IYA2009 Updates

Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum held in Bangkok, Thailand

12 February 2010

The 16th Session of Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-16) www.aprsaf.org was held in Sofitel Centara Grand Hotel in Bangkok on 26-29 January, 2009, which was jointly organised by Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) of Thailand and Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and Japan Space Exploration Agency (JAXA). It was attended by 310 Participants from 26 Countries and 10 Regional and International Organisations. The Theme of the APRSAF-16 was “Space Applications: Contributions towards Human Safety and Security“. Mr. F. R. Sarker, General Secretary, Bangladesh Astronomical Society (BAS) and a Member of APRSAF Space Education and Awareness Working Group (SEA WG) and Mr. Muzibur Rahman Howlader, the Chairman of Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARRSO) had participated in APRSAF-16.

In the Space Education and Awareness Working Group Meeting on 26 January, F. R. Sarker had made two presentations which included Celebration of International Year of Astronomy 2009 in Bangladesh, Total Solar Eclipse on 22 July, 2009, Celebration of World Space Week-2009 and the Meeting between Astronomers of India and Bangladesh in the Border on 21 July, 2009 which were highly appreciated by the participants.

During the APRSAF-16 Session Mr. F. R. Sarker and Mr. Muzibur Rahman Howlader had a Meeting and with Mr. Eijiro Hirohama , Director and Ms. Takemi Chiku, Associate Senior Administrator of Space Education Office of Japan Space Exploration Agency (JAXA) who agreed to hold a Space Education Seminar in Dhaka. In the Concluding Session of APRSAF-16 on 29 January, formal declaration was made by Mr. Surachai Ratanasermpong, the Co-Chair of Space Education and Awareness Working Group that the APRSAF Space Education Seminar of 2010 will be held in Dhaka , Bangladesh . However, the actual date for this Seminar will be announced later after discussions with the Government of Bangladesh.

On 23-24 January, two students from Bangladesh, Usama Amin Jarjis of ICL School, Enayetpur and Anam Arafat Amit of Maple Leaf International School of Dhaka lead by their Teacher Mamun Ahamed Sharif, Office Secretary of Bangladesh Astronomical Society, had participated in Water Rocket Launch Contest along with 36 students from 15 countries which was held in the premises of National Science Museum, Bangkok.

Special Spanish IYA2009 TV Program

11 February 2010

The Spanish TV station, TVE,  prodcued a special 20 min program about IYA2009 in Spain: http://www.astronomia2009.es/Noticias_AIA-IYA2009/La_Aventura_de_la_Astronomia.html

Sport and Astronomy meet for unprecedented Tour of the Solar System

10 February 2010

On Sunday October 11th 2009, a unique event called “The Solar System Tour” saw sport and astronomy enthusiasts run together towards the finishing line in Catania, Italy.

In celebration of IYA 2009, the organizers from the Observatory of Catania succeeded in building a Solar System over a 2500-metre baseline, with 3D models of the Sun, its eight planets and a comet all spread along the road, accompanied by panels with lots of information about our planetary neighbours.

Along the path, about 150 semi-professional and amateur athletes took part to a competitive road race over a distance of 5000 metres, followed by an astronomy competition open to schools. The latter race, featuring questions based on the information written on the panels, was divided into three categories depending on the age of the students. Twenty-three schools from Catania and neighbouring towns participated.

In total, the event scored a massive participation from over 1000 people. Many did not take part to either competitions, and simply joined for a walk through the Solar System — a rather original choice instead of the usual Sunday stroll!

More information about the event (in Italian) and a gallery of images are available at the website http://www.oact.inaf.it/visite/S_S_Tour.htm.

US IYA2009 Newsletter

9 February 2010

Dark Skies Rangers Program is now on-line

Through the Dark Skies Rangers Program, students learn about the importance of dark skies and experience activities that illustrate proper lighting, light pollution’s effects on wildlife and how to measure the darkness of your skies. A highlight of the program is the citizen science project, GLOBE at Night, which enlists the help of students to collect data on the night sky conditions in their community and contribute to a worldwide database on light pollution.

