Science Communication & Public Engagement


We love to engage with people of any background, offering summer workshops, discussions, exhibits and more. We are happy to co-operate with other organizations to carry out exciting public projects.

Project communication is at the core of our public engagement activities. We select content from the research projects at our institute and prepare it in a way that is meaningful to people without a scientific or technological background. For example, we developed a set of activities and educational materials about solar physics and space weather in the context of the European research projects HELIO, HESPE and FLARECAST but useful beyond these projects. Some of our activities are developed, and take place, at Raumschiff – the Maker-Space for Astronomy. Some products for making science and open data accessible to the large public are the results of student projects.

Focusing on informal learning environments, we work with the concept of learning ecologies – a topic of research in itself. We participate in the EU-Horizon 2020 project SySTEM 2020, a research project analysing individual learning ecologies, among others.

Outreach / Public Engagement for the Swiss Space Office

Space Exchange Switzerland SXS

SXS is a consortium of five Swiss educational institutions with EPFL as the leading house. It is dedicated to amplify existing opportunities offered by institutions such as the European Space Agency (ESA) or the European Commission (EC) which shall find their target audience. 

The Institut for Data Science FHNW is responsible for the compilation of a catalogue of professional development opportunities related to space and for outreach activities.

In this context, we have the opportunity to develop and test a prototype Open Science Club. As the rooms are scarce at FHNW, this will take place at Raumschiff – the MakerSpace for Astronomy in Dübendorf.

Interested in space activities and opportunities in Switzerland?

Research in Informal Learning

SySTEM 2020

Connecting Science Learning Outside The Classroom

We participated as a third party in this EU-Horizon 2020 project in the field of Science with and for Society (SwfS).

Research was carried out at Raumschiff – the MakerSpace for Astronomy.

Products and Resources

Solar Flare Watch

Make your own gadget that lights up when the sun is active, e.g during a solar flare. Use near-realtime data from the GOES satellite and an Arduino. This is a collaborative work in progress. The code is available on github.


is an app developed at FHNW. The timeline helps you find interesting solar events on, NASA’s app to explore solar data.

Science on a Table

We observe the Sun, our star, from different places and in many wavelengths. This exhibit shows different facettes of solar observation. It is designed as a communication tool between visitors and scientists. Transport by train or car possible. Website

Explosive or quiet?

Data-driven solar activity for public events. Visitors use and  to explore the sun. They can print their favourite picture to take home. A great communication tool between visitors and scientists. We offered it twice at the Science Museum London.


Wie wird das Weltraumwetter morgen? Sonnenaktivität und ihre Auswirkungen, Dr. Marina Battaglia, FHNW. Hintergrundinformationen für Lehrer, Dozentinnen, Medien, Museen, Amateurastronominnen und alle Interessierten. Download

Outreach Resources

A collection of resources for public engagement activities. Materials are related to solar flare forecasting and the wider field of solar physics. You are welcome to use them for your outreach activities. Link

SKA Lego Model

Have visitors playfully find out how the SKA telescope will be set up. Once Legos for 200 Antennae, now a few less:-) Combine with videos, 3D glasses and other outreach material available through SKA. We are happy to lend it to you by post. hanna.sathiapal (at)

Floating in Space

Ist es möglich, virtuell eine nie dagewesene Raumerfahrung zu erzeu
gen? Zwei Studierende haben eine App entwickelt, testen Sie selber im Raumschiff – der Werkstatt für Astronomie.


We offer guided workshops and open tinkering and exploring activities on occasions like holiday camps or in museums. This is our current repertoire.



Public Talks

We offer talks on public occasions or on request.
This is our current repertoire. Please let us know if you are interested in a different topic within our area of expertise.


  • Die Raumsonde Solar Orbiter und das an der FHNW gebaute Röntgenteleskop STIX. Prof. Dr. Säm Krucker
  • Wie wird das Weltraumwetter morgen? Dr. Marina Battaglia
  • Die Geheimnisse des dunklen Universums: Dunkle Materie und die ESA Mission Euclid. Prof. Dr. André Csillaghy
  • Schwarze Löcher. Über untote Sterne, die ihre lebendigen Artgenossen essen, die Raumzeit krümmen und über die Rolle, die sie in unserer Galaxie und im Universum spielen. Dr. Cédric Huwyler
  • Data Science in Astronomie und Heliophysik. Prof. Dr. André Csillaghy

Contact: hanna.sathiapal (at)