IYA2009 Updates

Sidewalk Marathon in Erding, Germany

27 April 2010

On Friday 24 April 2010, the town of Erding near Munich in Germany began a star party with an exhibition with the local fine art club on the topic "the Tower of Babel". Two hours later, EurAstro's President Jean-Luc Dighaye kicked off an incredible Astronomy Marathon. At around 16:00, his Coronado started duty in the middle of the "Schranneplatz", initiating a queue of people waiting in the line which disappeared only eight hours later as the exhausted organisers collapsed under the demand!

Twilight inevitably meant that EurAstro's device had to be replaced with standard telescopes. These were used to first to look at the Moon, and later Saturn with its moons, Mars, and the Beehive cluster. Passers-by each enjoyed an estimated average 30 second look in one of the four 'scopes. Organisers estimate that 1500 persons, mostly astronomy novices, enjoyed the beauty of the Universe. A definitive driver for the success was a parallel running music festival, but the enlightenment through astronomy was definitely a point of culmination!

The event was organised by the Erding Sidewalk Astronomers (ESA). This time the team was comprised of Annemarie Sartini, who designed the logo and connected us to the fine art people, Michael Eichelmann who made the handovers and the posters, Markus Jaksch who managed to serve two telescopes, Christophe Claude who ran overall trying to give unity to the chaos, and guest star Jean-Luc Dighaye, ESA Godfather and solar starter.


Report by Dr. Christophe Claude
Visit EurAstro's website here: http://www.eurastro.de/

International Astronautical Congress registration now open

27 April 2010

Online registration, hotel accommodation, social events and tours booking forms for the 61st International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is now open. The early registration rate (and payment) deadline is 30 June 2010. The Congress will take place in Prague between 27 September and 1 October 2010.

It is believed that the IAC will help to increase general awareness about space related capacities and plans of countries in this part of Europe and, at the same time, it will motivate and stimulate activity of new space generation there. The theme is “Space for Human benefit and exploration" . 

All relevant information can be found here: http://www.iac2010.cz/

The Sky of our Grandparents

26 April 2010

The project "The Sky of our Grandparents", coordinated by the Science Museum of the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and the Institute for the Study of Traditional Literature (IELT) of the New University of Lisbon (Portugal), collected personal testimonies, stories, legends, songs, poetry and proverbs for a year and revisited the endangered sky, the bright sky that our ancestors saw, and the knowledge of astronomy that passed down from generation to generation.

The Amazonian Museum in Brazil was an active partner of this project. Germano Afonso, an ethno astronomer working at the Amazonian Museum with students of several ethnic origins, has discovered amazing facts about the astronomical knowledge of the different populations of Amazonia. The film "Our Ancestors' Sky" unveils us some of these facts.


Watch the film here:

Join in the Hubble Pop Culture Contest!

25 April 2010

In honour of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s 20th anniversary, the European Space Agency (ESA) is proud to present the ESA “Hubble Pop Culture” competition — a free competition that calls for everyone who loves Hubble to find examples of it in popular culture. Have you seen a Hubble image on the cover of a CD? Has Hubble been used as inspiration for art? Let us know and you could win great prizes!

When you find an interesting example of Hubble within popular culture, take a picture, write a quick caption and submit it to us. We are looking for examples that fit in the following five categories:

1. Most Artistic

2. Weirdest

3. Funniest

4. Largest

5. Smallest

Complete rules and regulations can be found here: http://www.spacetelescope.org/hubblepopculture 

The entries should be submitted on or before 1 June 2010.


Cosmic Concert - get ready for an unforgettable musical experience

24 April 2010

On Wednesday, April 28, 19.00 U.T., you can enjoy an online “Cosmic Concert”— a live piano solo performance organized in celebration of Global Astronomy Month (GAM2010).  This unforgettable musical experience is composed by Giovanni Renzo and takes inspiration from astronomical events such as pulsars, black holes and transformation of star maps into musical score.  Accompanying the music are videos by Valentina Romeo and Gianluca Masi.

This work by Giovanni Renzo is published in a book plus DVD entitled “Atlas Coelestis.”

Composer Giovanni Renzo was born in Messina, Italy, in 1962.  He graduated from the Conservatorio “Corelli” of his hometown in 1986, continuing his musical education in Rome.  He made his debut in 1979 as a jazz pianist.  In 1994 he founded and directed the Messina Jazz Orchestra.  He regularly plays in concerts and festivals in tour around Italy, alternating his concerts with teaching and composition.
Renzo has composed the music for more than twenty theatrical performances.  He won the Special Mention at the International Film Music Contest “Mario Nascimbene Award 2006.”  His first recording, “Eclisse” (1989), is a collection of piano solo compositions.  Then he produced “La distanza della Luna” (two editions, 1996 and 2007), “Il mare” (2001), live recording featuring Paolo Fresu and “Suono e ritmo quintet,” and “Infanzia” (2008), again piano solo.

Cosmic Concert is an online free event. It will be live streamed at: http://www.livestream.com/giovannirenzowebtv

Join us on April 28, starting at 19.00 Universal Time.


Global Star Party - time to turn our gaze upwards

24 April 2010

On Saturday, April 24, the Global Star Party gives you an opportunity to bring your community’s attention into sharp focus on the sky, in concert with your brother and sister astronomers all over the world.  All are invited, all will be excited.  It is amazing that when we turn our gaze upward, all religious, national, geographical, cultural and political barriers fade into the darkness. 