To learn more about the program and its activities, see: http://www.darkskiesawareness.org/DarkSkiesRangers/.


USA Science Festival - Washington D.C. Expo on the National Mall (Oct 23 -24, 2010)

A list of the exhibitor groups already registered has been posted on the website: www.usasciencefestival.org  

Although there are some astronomy groups signed up, please encourage greater astronomy representation -- especially from some of the larger national organizations.


A New Vision: Science and Tourism under the Stars 
The StarLight Foundation has announced a new initiative to encourage the use of science both as a resource for tourism and an essential part of sustainable tourism practices. The StarLight Tourism Certification System aims to ensure the quality of tourism experiences involving the nightscapes, the view of stars and the cosmos and the related scientific, cultural and environmental knowledge. For more information read their press release here: http://www.starlight2007.net/starlightcertification.html


Global Astronomy Month in April 2010 (a spinoff of 100 Hours of Astronomy)

100 Hours of Astronomy, a cornerstone project of IYA2009 held in April, was the first truly global outreach event in astronomy that wasn't based on a special celestial event, and one that was very successful in its goals of broadening participation beyond regular outreach enthusiasts and reaching the largest public audience ever.  The excitement was contagious as the idea of a global event encouraging everyone to look skyward swept around the world.  Afterward, the 100 Hours of Astronomy Task Group heard from groups around the world reporting larger crowds than ever at most of the more than 2300 registered events (and many more not registered) as worldwide publicity reached more of the public than ever before in national and local media.  And everyone agrees that the excitement should continue, with the great effort that went into making 100 Hours of Astronomy such a success continuing and building.

Now the network of astronomy organizers worldwide that spread the word and built 100 Hours of Astronomy is being incorporated into Astronomers Without Borders own growing network, in order to continue this effort and others after IYA2009.  Paramount among these plans is a 2010 version of 100 Hours of Astronomy called Global Astronomy Month.  With an even larger, combined network, proven success with a global event and existing infrastructure, the next version of this project can be even greater than before.  The platform will include more than individual events that everyone takes part in at the same time, with the entire month of April dedicated to programs of various types.  This will maximize the community-based, grassroots efforts that made 100 Hours of Astronomy such a great success.  Astronomy clubs and other organizations can make plans for their events at times that are most appropriate to their location and culture, can repeat observing events in the case of poor weather, and can learn from what others have done with time to plan their own similar projects.  There will be time for follow-up programs to successful events as well.  The big one-day events open to everyone will still take place, too.

Astronomers Without Borders will provide several tools that will expedite the global community's efforts.  The forum and gallery on the Astronomers Without Borders web site will be used for posting discussions of plans and results.  This took place in discussion groups of leaders worldwide in planning 100 Hours of Astronomy but these new public forums will allow everyone to see what the leaders are discussing so they can learn from their experiences.  New interactive tools such as audio and video connections will be added as well, making events even more collaborative and global in nature than before.  Event organizers have all told us that it was this sense of one big celebration that attracted astronomers and the public alike, and with the online tools we'll bring to April's effort that should be even great this time.

A list of suggested and planned events will be released soon but the list will keep growing right up to, and during, April.  It is the global outreach community's enthusiasm and innovation that made 100 Hours of Astronomy such a success, and these new plans will take advantage of what the tens of thousands of enthusiasts worldwide have to offer.  Details, ideas and the first of the concrete event plans will be released beginning with the new year -- the first post-IYA2009 year and one that should see astronomy awareness continue to grow.

Updates on GAM can be seen at http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/index.php/component/content/category/99.html   There is a lot of planning already underway with a group from around the world.  We should be underway with lots going online in January. 



Chris DePree conducted discussions with youth and adult groups at the Center for Visually Impaired (CVI) in Atlanta currently hosting FETTU-Braille.

Congratulations to Kevin Marvel

Eleven members of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), including its Executive Officer, Kevin B. Marvel, have been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.  Kevin Marvel was selected for outstanding service to the American astronomical community as Executive Officer of American Astronomical Society and for ongoing efforts to strengthen the alliance between the AAS and the AAAS.

