Basic astronomy: Common misconceptions and public beliefs according to the audience survey at Kyiv Planetarium
Astronomical Observatory of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, 04053, Observatorna str.3, Kyiv, Ukraine
2 Strömstad Academy, SE-45280 Strömstad, Sweden
3 Kyiv Planetarium, 03150, Velyka Vasylkivska 57/3, Kyiv, Ukraine
Published online: 1 February 2019
Results of a Kyiv Planetarium audience survey are discussed. Kyiv Planetarium has a "Big Zeiss 4" projector, a fulldome projection system, a dome 23 meters across, and 300 seats. Having presented a program to up to 300 visitors at once, it is not easy to examine the general public understanding of basic astronomy, to get feedback on the program, and to estimate the educational impact on the public. Strategically designed questionnaires were used to find out what are visitors’ personal experiences and previous knowledge. Questions in the questionnaire can be conditionally divided into several groups: - a) personal data (age, education); - b) astronomical knowledge and observational experience (attendance of astronomy lessons at school, observation of interesting astronomical phenomena such as eclipses, comets, meteors, experience of watching the sky through a telescope, age of the Earth and the Universe, reasons for seasonal changes and Moon phases, the brightest star, constellations that the visitor knows, number of planets in the Solar system, the biggest planet in the Solar system, how often do visitors read about space related topics); - c) visitors’ personal beliefs like their attitude towards horoscopes and extra-terrestrial life; and - d) visitors’ attitude towards planetarium itself, likes and dislikes, topics for future programs, expectations, sources of information about Planetarium, and number of their visits to planetarium. I discuss the results from 147 questionnaires that were gathered back, the most common misconceptions and public beliefs are revealed.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
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