U.S. IYA2009 Updates - October 2009

14 October 2009

White House Star Party Links, compiled as of 9 October 2009

Videos of the President speaking about astronomy:

President's speech at the White House Star Party from NASA TV



 Text of the President's speech:


President's earlier speech awarding the national medals for science and technology


Photos from the White House Star Party:


NASA Flickr site for posting White House Star Party photos:


(or go to Flickr.com and search on "White House Star Party")

White House announcement

on the main page of WhiteHouse.gov; see the link to the left under the WH blog



Astronomy Education Activities done at the WHSP



Most widespread news story about the WHSP (with a great quote!):

Associated Press (many newspapers)  

White House aims middle schoolers eyes to stars


So with the telescopes, astronomers, and costumes, was there an element of geekiness on the White House lawn?  "Does the geekiness need to be questioned?" answered Howarth, who hadn't quite donned his Newton costume yet.  "The nice thing is that people are paying attention to geeks."



Galilean Nights Oct. 22-24

Please register your Galilean Nights events now!  65 U.S. events have been registered so far.



Galileoscope eBay Auction

Read a blog post by Pamela Gay on the Galileoscope and the eBay auction. http://networkedblogs.com/p12393749

Galileoscope boxes were autographed during the most recent Dragon*Con convention by celebrities from Battlestar Galactica and Ghost Hunters International and were auctioned off on eBay in order to buy Galileoscopes for schools in need of science equipment.  The auction raised $470! Thank you to Pamela Gay for making this happen!


First Galileo Teacher Training Program Workshop in the US is a Success

"In the Footsteps of Galileo", an initial 2-day workshop to train US teachers on how to convey basic astronomical concepts in a hands-on way, took place near San Francisco on Sept. 12 & 13, 2009, as part of the 121st Annual Meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP).  Approximately 30 teachers from around the United States participated, and were joined by five astronomy education specialists (from as far away as Australia and Israel) who want to replicate the workshop locally. The workshop was led by Andrew Fraknoi (of Foothill College & the ASP) and Dennis Schatz (of Seattle's Pacific Science Center).  Other presenters included Connie Walker and Robert Sparks (National Optical Astronomy Observatories) and Suzy Gurton (ASP).  Among the areas covered in the workshop were:

* Research on Student Learning and Hands-on Science

* Jupiter's Moons: Galileo's Experiment

* Building and Using a "Galileoscope"

* Paper-Tape Solar System: An Easy Scaling Activity

* Measuring the Dark: Activities on Light Pollution

* The Moon Doesn't Phase Me: Understanding the Changing Appearance of the Moon

* Who is Your Hero: Creating Your Own Constellations.

Participants received a wide range of activity handouts and astronomy resource materials that can be put to direct use in

the 3rd through 12th grade classroom.


More information will be posted at:



Galileo Teacher's Workshop in Hawaii Educators from across the Big Island attended the recent Galileo Teacher's Workshop in celebration of the International Year of Astronomy. Teachers were given a Galileoscope to build and take back to their classroom. The Galileoscope is a cornerstone project for IYA, which honors the 400 years of telescope's advancement in astronomy. The workshop was sponsored by Gemini Observatory, TMT (Thirty Meter Telescope), Big Island Toyota and NELHA.   For more information regarding future workshops, contact Janice Harvey at jharvey@gemini.edu or visit http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/somk/.


FETTU Forum for Organizers

We've set up a blog page that we hope will serve as a forum for FETTU organizers -- and those who wish to become FETTU organizers -- can communicate with one another.  The idea is that this blog will allow people who are done with their FETTU materials to share with those who may like to use them.  Please see:



FETTU Braille Exhibit

As part of the "From Earth to the Universe" (FETTU) project, a NASA-funded tactile and Braille exhibit for the visually impaired community was launched in July 2009. FETTU panels for the visually impaired were produced featuring tactile displays as well as Braille versions of the caption material for a subset of the FETTU images with materials based on the book "Touch the Invisible Sky". The tactile exhibit is currently at the Atlanta Center for the Visually Impaired (Atlanta, Georgia), the Perkins School for the Blind (Boston, Massachusetts) and Columbia University (New York, New York) and will move on to additional locations this fall in Maryland, Arkansas, and Puerto Rico. For more information on the tactile display, visit http://www.fromearthtotheuniverse.org/tactile.php  