Marvel, who has run the AAS Executive Office since 2006, said, "I'm delighted to be chosen as one of this year's AAAS Fellows, but I'm even more delighted to be in such illustrious company! Astronomers represent only a small fraction of the AAAS membership, but as the International Year of Astronomy 2009 has shown, our contribution to the advancement of science -- and in particular to the public's appreciation of science -- is second to none."


IYA Wrap-Up Reports


Galileoscope - Wrap-Up Report

The Galileoscope Cornerstone Project was designed to solve a long-standing problem in astronomy education and outreach: the lack of a high-quality but inexpensive telescope for student observations that is available worldwide. The project successfully addressed this problem through the design and production of the Galileoscope kit and the creation of educational and outreach materials localized in various countries on how to effectively use the Galileoscope.

The project was designed from the start to present a long-term solution to earlier telescope kit problems and to put largely self-sustaining and lasting structures in place. Because the project was built upon organizations committed in the long-term to astronomy education (e.g., American Astronomical Society, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Astronomical Society of the Pacific), education efforts with the Galileoscope will be sensibly maintained.

Through the end of 2009 the Galileoscope cornerstone project will have delivered 110,000 telescope kits to recipients in more than 70 countries worldwide; another 70,000 kits are in production for delivery during the first quarter of 2010. We have worked hard to develop, produce, and distribute Galileoscopes so that people everywhere can experience the thrill of observing lunar mountains and craters, Jupiter’s Galilean satellites, the rings of Saturn, and bright star clusters like the Pleiades through a telescope that they will be proud to own and that offers superior optics and mechanics, and demonstrable educational value, at an astoundingly low cost.

Our research on existing telescope kits did not identify a model suitable for the goals of the program. Thus, our team designed its own telescope kit superior to those available on the market at a production cost that allows sale at a very economical price. An extensive design effort was undertaken to optimize the optical and mechanical capabilities of the telescope and to make assembly by the user as easy as possible. In order to manage the effort, and having been unable to develop a manufacturing partnership with an existing telescope company, we had to form a new company, Galileoscope, LLC, to execute the project. Galileoscope, LLC, partnered with Merit Models of Racine, Wisconsin, for manufacturing and with LemanUSA of Sturtevant, Wisconsin, for distribution and shipping. Galileoscope, LLC, has had revenues and expenses through IYA2009 of approximately $2.5 million. Very careful management of company financials and contributions of personal funds by members of the Galileoscope team, combined with the all-volunteer effort from the participants, have made the venture financially viable and resulted in the success of the project.

It is very important to the Galileoscope team, and to the wider astronomical community, that this project continues beyond IYA2009. Accordingly, we are working on a plan to transition manufacturing and order processing to a new company led by our current manufacturer, Merit Models, of Racine, Wisconsin. Under this plan, the Galileoscope will be offered much as it is now, with the website (www.galileoscope.org) as the primary point of sale, and with our distribution system still relying on Leman USA and their Wisconsin, Copenhagen, and Hong Kong warehouses for distribution to all continents. As the project evolves from a volunteer effort to a professional, commercial enterprise, there will be notable improvements in customer service and reductions in wait time from order to delivery.

Importantly, the donation program — which has distributed about 6,000 telescopes to underserved youth worldwide, in cooperation with our IYA2009 sister project Developing Astronomy Globally — will continue under the new company, though with modifications to make it more effective. We recently received a donation for thousands more Galileoscopes for U.S. classroom teachers; this will enable us to augment our current educational efforts.

The educational networks where Galileoscopes have been distributed remain largely unchanged and intact. For example, in the U.S. Galileoscopes have been distributed through networks of small science centers, through the Association of Science-Technology Centers, through outreach centers of observatories, and through teacher professional organizations. Online training has been offered to many of these organizations, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory will consolidate the newly created training resources online in January 2010.


