About Us

Message

NAOJ is Japan’s world-famous comprehensive astronomy institution. It makes good use of every means available to pursue the mysteries of the Universe, from telescopes and antennas for every wavelength of electromagnetic radiation, such as visible light and radio waves; to artificial satellites and supercomputers. Our mission in the Public Relations Center is to present this energetic research to all citizens in an easy to understand format. Every day we work as a “window to the sky,” providing notifications covering not just research results and the latest discoveries about space; but also calendrical data related to everyday life, such as the dates of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, or sunrise and sunset times; and information about events which everyone can enjoy such as eclipses and comets. We strive to provide quality science entertainment by offering public visits which are free every day and an information-filled webpage, so that everyone will think “astronomy really is fun.”

Director of the Public Relations Center: Toshio Fukushima

History

1994Public Information Office founded
1995NAOJ website launched
April 1996Stargazing parties using the 50-cm Telescope for Public Outreach started
June 1998Public Information Office, New Objects Information Office, and Ephemeris Computation Office combined to form the Public Relations Center
July 2000Mitaka Campus Visitors’ Area opened
April 2004Library Unit and Public Relations Unit added to the Public Relations Center
2011Repsold Transit Instrument registered as an important cultural property

Public Relations Office

“A New View of the Universe” at Your Finger Tips

Head: Hitoshi Yamaoka

“A New View of the Universe” at Your Finger Tips

There are probably people who, when they hear the word “astronomy,” think it has nothing to do with them.

But that’s not the case.

While walking a moonlit road at night, you might ponder how the Moon was formed long ago. Eventually, all the stars that emit light die, and the records of these giant explosions are preserved in the documents studied in classical literature classes. The topic of astronomy crops up in an array of places.

The Public Relations Office delivers the latest research results obtained at NAOJ observational and research facilities, as well as various topics related to astronomy, to everyone in an easy-to-understand format. We employ dynamic media, namely: press releases, web releases, email news, and social media. We also conduct the production of explanatory videos, live-relays of lectures, and a variety of other events and information distribution in cooperation with the Outreach and Education Office and the Publications Office.

The goal of the Public Relations Office is to connect you to Astronomy.

Chief of the Public Relations Office: Hitoshi Yamaoka

Activities

Internet Information Distribution

We manage the NAOJ website and continue stable, regular information-distribution. We also issue email magazines from time to time.

Press Releases

We release press releases and hold press conferences regarding NAOJ research results, etc.

Internet Live-Relays, Video Production

We broadcast lectures and notable heavenly phenomena, such as solar and lunar eclipses, live via the internet. We also produce videos.

Outreach and Education Office

Striving to Develop Astronomy Education and Science Culture

Head: Hidehiko Agata

Striving to Develop Astronomy Education and Science Culture

Astronomy is one of the oldest disciplines. It’s also called “a science for everyone.” The Outreach and Education Office strives to create astronomy education and science culture by developing an array of science communication ideas related to astronomy, in cooperation with partners and interested parties both within and outside of NAOJ.

We conduct (1) management for Mitaka Headquarters Public Visits (including regular stargazing parties and screenings at the 4D2U Dome Theater); (2) the Astronomy Inquiries Telephone Service reference service; (3) outreach activities going out to towns and schools; (4) national campaigns, assorted events, and study sessions in cooperation with various organizations and groups related to space and astronomy; (5) science education support activities in cooperation with the International Astronomical Union (IAU), UNESCO, and other organizations; and (6) independent content development and the distribution of posters, astronomy merchandise, images, and software.

We strive for fine-tuned communications activities, connecting to each and every child and citizen, so that the natural sciences in general, and astronomy in particular, contribute to people’s happiness.

Chief of the Outreach and Education Office: Hidehiko Agata

Activities

Department of Public Visits

The Outreach and Education Office conducts tours and special events at Mitaka Campus, which is the open research facility where the headquarters of NAOJ is located. See more

Inquires Department

The Outreach and Education Office answers questions related to astronomy and space from everyone, offering information to strengthen interest and understanding in astronomy. See more

Department of Events and Education

The Outreach and Education Office plans and carries out a wide range of events for the purposes of astronomy outreach and education. See more

Department of Content Development

In the Outreach and Education Office, we publish web content, including introductions of the outreach and education activities occurring in each department and reference material for enrich the experience and understanding of astronomical phenomena. We also work on producing printed matter, teaching materials, etc. See more

Ephemeris Computation Office

Setting the Japanese Calendar

Head: Masato Katayama

Setting the Japanese Calendar

The most important role of the Ephemeris Computation Office is to publish the Calendar and Ephemeris, which is one of NAOJ’s raisons d’être. To this end, we predict various heavenly phenomena, first and foremost the apparent positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets; but also the Solar Terms, including the vernal and autumnal equinoxes; sunrise and sunset times; moonrise and moonset times; solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, and the transits of planets across the solar disk. Because there is great interest in calendrical information closely related to everyday life, this material is always made readily available through the Rika Nenpyo (Chronological Scientific Tables), the Ephemeris Computation Office website, etc.

In addition, we are making the important historical documents (currently Japanese only) in the possession of NAOJ accessible to the Public through cooperation with the Library.

Chief of the Ephemeris Computation Office: Masato Katayama

Activities

Publication of the Calendar and Ephemeris

We publish information about various heavenly phenomena, such as the apparent positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets.

Release of the Reki Yoko

Particularly important information from the calendar and ephemeris is selected, and an outline of next year’s calendar is published in the first official gazette in February each year.