Hubble's Amazing Rescue Premieres on NOVA Tuesday, October 13, 2009 After nearly 20 years in space and hundreds of thousands of spectacular images, the Hubble Space Telescope's gyroscopes and sensors were failing, its batteries running down, and some of its instruments were already dead. NOVA weaves together the compelling story of this dangerous 12-day mission and its five pressure-filled spacewalks. For two years leading up to launch, NOVA followed the mission closely, with unprecedented access to every aspect of the endeavor, from NASA's training facilities for flight preparation to the historic mission itself. Hubble's Amazing Rescue premieres Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 8PM ET/PT on PBS (please  check local listings). For more information, visit www.pbs.org/nova/hubble


NASA's Multiwavelength Image Unveiling

NASA's Great Observatories - the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory - will release a new multiwavelength image to celebrate the culmination of the International Year of Astronomy. 152 institutions will unveil prints of the Hubble-Spitzer-Chandra view of the core of our Milky Way Galaxy in local events to be held between November 10 and November 30, 2009.  High-resolution files will be available after November 10 for institutions that would like to create their own prints. Visit http://hubblesource.stsci.edu/events/iyafinale/ for more information. 


Doug Isbell's Book

Congratulations to Doug Isbell, US SPoC, on the publication of his book, Observatories of the Southwest: A Guide for Curious Skywatchers. It is available on Amazon here: 



IYA2009 in the Columbus Day Parade

Donald Lubowich is planning to march with a float in the NYC Columbus Day Parade on Oct. 12 in NYC on 5th Avenue honoring Galileo while promoting IYA2009 and his NASA-funded Music and Astronomy Under the Stars program.  There will be at least 30 seconds of airtime on NBC (live broadcasts) and broadcast live to Italy.  I have been told that NBC plans to have a 3-4 minute segment on Galilei to lead off the broadcast.


NASA Launches Virtual Trip to Jupiter

NASA invites the public to travel to Jupiter from the comfort of one of 38 Science On a Sphere theaters around the globe. Viewers will feel like they are in orbit around the largest planet in our solar system as images based on data from NASA missions are projected onto a 6-foot sphere in the center of the theater. Called "LARGEST", the free, seven-minute presentation opens September 15. "The movie has incredible visual appeal," said astrophysicist Amy Simon-Miller of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who was a scientific consultant for the production. "We think it will engage people and get them interested in learning more about Jupiter and planetary exploration." 

To find the nearest Science on a Sphere theater, and for more images and information about Jupiter, refer to:  http://www.nasa.gov/largest  http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/multimedia/largest/index.html


IYA at CAP2010 in S. Africa - Call for Registration The "Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2010" (CAP2010) conference will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 15 to19 March, 2010. Following the previous conferences in this series, it aims to address the modern challenges in astronomy communication through a global perspective. Major themes of CAP2010 will be the outcome and legacy of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) as well as techniques for how to make public astronomical knowledge global and accessible to everyone across national, language, political, social and cultural borders and to those with impairment limitations. Abstract Deadline: 1 November 2009 Registration Deadline: 15 November 2009 http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/472/


IYA in the News


The Physics Teacher-Oct. Issue Vol. 47 pgs. 428-433 The International Year of Astronomy: New Approaches and Novel Resources for Physics Classrooms by Stephen Pompea and Douglas Isbell - wonderful and colorful article on IYA2009


NPR-October 1, 2009 Smithsonian Opens Observatory on National Mall by Renee Montagne http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113375026  

PBS in Arizona-September 1, 2009 Galileo Telescope: Celestial Views by Pam White http://ondemand.azpm.org/videoshorts/watch/2009/9/3/kuat-galileo-telescope/  - nice interview/piece with Steve Pompea on the Galileoscope


Resource Guide to the Moon for Educators

An annotated list of resources for helping students and the public to understand and appreciate the Moon is now available on the web site of the nonprofit Astronomical Society of the Pacific at: http://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/resources/moonguide.html

The guide -- for educators, amateur astronomers, and everyone who would like to know more about the Earth's only natural satellite -- covers our scientific understanding of the Moon as a world, the appearance of the Moon in our skies, and tips for observing the Moon through binoculars or small telescopes. It also suggests a few ways to learn more about the Moon in popular culture and historical events.

(This resource list is part of a series of guides for educators from the 120-year old Society, which is dedicated to improving the public understanding of astronomy and advancing science literacy. See all their materials at: http://www.astrosociety.org/education.html )


Honolulu to Host Largest Astronomy Meeting Ever in 2015

The worlds largest meeting of professional astronomers is coming to the Hawaii Convention Center in 2015. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) will hold its triennial General Assembly August 3-14, 2015, in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. A vote at this years General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, selected Hawaii as the location of the 2015 meeting. IAU General Assemblies are held every three years. 

