomy ... 30 October-1Nov 2008, Constantine, Algeria... World Space Week 2008 ... International Year of Astronomy 2009 .... Popular Science in Action   

The Seventh National Fair in Popular Astronomy was true to its calling, a popular event through and through indeed. Large participation, a record number of visitors, great lecturers from all over the World. In addition two premieres: the TWAN astrophotography exposition from Iran and other countries of the World, and the Antikythera one from Greece.

It took place as usual at the Malek Haddad "Palais de la Culture", close to center city.

As usual, the young Sirius shock team was mobilized to do part of the advertisement. It was commando action working at night, at the border line of legality. They literally covered centre city with posters.

Here Younès (Left) and Mustapha in the middle of the action.

Hanging up banderols and spacecraft models. Here the Spoutnik model standing up proudly.

Setting up the Sirius aisle.

Getting the main auditorium ready.


The opening visit by the City Mayor (Dr.Chibane, with eyeglasses) and at his right Prof.R.Boussouf, the head of the Wilaya Executive branch (PAPW).

Here with the Bahreini Astronomy Society welcomed by Prof. Shawki Dallal, its President and also Vice President of the Arab Union of Astronomy and Space Sciences.

Prof.X.Moussas from Athena University presenting to the Mayor the Antikythera exhibition.

Here with Ms. Mona Anbar from the Kuwaiti Science Club.

Stopping at the Association Sirius des Astronomes Amateurs (ASAA) from Béjaia.
Out of space creatures?

No, just the Mayor and his vice president having outer space visions at the AAJAA stand from Algiers.

The AAJAA stand was indeed a well visited one

Chatting with some students of the Graduate Study Program in Astrophysics (EDA) at Mentouri University.


Getting some explanations on the Scientific Concours Cirta-Science II which will be held again this year across the various High Schools of the Wilaya. The three laureats will be offered a trip to sight the July 22, 2009 total solar eclipse.

T he Salon official opening ceremony at the end of the tour.

Each one giving a small speech, including the heads of the foreign delegations.

The Participants

Jeunes Science Tunis et Djerba in Force

First and foremost, kudos to the Tunisians who participated in force this year with a large and active delegation.

Headed by Dr..Jaidane from Tunis University, the Association Jeunes-Science comprised young amateurs from the various parts of Tunisia, notably Tunis, Djerba, Nabeul, Bizerte, Kairaouan...

More on the SAF participation

Philippe Morel, the SAF president, setting up the PST coupled to a CCD camera for solar viewing..

Mona Anbar explaining the astronomy activities of the Kuwaiti Science Club.

Likewise with the amateur activities in Bahrein with Prof.S. Dallal

The Antikythera Display
from Athena University

A handsome set of panels on the Antikythera device discovered in the early XXth century.

The Antikythera Display

Her the Mayor with Prof X.Moussas from Athena University who has worked extensively on the Antikythera mechanism.

The TWAN Exhibition at Constantine

The other great display was the TWAN exposition set in an adjacent room. Here Babrak Tafreshi the Director of TWAN and his wife.

Various cosmic visions were offered to the visitors as shot by some of the best known astro photographers worldwide. TWAN is a cornestone program of IYA2009 and we were proud indeed that it was displayed as a primeur in Constantine, a first such exhibition in the African continent.

Here the AMNIR Astronomy Club from Beni Isguen in the Mzab valley.

The AAJAA represented by his President R.Lassoued from the Algiers governorate put up a great high tech display made of 3-D planetary scenes.

Hocine Fahiss from the El-Bouzdjani Astronomy Club at Médéa is a faithful participant to the Popular Astronomy Salons ever since its inception in 2002.

The Smarties Club of the Hamiz Scientific Middle School at Algiers headed by Mustapha Derradji, the former Sirius president (Sitting amidst his students).

The Sirius Club from Béjaia. Their elaborated display emphasized the astronomical heritage of the region, in particular during the Hammadites rule.

Bilal from Sirius - Constantine posing in front of the Sirius -Béjaia stand.

The CRAAG as usual was present to the Salon with a large delegation. We see Nassim here talking with his colleagues from ASAL.

The CRAAG, unlike the other years, has a neat display of large panels animated by

The Agence Spatiale Algérienne (ASAL) too was present with two scientists from the CTS at Arzew, Dr Abrouche and Dr.Boudjemai

Here their stand
set at a strategic intersection.

The ENNA was there too. Here the head of the delegation talking to the Mayor of Constantine and his adjoint.

We were happy to welcome the Suha astronomy Club from Sétif a usual participant to our Salons since their inception. Here showing to the visitors their skymap software.

The Najm A-Thakeb Astronomy Association from Mostaghanem from Western Algeria displaying their handiwork.


Bringing the hearts and minds together is one great bonus of the Popular Astronomy Fairs.

The Qutb Astronomy Club from Ghardaia.

The Birouni Astronomy Association from Sedrata from the Tebessa Wilaya displaying their work.