Puerto Rico Report (including FETTU) - Wrap-Up Report
November 3 - 7:
We had a successful first exhibition at the Interamerican University at Bayamón, Puerto Rico (November 3 -7, 2009). The event was organized by Prof. Dorcas Torres. The student volunteers helped with the events, serving as guides to the exhibit, distributing materials and as guides at the demonstration tables. Several physics demonstrations were presented with the concepts of waves and light. Special conferences (3) on astronomy were organized. One activity was to draw your favorite image. The public included students from the University, University employees, general visitors, students from local schools, teachers and senior groups (more than 1000 persons). Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37028095@N07/sets/72157622652380695/

November 10 - 14:
The Traveling FETTU exhibit was displayed at Mayagüez, Puerto Rico (Nov 10, 12-14)(Eugene Francis Hall of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus). Some 700 persons visited the exhibit including teachers, students, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts,college students and professors. The visitors were offered guided tours of the exhibits by Dr. Juan González Lagoa, Prof. Dolores Balzac, Prof. Sandra Troche, and volunteer students from the Society of Physics Students and the amateur society "Sociedad de Astronomia del Caribe". Students from the program "Science on Wheels" presented Science demonstrations and a special exhibit from the Seismic Network of Puerto Rico was presented by their Outreach Staff. 60 Teachers from the Educators Resource Center also visited the FETTU exhibit. Additional photos can be seen at the following address:

November 17 - 27:
The Traveling FETTU exhibit was displayed at Río Piedras, Puerto Rico (Nov 17 - 27, 2009) at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. More than 1000 persons visited the exhibit (students, professors, University employees, school children, and families). Visiting schools were offered guided tours of the exhibit. A “Family Day” took place on Sunday November 22 with guided tours, activities for the children (astronomy puzzles, How to Build a Solar Clock). For the family there was an educational Bingo denominated “A Jugar con Galileo” (“Let’s Play with Galileo”) and the presentation of the NASA/ESA/ASI movie “Ring World 2” about the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and its moons. On Nov 23-24 the Tactile and Braille Panels were displayed at the library of the School for Blind Children: “Instituto Loaiza Cordero para Niños Ciegos”. On Nov 24, Ms. Gloria Isidro made a presentation about the IYA2009 and adapted astronomy materials for students and teachers of the school. Photos at http://ltp.upr.clu.edu/astrolab/IYA2009/fotos_UPR_RP.html

December 3, 2009:
The Concert “The Planets” was presented again, this time at the UPR Río Piedras campus. More than 1000 persons came to this event in which the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra performed while the Video Suite form Adler Planetarium was displayed.

December 3, 2009:
“Open House” at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus for High School students. The invited schools were from locations adjacent to the University. Hundreds of students visited the Natural Sciences Faculty. A display with the theme of the Moon was presented to the students as well as information about the IYA2009. The students received a NASA lithograph about Meteorites (http://ltp.upr.clu.edu/astrolab/IYA2009/Reto/meteoritos.pdf )

and a lithograph about Careers in Science (http://ltp.upr.clu.edu/astrolab/IYA2009/Reto/cientificos.pdf ).

December 7 - 11, 2009:
The University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón became a participant of the International Year of Astronomy, with two concurrent activities: The Exhibition of FETTU collection of Images "Life of the Stars" from 7 to 11 December 2009 at the Mezzanine of the Library. The conference: "Aliens and Extraterrestrial Life" by Dr. Daniel Altschuler, former Director of Arecibo Observatory, and the presentation of his book "Aliens, Humans, Gods and Stars", held on

8 December to 11:30 am, at the facilities of the UPR Bayamón. This Conference attracted the attention of about 100 attendees, including students, teachers and general public. The presence of Chancellor Dr. Arturo Avilés González raised the profile of activity. Given the proximity of the Exhibition dates to the dates of final exams there was a large amount of students at the library, so it is estimated that over 2,000 students walked by the images, many looking at them closely. Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/37028095@N07/sets/72157622883462771/

December 18, 2009:
Closing Event for the IYA2009.
The groups that have collaborated in making the IYA2009 in Puerto Rico a success will gather at the Interamerican University of Bayamón for a Closing Event. 