The XXVII General Assembly held last month in Rio de Janeiro attracted more than 2,200 registered participants, exhibitors, and science journalists as well as additional accompanying family members. The next one will take place in August 2012 in Beijing, China. The August 2015 meeting in Hawaii is expected to attract some 4,000 attendees and will likely include the largest astronomy-related exhibition ever held at an IAU General Assembly.


First UNAWE Program in the United States: Discovering My Universe

"Discovering My Universe" is a Riverside County Library System program for a network comprised of 33 library branches and museum located in southern California. The program is designed to provide outreach to the immediate community of three million in the county area, over 40% of which are Hispanic, and to the broader community in southern California and beyond. 

The program introduces young children to their universe via a series of monthly library based pre-school and primary grade bi-lingual storytimes and related crafts during the International Year of Astronomy 2009 along with celebrating a special day of astronomy on or near October 24, 2009, in conjunction with the Astronomical League Fall IYA2009 activities. In subsequent years, the project will coordinate special library based storytimes on or near International Astronomy Day. 

The project will also add free downloadable Astronomy related storytime reading selections and craft templates on the Riverside County Library System website for educators or the general public to access, along with increasing the number of links to children friendly Astronomy sites on the Riverside County Library System Web site. For more information, see: http://bit.ly/FaDhU


"Out of this World: The Landscapes of Our Solar System" in Moraga, CA

You are invited to the Grand Opening of "Out of this World: The Landscapes of Our Solar System" a new art exhibition at the Hearst Gallery October 11 - December 13 and "The Top Tourist Sights of the Solar System: Where Bill Gates' Great-Granddaughter Might Go on Her Honeymoon" A Free Public Talk by Astronomer Andrew Fraknoi at the LeFevre Theater both at St. Mary's College of California in Moraga Sunday Oct. 11, 2009 starting at 2 pm. (Talk and panel from 2 to 3:15 pm, reception 3:30 to 5)

The exhibit features the paintings of some of the best known artists, depicting scenes of alien worlds. There will also be computer simulations, a scale model of the Mars Rover, films, Hubble, Mars Rover, and Cassini planetary images, and more. The curators of this special show are Carrie Brewster, the Gallery Director, and Ronald Olowin, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at St. Mary's. For information and directions, see: http://www.hearstartgallery.org


Cultural Astronomy Working Group Update and Events

Two requests from Jarita Holbrook <holbrook@u.arizona.edu>

I will be in Australia and New Zealand in November and am trying to arrange showings of Hubble's Diverse Universe while I am there. We will be in Sydney and the South Island. If anyone has contacts let me know.

Elizabeth Wallace who is running the Skies Alive Film Competition would like more IYA Volunteers to join her team. She can be contacted at efwallace@aol.com. We hope to show the prize winning films at the IYA Closing ceremonies. Also, contact Elizabeth if you would like promotional materials.


UA Ghana Astronomy Study Abroad: The deadline for registration is Oct 15th. The program will go if 24 students or more register. There are five $1200 scholarships to go towards airfare available for minority students.  http://studyabroad.arizona.edu/ 


Celestial Cinema: Hubble's Diverse Universe will be shown during the Women in Astronomy Conference in October, at Goddard Space Flight Center in November, and at Space Telescope in November.  In 2010 it will be shown at AAS Jan and NSBP Feb. We plan to release DVD copies in 2010. If you want to schedule local showings in November and December get in touch with Jarita.

(Jarita will be in Australia and New Zealand in November and is trying to arrange showings of Hubble's Diverse Universe while she is there. She will be in Sydney and the South Island. If anyone has contacts please let Jarita know.)


Skies Alive film Competition:

There are several categories of film that will be accepted. There is a submission fee but the project also needs about $1000.00. Film submission will be accepted through Nov 15th. Please circulate to potential filmmakers. Also, volunteers are needed, contact Elizabeth Wallace (efwallace@aol.com) if you are interested or if you would like promotional materials.  See website: http://ursa.as.arizona.edu/~iya2009cast/SkiesAlive.htm 


Cultural Astronomy Lectures: We have created an "Events" page in which we want to post upcoming cultural astronomy and storytelling lectures from all over the United States. Right now there are listed two lectures by me and one by David Dearborn. See our shadow pages: http://ursa.as.arizona.edu/~iya2009cast/Events.htm and  http://ursa.as.arizona.edu/~iya2009cast/opportunities.htm 


News from Puerto Rico

We had 483 students and teachers visit the poster areas and exhibits at the Division of Planetary Sciences Conference on Monday, October 5, 2009. The scientists talked with the students and gave them 30 minute talks. We have the Galileoscope on display and expect more students on Wednesday. This link is an article prepared by the IYA student volunteers (Starry Messengers): http://dialogodigital.com/en/node/2921