Compilation of the Calendrical Section of the Rika Nenpyo

As the most trusted “handbook of natural sciences” in Japan, the Rika Nenpyo, with its more than 90 years of history, is published through cooperation with numerous research institutes.

Library

Collecting Specialized References from both Inside and Outside of NAOJ

Head: Tatsuya Todoriki

Collecting Specialized References from both Inside and Outside of NAOJ

As the central library related to astronomy in Japan, we collect, curate, and preserve books, magazines, audiovisual materials, microfilm, etc., for astronomy, space-science, and related fields. Although we focus on professional-level books, we also have general books. These references cover a wide range from the latest up-to-date scientific journals to important documents from the Edo Era.

Reading rooms are located on the 1st and 2nd floors of the South Building. You can examine our books at your leisure in these quiet rooms. The primary users are NAOJ members, collaborators, and students. But on weekdays (excluding national holidays), the library is also open to members of other institutions and the general public. In addition, cooperating with the libraries in NAOJ observatories scattered across Japan, we loan materials to libraries at universities and institutes throughout the country, and mail photocopies (for a fee) to people who cannot come to a library. We also hold regular exhibitions of important historical documents at the Observatory History Museum in combination with the Ephemeris Computation Office.

Chief of the Library: Tatsuya Todoriki

Activities

Storing Domestic and International Books on Astronomy and Related Fields

Opening the Library to the General Public

On weekdays, members of the public are free to use the library.

Preservation and Exhibition of Important Historical Documents

We store about 3000 books, including, Japanese and Chinese books especially those preserved by the Tenmonkata (Astronomer for the Edo Shogunate), almanacs, and occidental books.

Digital Journals for use by NAOJ Researchers

We offer approximately 5000 titles of digital journals centered on astronomy, space-sciences, and related fields.

Publications Office

We introduce NAOJ through easy to understand publications.

Head: Toshio Fukushima

We introduce NAOJ through easy to understand publications.

What kind of place is NAOJ? What does it do? Using various approaches such as beautiful pictures of celestial objects or vivid celestial object videos, stories demystifying the Universe, and depictions of the researchers who even see their research in their dreams; we communicate the appeal of NAOJ and astronomy to the people throughout not just Japan, but the world, through enjoyable pamphlets and public relations magazines packed with information, as well as harnessing the power of the digital publications trend. This is our role in the Publications Office.

At times we also include complicated academic papers or serious statistics, but normally we rephrase research results which seem a little complicated to make them easy for the readers to understand. There are various projects underway to make fun, lighthearted manga such as “ALMAr’s Adventure, Soraryuden: Legend of the Sky Dragon.” Please take a look at NAOJ’s pamphlets and other documents.

Chief of the Publications Office: Toshio Fukushima

Activities

Issuing the “Annual Report of NAOJ” and “Publications of NAOJ”

We produce the “Annual Report of NAOJ” and “Publications of NAOJ” as needed.

NAOJ News

Monthly issues introduce NAOJ research results and topics.

Pamphlet

We update the Japanese pamphlet annually and the English pamphlet every 2 years.

Other Printed Materials

We produce calendars, posters, leaflets, and other assorted printed materials for public relations /outreach and education.

Office for Astronomy Outreach

Astronomy for Everyone - In Cooperation with the IAU -

Supervising Direcer: Hidehiko Agata

Astronomy for Everyone! - In Cooperation with the IAU –

In FY 2012, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and NAOJ exchanged a memorandum of understanding to establish the IAU’s Office for Astronomy Outreach (OAO) at NAOJ Mitaka Campus. This office began operating as part of the Public Relations Center starting from FY 2014.

The Japanese staff supports the activities of the Office, led by IAU Outreach Coordinator Sze-leung Cheung (from Hong Kong) and Assistant Coordinator Lina Canas (from Portugal).

While handling numerous international events, we are building a cooperative relation with the National Outreach Contacts (NOC’s who serve as windows for outreach in each country); constructing a network between the various stakeholders including, armchair astronomers and astronomy clubs, in order to promote the popularization of Astronomy; compiling and managing a database including astronomy clubs, observatories, and research institutions around the world; issuing the IAU-OAO Newsletter twice a month; creating informational material including pamphlets and videos; managing IAU’s social media; and cooperating with NAOJ’s international relations and outreach activities.

Chief of the Office for Astronomy Outreach: Hidehiko Agata

Activities

Creation of the IAU Directory - an Inclusive List

We are creating and managing a database of astronomy related organizations around the globe (societies, clubs, schools, universities, research institutes, etc.)

Execution of the Name ExoWorlds Contest

We are conducting the NameExoWorlds Contest; the 1st round was completed in 2015.

Connecting Countries – Together with NOC’s in each Country

The IAU selects NOC’s (National Outreach Contacts) for each country and the OAO conducts astronomy outreach activities through the NOC network.

Connecting to People – Through Social Media

The OAO distributes astronomy outreach material, particularly through Facebook and twitter, to interact directly with people around the world.

Informing People – Through Sending out the IAU Outreach Newsletter

Anyone can read the “IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter” issued twice a month by the OAO. It delivers the latest information from around the world, covering everything from local events to international activities.

Explaining the Astronomy Topics that Everyone Wants to Know About

In addition to simple explanations of the latest astronomy topics, we also provide answers for questions the IAU has received from many people around the world over the years, for example, “What are the effects of light pollution?” or “How do I become an astronomer?”

Contact

Public Relations Center

2-21-1 Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588, JAPAN Google Map

South Building 3F/2F/1F

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