December 18, 2013
The CosmoQuest virtual research facility received an early New Year’s gift this year: XE.com, makers of the world’s favorite foreign exchange app and website, has sponsored the 2014 production of their online astronomy and science education videos. These videos provide public access to astronomy seminars, discussions, conferences, and even virtual star parties. This vast array of programming is collected together through the 365 Days of Astronomy Project.
“Private donations like this are a much needed lifeline as we face NASA spending cuts and other federal budget cuts,” said Dr. Pamela Gay (Principal Investigator, CosmoQuest). “Without this donation from XE.com, we would have struggled to continue into the New Year. XE.com is allowing our global community to continue to learn science for free.”
The 365 Days of Astronomy (365DoA) project originated in 2009 as the official podcast of the International Year of Astronomy (A UN endorsed celebration of astronomy). Produced from contributed community content, as well as in-house programming, this daily podcast and video channel strives to provide a global perspective on what’s in our sky, and what inspires people about astronomy. Since its launch, hundreds of voices from around the world have shared everything from their childhood stargazing adventures to their professional journeys toward making some of the past century’s most remarkable discoveries. 365DoA received the 2009 Parsec Award for Best Infotainment and was a finalist for the award in 2010-2012.
In 2013, 365DoA joined the collaboration behind CosmoQuest and began to include video content in its programming. Today, the 365 Days of Astronomy YouTube channel hosts live recordings of numerous weekly shows, including: Astronomy Cast, Learning Space, the Weekly Space Hangout, and the Virtual Star Party. They also help astronomy conferences to archive presentations and create content around special events.
“Sponsoring CosmoQuest and its 365 Days of Astronomy programming is XE’s way of investing in creating a more scientifically literate future,” said Steven Dengler, CEO of XE.com. “Science education is the cornerstone of our modern society, and we are proud to help CosmoQuest ignite the spark of scientific interest and learning around the world.”
XE.com Inc. is one of the last remaining independent first-wave Internet companies. Founded in 1993, it is a privately held Canadian company focused on facilitating global commerce. It runs XE.com, the world’s most popular currency website, and also makes “XE Currency”, the world’s most downloaded currency app. Billions of dollars have been processed through its XE Trade money transfer service, launched in 2002, and thousands of clients around the world rely on XE’s Currency Data Feed Service for foreign exchange rate updates. Located north of Toronto, it was recently named as Canada’s Top 50 Small and Medium Employers for 2014. XE is proud to use a share of its profits to support science and education.
CosmoQuest is the first virtual research facility designed to provide the public with research and learning experiences that parallel the opportunities enjoyed by professionals. Through a combination of NASA-funded citizen science projects, online classes, seminars, and even planetarium shows, CosmoQuest community members can learn and do space science for free from anywhere with an internet connection. The primary organizational partners behind CosmoQuest are Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Astrosphere New Media Association.