400 Years of the Telescope Project (U.S. and International) - Wrap-Up Report
The United States National Science Foundation funded multifaceted initiative, 400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought, achieved unprecedented collaboration between planetaria across the globe, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, NASA Night Sky Network of amateur astronomers, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations and international broadcasters.  At the core of the project is 400 Years of the Telescope, a one-hour documentary highlighting the achievements of the telescope over the past four hundred years against the backdrop of the world’s major observatories and a planetarium program titled Two Small Pieces of Glass.

Two Small Pieces of Glass was distributed worldwide by the International Planetarium Society and translated into 13 languages to date. Produced by ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai’i, Interstellar Studios, and Buhl Planetarium at Carnegie Science Center, the program focuses on two students attending a star party and talking with a professional astronomer.  Along the way the students explore the history of telescopes and important discoveries about the universe. It features stunning visuals from Mirage3D, a Netherlands based production company, and a script from Emmy® Award winning scriptwriter Kris Koenig of Interstellar Studios.  The program has been praised for its excellent educational content and connecting amateur and professional astronomy.  Two Small Pieces of Glass is currently one of the most screened planetarium programs in the world.

The PBS broadcast of 400 Years of the Telescope reached 97% of US households with televisions and to date has been seen by over 2.5 million individuals.  The film was shot on locations across the globe, including the Netherlands, France, Germany, Canary Islands, South Africa, Australia, Chile, Hawaii, North America and Galileo’s final residence at Arcetri in Italy. It is the first PBS documentary to utilize 4K digital cinema – a recording process 5.5 times the resolution of high definition.  The film has garnered four peer reviewed Telly® awards for animations, writing, cinematography and documentary production.  Scinema Film Festival showed the film across Australia as part of it’s country’s National Science Week and awarded the project with the laurels of Best Director. The film has screened at several prominent film festivals including as a finalist selection at the CineGear Film Festival at Paramount Studios, and premiered the French version at Pariscience in Paris. International broadcasts include the Documentary Channel in the Netherlands, with upcoming airings on Spektrum TV (Hungary) and Ceska Programming (Czech and Slovak). Air Canada also screened it as an in-flight selection in July. CTV/Discovery Canada is handling international broadcast and educational distribution.  The documentary and music score performed by the London Symphony Orchestra is available for download at iTunes and through various Internet retailers.

Coordinated educational outreach programs in the US headed up by Southern Oregon Public Television and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, linked regional PBS stations and planetariums to encourage the public to attend star parties facilitated by NASA Night Sky Network.   The star parties were promoted on air with the broadcast of 400 Years of the Telescope and on the companion website www. 400years.org and supported hundreds of events to help encourage the general public to look up and look through a telescope – the primary goals of the International Year of Astronomy.  Collateral educational materials are also available on the extensive website that includes over 70-hours of interviews with some of the world’s leading astronomers.

A companion book under the title 400 Years of the Telescope has been written by Donald Goldsmith, Ph.D. and is available online both in hard copy and as digital book at Amazon.com.

Cultural Astronomy and Storytelling Projects and Activities - Wrap-Up Report

The cornerstone project for the cultural astronomy and storytelling group was to create films that reflect the diversity of astronomy. Our activities included hosting star parties, K14 visits, and cultural astronomy lectures.

- Hubble's Diverse Universe and Skies Alive!

Two films will be the result of the Cultural Astronomy and Storytelling group: Hubble's Diverse Universe and Skies Alive! Hubble's Diverse Universe focuses on African-American and Hispanic American astronomers and astrophysicists. The documentary shows the diversity found within the astronomy community. It premiered in July 2009 and continues to have showings throughout the USA. Skies Alive! will be a film that combines the winners of the Skies Alive! International film competition. Though the deadline for submission was originally Nov 15th, we have rolled this competition over into a 2010 event. See the Beyond IYA2009 section for more information.

- Star Parties

Star Parties are group events that include viewing through telescopes.  Though star parties usually take place at night, the team conducted both daytime and nighttime star parties during 2009.  During the daytime events Venus, the Sun, and the Moon were viewed. What made our team star parties unique is that we always had storytelling activities in conjunction with telescope viewing. We often partnered with professional storytellers who donated their time for IYA2009USA. Noteworthy are the star party with storytelling events that occurred in December 2008 and January 2009 at the Tucson Barnes & Nobles.  Though a national fundraising event, less than $100 was raised overall.

