On Sunday, March 21, from 20:00 to 23:00, the Irkutsk Planetarium together with the Regional Astronomical Society (IRAO) announced the "XV World Night of Sidewalk Astronomy 2021", during which 24 telescopes were to be installed in 14 settlements of the region to observe the Moon for everyone, if, of course, the weather permits. Moreover, the local authorities agreed on this event, subject to the observance of the epidemic social distance, and a message about this was published by the local media.
However, the Ust-Kut authorities, under pressure from local security officials, revoked this permission, since the organizer of the action there turned out to be the opposition ANO, which, among other things, is also engaged in educational activities.
Social networks are outraged by this decision:
- Apparently, the Chekists fear that instead of the Moon through a telescope, social activists will show the residents of Ust-Kut the area near Vladimir, where they took Alexey Navalny.
- The insanity of today's Russian authorities is already going through the roof. All events that do not praise Putin and United Russia, even initially not political, are prohibited. Because of this, the residents of Ust-Kut will not be able to see lunar craters and traces of asteroids and meteorites on the lunar surface close up. In other cities of the country and region, the authorities turned out to be more adequate and coordinated the event without any problems. There will be as many as 7 playgrounds in Irkutsk, where residents can come with their children and look into the starry sky overhead.
- In Ust-Kut, in principle, there is no public telescope where local residents could observe the sky. This ban deprived many Ustkut residents of the opportunity to simply come with their families to the telescope brought from Irkutsk, and at least show the children the Moon up close.
"Sidewalk Astronomy" is a form of amateur astronomy that was invented in the 1960s. Amateur astronomers take their telescopes to city streets (hence the name) and invite passers-by to look at celestial objects for free, talking about what they saw.
The main goal of sidewalk astronomy is both to attract more people to engage in this science, and ordinary enlightenment. The one that is actually prohibited in Russia.
However, as it turned out, there is another point of view, expressed by one of the participants, no less than the astronomical forum Astronomy.ru.
One of its participants carefully read the site of the Irkutsk Planetarium and discovered there a remarkable detail: “The jubilee for Irkutsk - the fifteenth World Night of Sidewalk Astronomy - takes place in the year of the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight into space. It will also be the first event in the Under One Sky", which IRAO implements jointly with IPS - the International Society of Planetariums with the grant support of the" Eurasia "Foundation. This is a P2P (peer-to-peer, from equal to equal) project, the purpose of which is the development of joint research and cultural projects of astronomy amateurs from Russia with astronomy lovers from the USA. Representatives of IPS will be in touch with us during the broadcast, we will share our experience of organizing "sidewalks" in Irkutsk... "So, this very Eurasia Foundation (Eurasia Foundation) is located at: Washington, DC, DC 20006, 1990 K Street NW Suite 615. Members of the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors: Chief Accountant and Founding Director Richard Moninstar from the Atlantic Council, Susan Kozinski-Fritz from USAID officially banned in the Russian Federation, former British Ambassador to Georgia Alexandra Hall, former Ambassador of Hungary to NATO and the United States Andrash Simoniy , former US ambassador to the USSR, Belarus and Georgia Kenneth Yalowitz, and everyone else is about the same. All of these are people OFFICIALLY building a system of external American management of the former republics of the USSR. In a nutshell, this American foundation is massively training anti-Russian journalists and public figures in Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and then everywhere...
I would like to ask the Irkutsk Planetarium and IrAo: guys, well, let's say you don't have enough funding, but how can you take money from Russophobes and anti-Soviet people who have nowhere to be branded? Is there even a drop of national pride and patriotism? You will play out so badly that not only will you be banned from your activities, but also amateur astronomy in general will be recorded under the category of "anti-Russian activity." In fact, you have already earned the status of a foreign agent for the planetarium, and a complete severance of any interactions with state and budget organizations. Do you and we all need it?"
However, in response, other forum members write:
- It is possible and even necessary for a good deed! You are somehow at the wrong place with your exhortations. Why don't you turn to our authorities? With a simple natural question - where is the support for amateur astronomy in our country? Where are our Russian state and non-state foundations that would support activities to popularize observational astronomy? Where is the Russian national state policy in this direction?
When you learn to ask such questions to the address, and not to shame and frighten the Irkutsk astronomy lovers here, then maybe something in the country will change and you will not have to turn to Russophobic organizations for help. And that hurray-patriotic obscurantism of some kind comes out... You need to take money, if they give it!