Trip goes to top male and female students in astronomy competition

The honor of participating in NASA’s International Space Camp goes to the top male student and top female student in the Panhellenic Astronomy Competition, which began in 1996 through the Astronomy and Space Society of Volos. The astronomy society’s president, Costas Mavromatis, says the syllabus for the competition is included in astronomy books distributed in the second year of high school. «But those students who have an inclination toward astronomy have already enriched their knowledge through scientific books and articles from reliable periodicals,» Mavromatis told us. «Every year, 350 students participate in the competition. Schools inform students about the dates of the competition, which takes place under the auspices of the Education Ministry. All high school students aged 16 to 18 with a decent understanding of the English language have a right to take part in the competition.» The first phase is named after Aristarchus (325-255 BC), the Greek astronomer who first posited that the Earth rotates. The second phase is named after Hypparchus (190-120 BC), another Greek astronomer and mathematician, who studied the motion of the moon. «The first phase of the competition takes place in February at the central high schools of prefectures,» Mavromatis explained. «The 40 top students in that competition then go to the second phase, which takes place in March at the First High School of Volos. The 25 top students from that competition receive financial awards, gifts, honorary diplomas and a free year of our society’s periodical, called Ouranos. The Municipality of Volos helps us with this activity. The competition’s aim is to further contribute to children’s occupation with astronomy, space travel and the secrets of the universe.»