-School Visits

Team members visited schools to talk about astronomy, cultural astronomy, and IYA2009.


Cultural Astronomy lectures were included in IYA2009 activities nationwide.  As mentioned in the Diversity section, these lectures were events hosted by diverse communities.  IYA2009USA Cultural Astronomy and Storytelling activities also were reported upon at Cultural Astronomy conferences such as those of the AAS Historical Astronomy Division and the European Cultural Astronomy Society. Team members gave presentations in Kenya, Egypt, France, New Zealand, Russia, and South Africa.


The group lent their name to conferences and activities that were initiated by non-team members such at the Conference on Archaeoastronomy of the American Southwest in June.

-The Cultural Astronomy Summer School

The first Cultural Astronomy Summer School took place in conjunction with the AAS summer meeting in Pasadena.  The goal was to teach astronomy graduate students, postdocs, and educators cultural astronomy that could enhance their teaching.


Continuing IYA Programs and Plans

FETTU - Continuing Plans

- Plans for FETTU in 2010 in the U.S. include a continuation of the traveling FETTU to several new locations as well as the ongoing tour of the tactile/Braille exhibits. The anchor FETTU exhibits in Chicago's O'Hare and Atlanta's Hartsfield airports have been extended and will remain in place at least through June 2010. (A new version of FETTU will appear in Chicago's Midway airport as well.) Arrangements are being made to transfer these panels to two children's hospitals in the Chicago and Atlanta areas once the run in the airports is finished. Detailed timeline maps are being updated for the U.S. and international communities at

- Outside the U.S., numerous countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, India, Germany, Brazil, Canada, and others already have plans for FETTU into 2010 and more countries are working to follow suit.

- FETTU is happy to report more requests for exhibits coming in since the new year, with new locations in Peru, Germany, India, France, and Russia.  And in addition, representatives in Tanzania have been in discussion with Mozambique on possibly sharing their FETTU exhibit (donated by Brazil) when they're done with it.

- Braille exhibits will be returning to the MLK library in D.C. to be displayed during the AAS. The Braille display will also go to National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute over the summer including a trip to the National conference in Texas. Large distribution FETTU-Braille-tactile posters are in production; dissemination will begin in 2010.

- FETTU-NASA landed in Fayetteville Arkansas in December and will stay through Jan 2010.

- We are submitting a FETTU article for Mercury magazine's spring issue.

ASP - Continuing Plans

- Galileo Teacher Training Program

The ASP has recently hired a formal education coordinator, Dr. Greg Schultz. He and Andy Fraknoi will be planning future GTTP workshops. 

- IYA Discovery Guides will continue: http://astrosociety.org/iya/guides.html

- The Night Sky Network has a newly launched interactive public map for finding astronomy events in the U.S., further helping astronomy clubs bring astronomy to the public in 2010 and beyond: http://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/

- Cosmic Clearinghouse will continue to expand beyond 2009, as a permanent resource for anyone interested in astronomy, space science, education and outreach: http://www.cosmicclearinghouse.org/


NASA - Continuing Plans

With an unprecedented number of space science missions operating in 2009, the International Year of Astronomy could not have happened at a more opportune moment for NASA.  The gigantic leap in observational astronomy made by Galileo when he turned the telescope towards the sky, has been equaled by NASA’s missions.  IYA2009 enabled NASA to spread the excitement of astronomy to a wider and more diverse audience than before.  NASA IYA programs have increased awareness of astronomy across all walks of life, helped strengthen interest in science and science education, created new partners and enhanced collaboration across and beyond NASA.  We plan to keep the momentum going, particularly in the area of education of girls and women, and underserved and underrepresented groups.  NASA programs have whet the appetite of the uninitiated, and kept the dream alive for those already enraptured by the wonders of the sky.


Dark Skies - Continuing Plans

- Improvements and expansion of the GLOBE at Night website

- The new Dark Skies Ranger program with the Galileo Teacher Training Program and hopefully UNAWE.