As you prepare for this day and evening of outreach, look for new ways of reaching the people.  Science centers, planetariums, and science museums are a fine start, but don’t overlook venues such as convalescent hospitals, rest homes, military bases, busy sections of town, and libraries.  Be ready to accommodate handicapped visitors to your scopes, including those in wheel chairs.  Be on top of your game with lectures, presentations, exhibits, telescope demonstrations, handouts, and star charts—and be ready to dazzle them with fun facts (not boring ones) about the objects you have captured in your eyepiece.  Get a local scout or school group to assist at your star party—have the youngsters ask questions, provide information, and even help run the scope.

Include daytime as well as evening observing.  Spark interest in our number one star, the Sun, by planning an Astronomy Day at the park with picnic.  And, of course, invite all your daytime guests to your Global Star Party in the evening.  Your local observatory may be happy to work with you to have an all-day astronomy event on their grounds.

Work with another club in a different country and set up an internet connection so that those attending your event can connect with others doing the same thing at the same time in a different part of the world.

You may have already publicized your event in the newspapers, but don’t forget radio.  If your city or town has a public radio station, they will likely be happy to announce your event—perhaps including an interview with you.  Find ways to attract attention—do your own version of 100HA’s Camel Cart!

Finally, be sure to register you event online with AWB/GAM, and come back afterwards and fill out your event reports and post your photos.  We all want to see what our friends around the world are doing.

April 24 is your opportunity to make the world a little bit better.  As Romanian astropoet Valentin Grigore put it, “If you have a starry sky in your soul, give a starry sky all around you.”


Sri Lanka holds observational astronomy workshop

21 April 2010

Following is a photographic report on an observational astronomy workshop held on 26 to 27 March 2010 as a part of UNAWE – Sri Lanka, Saturn Observing Campaign, Dark-Sky Astro-Tourism project and pre-Global Astronomy Month (GAM) program.


Global Astronomy Month Newsletter

20 April 2010

This week at GAM

Lunar Week kicks off

World Night in Defense of the Starlight - lights off, stars out!

Walking on the Moon - observe the moon remotely

Lyrids Watch - catch the meteor shower

Across the Solar System - Tour the solar neighborhood remotely

Global Star Party - get ready for the biggest party of the year!

Lunar Week 17 – 23 April

A week dedicated to Earth’s companion – Moon.

How to join –
You can celebrate Lunar Week by holding Moon themed Star Parties, talks, exhibitions, etc… Check the Lunar Week page for more ideas.

Join remotely –
Walking on the Moon is a remote observing program for Lunar Week by Virtual Telescope. Join this event for free on 21 April 2010 19.30 UT

Tweetup –
Tweet your Lunar Week experience and share the joy with everyone. http://twitter.com/GAMLunarweek

You can also send in your Lunar Week images via Twitpic

Register your events –
Don’t forget to register your Lunar Week events.

Other Announcements

GAM Picture of the Day
Have you got a great photo of your GAM event? Send it to gampod@gam-awb.org and we may choose it for the GAM Picture of the Day. Be sure to tell us who is in the photo, what's happening, where it is and when the photo was taken. And check out all the GAMPODs so far!

The GAM trailer -- 2-1/2 minutes of astronomy around the world accompanied by music -- is now available in Spanish and Romanian on the GAM Resources page.

The Dark Universe: A Cosmology Short Course for Museum & Planetarium Staff

19 April 2010

Dates:  September 24-26, 2010
Location:  Chicago, IL @ The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics
Audience:  Museum & Planetarium Staff (Informal Science Educators)

Website:  http://kicp.uchicago.edu/dark2010/

JENAM 2010: Call for contributions

17 April 2010

JENAM 2010 - The European Week of Astronomy and Space Science is an exciting event, spanning front line topics in Astronomy and Space Sciences and technologies, will be taking place in Lisbon (Portugal) on the week of 6-10 September.

JENAM 2010 will host seven Symposia:

  • From Varying Couplings to Fundamental Physics
  • Environment and the Formation of Galaxies: 30 years later
  • Dwarf Galaxies: Keys to Galaxy Formation and Evolution
  • From Macro to Micro Stellar Transits
  • Star Clusters in the Era of Large Surveys
  • Science Cases for Optical and IR Interferometry
  • The Square Kilometer Array: Paving the way for the new 21st century radio astronomy paradigm

Special Sessions, amongst which:

  • Astronomy Challenges for Engineers & Computer Scientists
  • Radio-Astronomy in Iberia
  • ESO - ALMA Early Science: opportunities and tutorials
  • ESA - Elements of the science programme
  • Astronomy Planning in Europe -  Towards an Even Stronger European Astronomy
  • New Trends in Global Astronomy Education
  • Education and Outreach after IYA2009 in Europe
  • Amateur and professional astronomers in Europe: how pro-am cooperation is changing astronomy
  • The 30 years of IRAM

Plus a number of Plenary invited and highlight talks, exhibitions and more...

Abstract submission and grant request forms can now be accessed at the JENAM 2010 website http://www.jenam2010.org/

The site has also been updated with relevant information such the programme calendar, registration fees and important dates.

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Organisational Associates:

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