News from Canada

Q2CFestival.com will take a global audience from the strange subatomic world to the outer frontiers of the universe with the help of an international roster of 60+ cutting-edge scientists, writers, and thinkers. Perimeter Institute's 'Quantum to Cosmos: Ideas for the Future' festival, launching October 15, 2009, will provide one of the world's most interesting online destinations during this International Year of Astronomy.  The event will also commemorate the 10th anniversary of Perimeter Institute's creation and contribute to Canada's National Science and Technology Week activities. Join them online at www.Q2CFestival.com  


FETTU Opening in Iranian Parliament

"From Earth To The Universe" astronomy photo exhibition in Parliament of Iran inaugurated by Professor Yousef Sobuti, father of modern astronomy in Iran on September 27, 2009.  FETTU and a selection of astro-photos of the sky of Iran photo exhibition inaugurated in the presence of Ali Larijani, chairman of Iranian Parliament, members of the Parliament and Iranian professional astronomers.

Dr. Sadollah Nassiri Gheydari, professional astronomer, member of strategic council of Iranian National Observatory (INO) and member of education committee in Iranian Parliament, was the one who suggested an astronomy photo exhibition in Iranian Parliament. "I intended to bring astronomy among members of the Parliament and let them see the glory and beauty of the heavens" he said. 

Astronomical Society of Iran with cooperation of StarPeace non-profit NGO, organizer of StarPeace IYA Special Project, has organized the photo exhibition. As Dr. Jamshid Ghanbari, the head of Astronomical Soceity of Iran told, "this collection is going to be exhibited in other provinces of Iran and in International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) 2009 in Iran."

FETTU exhibition in Parliament of Iran is the only one of its kinds in Iran. It is a selection of 30 telescopic images of celestial objects and 20 photos of glory of the night sky above Iran's historical and cultural symbols.  Report by Irene Shivaei


USA Science & Engineering Festival

 The inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival -- a multicultural, multigenerational, multidisciplinary celebration of science and technology -- will be held in Washington, DC, next fall. It will culminate with an expo on the National Mall that will give more than 500 science and engineering organizations from all over the U.S. the opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Participating organizations are asked to create engaging, hands-on activities to be presented in a10-by-10-foot tent (or multiples thereof) during the expo. The goal of the festival is to have 1 million people celebrating science and technology on the Mall.

 The USA Science & Engineering Festival is modeled after similar events held in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, and Australia. These are typically 1- to 2-week festivals; they draw between 100,000 and 1 million people and celebrate all aspects of science through lectures, activities, exhibits, contests, theater, comedy, poetry, art, and music.

 The organizers of the USA Science & Engineering Festival created the highly successful San Diego Science Festival, which drew more than 200,000 people in March 2009 (see http://www.scivee.tv/node/12528). They're inviting all professional- and amateur-astronomy associations to participate in next fall's national festival and expo. There is no cost to participate if you indicate your interest by October 30, 2009 -- except the time, energy, and creativity to assemble and staff your booth. After October 30th, a small table-and-tent rental fee will be charged.

 If you're interested in becoming involved with what promises to be the Woodstock of Science, contact Larry Bock at biobock@mac.com or 760-846-3473. For more information, see http://usasciencefestival.org/ or http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=46922645272


D.C. January AAS Meeting 

There will be two IYA Special Sessions on Tuesday, 5 January.


- 10:00 am, IYA2009 and Beyond: Global Overview and Cornerstone Projects


- 2:00 pm, IYA2009 and Beyond: Outreach and Citizen Science Programs


- 3:30 pm, splinter session on Beyond IYA planning with IYA leaders and working group chairs


- 6:30-8:00 pm, "Hubble's Diverse Universe" screening


Upcoming IYA Presentations at National Conferences

AGU - Steve Pompea and Doug Isbell (as invited speaker) Dec 14-18, 2009 in San Francisco. 



Please let Andrea and Kristina know when you will be giving IYA presentations at national conferences. Afterwards, please tell us approximately how many people were in the audience.


If you have any other IYA news or publicity to report, please let us know!


Stephen Pompea, U.S. IYA Director, spompea@astronomy2009.us 

Andrea Schweitzer, U.S. IYA Project Manager, aschweitzer@astronomy2009.us 

Kristina Harding, U.S. IYA Project Assistant, kharding@astronomy2009.us 

Organisational Associates:

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is endorsed by the United Nations and the International Council of Science.