- The Dark Skies Education Kits

- Improvement on the program to analyze the data from GLOBE at Night

- The How Many Stars Program

- The Great World Wide Star Count Program

- Dark Skies Discovery Sites (led by the Astronomical League)

The Cultural Astronomy and Storytelling Group  - Continuing Plans

-Hubble's Diverse Universe

The documentary film Hubble's Diverse Universe will continue to screen throughout the USA. A professional website is being created that will serve as a way for communities to request copies of the film to host their own screenings.  IYA2009USA has promised to pay to fabricate and ship copies of the DVD to schools that serve minority communities in the USA.

-Skies Alive! Film Competition and Festival

The film festival invites amateur and professional filmmakers to submit original works that tell a story about the sky, astronomers, or otherwise link to cultural astronomy. There are six film categories for the competition. The Skies Alive! Film Competition's website is also under development and team members are helping to raise funds for the competition. The deadline for submission is now set for June 2010 with the award ceremony set for November 2010.

- Cultural Astronomy Walking Maps

The Cultural Astronomy Walking Map project is an effort to get communities to create maps of those things that can be found related to astronomy including celestial street names, observatories, and sundials.  The project consists of a website (currently down) which has instructions, suggestions, and a place to download maps that already have been created.

- Special Issue of Communicating Astronomy to the Public

Jarita Holbrook has been asked to guest edit an issue of CAP focused on Cultural Astronomy and IYA2009 worldwide.  IYA2009 single point of contact have been solicited to write a small report on their activities that included storytelling and other cultural astronomy content.

- Astronomy Study Abroad

An astronomy study abroad was planned for December 2009 in Cape Coast, Ghana, as an IYA2009 cultural astronomy event. However, the twelve African students were unable to pay their fees so the Study Abroad has been postponed. The four University of Arizona professors are in discussion as to when is the best time to have the Study Abroad in the future. 


"40 Galileos" Project: Cincinnati Observatory Wins NASA Educational Grant

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected a proposal from the Cincinnati Observatory to continue and expand astronomy education for the next three years. The program titled, "Future Galileos" will provide 20 quality telescopes and training to 20 teams (for each of the next three years) to reach a wide and diverse audience and further astronomy education in the region.

These 60 telescopes and astronomers will join the 40 previous recipients of the extremely successful "40 Galileos" project conceived and implemented by Cincinnati Observatory Outreach Astronomer Dean Regas to honor "The International Year of Astronomy." The project was considered so innovative by Astronomy magazine that the publication awarded the Cincinnati Observatory their "Out of this World Award" for public programming. By 2012 there will be 100 telescopes in our community helping us to reach our goal of making Cincinnati, Ohio the U.S.A.'s premiere "Telescope Town."

NASA evaluated the proposal as "excellent with high intrinsic, scientific, and technical merit". 28 other proposals were selected for funding.

Teachers, students, and community leaders are encouraged to apply for the "Future Galileos" program. Applications will be accepted between January 1 and March 31, 2010. For more information or an application to receive your telescope please contact:

Dean Regas

Outreach Astronomer, Cincinnati Observatory Center 

(513) 321-5186;  deanobservatory@zoomtown.com;  www.cincinnatiobservatory.org

European Association for Astronomy Education launches its new website

9 February 2010

The European Association for Astronomy Education has just launched its new website and new initiatives: http://www.eaae-astronomy.org/

Media in Education newsletter

9 February 2010

The latest edition of the Media in Education Newsletter is available for download. This newsletter is aimed at anyone interested in developments, best practices, news and resources related to the use of media in education and is linked to the MEDEA Awards.

Tafelmusik back from tour

8 February 2010

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra has taken The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres on a four-city tour of California and Missouri, January 30 to February 6.  Stops on the tour include Kansas City, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Los Angeles.  The 2010 U.S. tour follows prestigious debuts at New York’s Carnegie Hall in February 2009, the inaugural Reate Festival in Italy last summer, and an October appearance at the Cervantino International Festival in Mexico.