The Angham El-Hayat Astronomy Association from Guerara in the Mzab Valley receiving some young visitors.

The Ibn Haitham Astronomy Club from Ain-Fakroun, Oum El-Bouaghi, with Zinou his dynamical president at right.

The ENNA is also a traditional participant to our Salons. They go to great length to provide the public with technical information on the state of the art in the air navigation techniques.

It might be seen as a bit out of place in an astronomy Salon, yet it fulfill a useful public function in informing. On the other hand it might be seen as "ultralow altitude" astronomy! Here an engineer from ENNA with Ammi Ali.

Some EDA (Ecole Doctorale d'Astrophysique) students at their stand.


They provided astrophysics background information to inquiring visitors of all ages: stellar evolution, Black Holes and the like...

The Activities

The welcoming desk of Sirius was always neat and friendly.

The Sirius boutique was also attractive with helpful Sirius members

The display of realisations by Sirius members was always a strong point of focus for the visitors, especially the youngsters.

Zinou explaining

Fateh breaking down a telescope to its basic components.

Hocine Fahiss from Médéa at his best: explaining basic astronomy to the public.

The CRAAG was well represented this year with the head of the public relations office.

Handling the kids and their curiosity: Asma.

Khaled explaining model building of ancient observatories. They were actually built by Aicha Houki, our Sirius general secretary.

Mustapha obliging with a young visitor who insisted in looking through a telescope despite day time conditions.


Imène, at work with Fatima (A left) and Taqi. Asma at right.

The AAJAA stand

Mustapha with some students of the new scientific Middle School from Hamiz, Algiers

The TWAN exposition. (Picture courtesy B.Tafreshi-TWAN).

The Antikythera exposition at right

A sighting night was organized during the Fair at the 10 km Scout Camp at the outskirts of Constantine. Redhouane in the middle of the picture brought his 300 mm Dobsonian for that night.
Here Hicham peering through, while Aisha is standing by.


Here the Tunisian team going after the PST at the Malek Haddad plaza.

The PST coupled to the Philips CCD camera enables us to get nice pictures of some solar protuberances with the expert advice of Philippe Morel . Here a raw picture of part of the solar disk.
... and here a slightly processed and colored one.


Although weather conditions where less than ideals, some pictures were taken from the Malek Haddad Plaza of the rapprochement of the crescent Moon and Venus

The Constantine corniche at night going towards the coast (Pict-AJST).

Shoe throwing?
But no Bush at sight.

Just virtually aiming at stars with the MySky device graciously offered to Sirius by Mike Simmons from Astronomers Without Borders during the previous Fair in 2007.

The Gadget Age: Seeing without seeing.

The Tunisian corner was always quite animated.

On duty at the Tunisian desk with smile.

Groups of scouts from far away places visiting the Fair

Do I look like this bunch of nails?

A trip to town and a flight over the city in the cableway (téléphérique). Click on the picture for another shot

Spacecraft models on display


The Lectures & The Round Table

R.Ferlet, the exoplanet specialist from l'Institut Astrophysique de Paris and former SAF president, lecturing.

Dr.Mezaoui Abderahmane from Bab-Ezzouar University. He lectured on radioastronomy and quasars

Dr.S.Boudjemai from the CTS/ASAL talking on small satellites The other lecturer from Arzew was Dr.S.Abrouche.

Prof.S.Dallal from Bahrein University lecturing on the "Fate of the Universe".

Moslem Nakhli from the AJST of Kairouan during the Q& A session.

B.Tafreshi lecturing on Astronomy in Iran, the Messier marathon, and TWAN.

Djounai Baba-Aissa from the CRAAG on direct imaging of exoplanets.

A happy and attentive audience
The Round Table on
the Intl.Year of Astronomy 2009

Sirius organized, in coordination with the National Committee of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 in Algeria, a round table on how to go about the celebrations. The presence of many of the effective astronomy associations all over Algeria allowed to do some planning and sort out some potential organizational problems.

The AJS, the SAF and other partners participated in the discussions along with the national associations.

The SAF participation
& the Flammarion Medal Granting

The SAF (La Société Astronomique de France) as usual marked strongly the Salon with its presence both quantitatively and qualitatively. Five high powered participants manipulating, lecturing, entertaining.... They certainly added a note of quality to the Salon.

Their stand was most of the time filled with eager visitors...

Here Patrick FUENTES, head of the SAF History Commission explaining to some journalists from the APS the working of the astrolabe

Taking turn

The recipiendaire of the Gabrielle and Camille Flammarion prize for 2008 was the President of Sirius for his effort in popularizing astronomy. Here Prof.Ferlet past SAF President awarding the medal in presence of Philippe Morel its actual President.

Acceptance speech by the Sirius President

Tthe Gabrielle and Camille Flammarion medal. Click on the picture to see the verso.


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Design: C. MOUATSI / Sirius Astronomy Association (August 2008)