On June 20, 2015 (Sat), astronomy researchers of the Open University of Japan (OUJ; formerly the University of the Air) and members of CAIST/ARC-Space held a joint seminar at the University of Aizu Lecture Hall M7 Lecture Room.
Besides members from the UoA and OUJ, International Astronomical Union President Norio Kaifu was also included among the seminar's 18 participants. Out of the three topics provided at the seminar, one was provided by CAIST Advisory Board member Professor Junichi Watanabe of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. The seminar was followed by lively question and answer sessions, for which the allotted time was greatly exceeded.
Cluster Leader Demura provided information on the backgrounds and future directions of the University of Aizu and ARC-Space before providing an explanation on the solar system exploration mission that the cluster members are involved with.
OUJ visiting professor and Gunma University Professor Emeritus Akira Okazaki spoke of how even in the isolated Edo Period, rational explanations on the origin of shooting stars from overseas had been translated into Japanese and brought to Japan. Among the topics he introduced was the fact that there were popular books at the time that stated the idea that shooting stars were evil omens was a myth.
Professor Watanabe of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan talked about the events leading to the naming of Asteroid Aizu (*1) and about the Nisshinkan Observatory of the Aizu Clan. He also spoke about the significance of conserving the last remaining kandai observatory site from the Edo Period. The next day, many of the participants visited this observatory site (*2).
"Introduction of University of Aizu CAIST/ARC-Space and Solar System Exploration" University of Aizu Senior Associate Professor Hirohide Demura (left), "Memos on shooting stars left by Late Edo Period merchant" OUJ Visiting Professor, Gunma University Professor Emeritus Akira Okazaki (right)
"On shooting stars and the Nisshinkan Observatory of the Aizu Clan" National Astronomical Observatory of Japan Professor Junichi Watanabe (both photos)