The project has been nominated as Canada’s entry in the International Year of Astronomy’s 2009 Prize for Excellence in Astronomy Education and Public Outreach. The winners will be recognized in March 2010 at a ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa. In November 2009 The Galileo Project was the subject of a feature article in Hubble Space Telescope’s CAP Journal (Communicating Astronomy to the Public), and was the December 2009 cover story for International Arts Manager, a UK publication. In April 2009, the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid after Tafelmusik. Looking ahead to October 2010, The Galileo Project travels to Asia and Tafelmusik will make its debut in Kuala Lumpur. A Mandarin-language version of the project is being prepared for the Chinese stops on Tafelmusik’s tour itinerary.

To listen to Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Mozart’s final two symphonies…


Source: http://www.analekta.com

Astronomy enthusiast creates IYA2009 coin website

8 February 2010

IYA2009 supporter Prasanna Deshapriya ("Desh"), an amateur astronomer based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has been fascinated by coins since his childhood. He was browsing astronomy2009.org and saw a note from the IYA2009 Secretariat, calling for coin-experts to assist in cataloguing the many astronomy-related coins that have been released during the year. Seeing an opportunity to combine his interests, Desh decided to undertake this task and create a comprehensive website containing information on the year's IYA2009-inspired coins.

Says Desh, "there was not a proper source to get the exact information regarding all the IYA2009 coins. Therefore I hit on the idea of devoting myself to the course of gathering all the details of coins / numismatic material that have been issued in commemoration of IYA2009 from different parts of the planet. I scanned over many international and local sites plus Ebay and famous numismatic archives. Then I made a website that features the IYA2009 coins, so that without hassle, anyone could easily find and enjoy the picturesque beauty as well as the priceless value of these souvenirs that IYA2009 has left behind."

So far, more than 20 different coins issued from 12 countries / states have been tracked down and documented. Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malaysia, Republic of San Marino, Romania, Ukraine, and Vatican City have all issued numismatic material for IYA2009.

So does Desh have a favourite? Yes: " It's the Austrian IYA2009 coin."


See the website here: http://iya2009-coins.blogspot.com/

If you know of a coin that has been omitted, please contact Desh via e-mail: jdpdesh@gmail.com

Desh also runs a blog dedicated to IYA2009 and Beyond IYA2009 in Sri Lanka: http://iya2009sl.blogspot.com/

Soutpansberg Astronomy Club releases special commemorative publication

8 February 2010

The Soutpansberg Astronomy Club (est. 2002) has been involved in astronomy in Limpopo Province, South Africa for a number of years. Based in the town of Louis Trichardt 100 km south of the Zimbabwe / South African border in the northern Limpopo Province, the Club has enjoyed substantial growth since inception.

Now this organisation has created a commemorative issue of their publication, Limpopo Astronomy Outreach IYA2009. It contains information about various events, including visiting Ridgeway College, a dark sky weekend, planetary festival, Galilean Nights events, and many many more.

The Soutpansberg Astronomy Club provide an excellent example of an active astronomy organisation enthusiastically communicating astronomy to wide audiences.

The newsletter can be viewed online, here: http://www.foton.co.za/Soutpansberg_Astronomy_Club.htm

International Sidewalk Astronomy Night set for 20 March 2010

8 February 2010

Calling all fun-loving, cosmic-watching, telescope touting, global astronomers! Mark your calendars for the 4th Annual International Sidewalk Astronomy Night - ISAN, on Saturday March 20 2010.  Sidewalk groups, astronomy clubs, planetariums, space centres and observatories are gearing up to celebrate with our fellow brother and sister astronomers world-wide.

On this night, telescopes all over the world will be pointed to the cosmos and foster excitement, marvel and wonder in the eyes of the viewing public. Every year the momentum grows and so do the crowds.  The word is getting out and new groups participate every year. The stories are overwhelming.

A flyer is available for distribution and translation on the website - copy freely!  Help get these flyers into schools, public libraries, and public parks and recreation sites.

Visit the website and post your event here: http://www.sidewalkastronomers.us/id220.html

Based on a notice by Peggy Walker.

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Organisational Associates:

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