IYA2009 Updates

100 Incredible Lectures from the World’s Top Scientists

4 January 2010

Including 14 about Physics and Astronomy: http://www.bestcollegesonline.com/blog/2009/06/18/100-incredible-lectures-from-the-worlds-top-scientists/


Physics and Astronomy

Turn to this list of lectures to discover how scientists are harnessing the infinite wonders of the universe.

  1. The Physical World: Topics in these lectures from The Open University include quantum physics, Einstein, helicopter flight and more.
  2. Astronomy Lecture 1: What is a star?: Finally learn what a star really is and how we all fit into the universe.
  3. Quantum gravity in three dimensions: Andrew Strominger discusses quantum gravity.
  4. Challenge in Astrophysics: Sarah Bridle introduces the challenge to measure and identify the shapes of distant galaxies.
  5. X-rays from comets – a surprising discovery: Watch this talk to learn how comets can be X-rayed and what the images reveal.
  6. The Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy: Nobel Prize-winning Charles H. Townes talks about what’s next in terms of deep galaxy exploration.
  7. An overview of the United State government’s space and science policy-making process: Find out what driving forces control the government’s policy-making decisions in regards to science and space exploration.
  8. Loop Quantum Gravity: Carlo Rovelli discusses superstring theory here.
  9. Forty years of high energy string collisions: Gabriele Veneziano reviews what’s been going on during string collisions for the past forty years.
  10. What is the simplest quantum field theory?: In this lecture, Freddy Cachazo brings forth ideas of simpler quantum field theories.
  11. Physics III: Vibrations and Waves: Learn about forced oscillations and other physics properties here.
  12. Stephen Hawking asks big questions about the universe: Stephen Hawking asks questions about the beginnings of the universe, where humans came from and more.
  13. The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether and the Unification of Force: Anticipating a New Golden Age: Frank Wilczek introduces listeners to his new physics theory.
  14. Transitioning from the Space Shuttle to the Constellation System: In this talk, you will learn about the future of space exploration.
  15. The Second Law and Cosmology: Max Tegmark asks questions about entropy, temperature and equilibrium when studying the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

ESO Highlights in 2009

4 January 2010

The year 2009 was celebrated as the International Year of Astronomy and has proved to be exceptional both for astronomy and for ESO. Read more here: http://www.eso.org/public/events/announcements/ann1001/index.html

A New Vision: Science and Tourism under the Stars

4 January 2010

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. Read more in their press release.

Dark Skies Rangers Program is now on-line!

4 January 2010

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/.

IYA2009 News Round-up

28 December 2009

JoonAng Daily have a letter from Seoul National University's Prof. Hong Seung-soo. He's been to one of the last IYA2009 meetings, and decided to write about it along with reflecting on 400 years of human triumph. Prof. Seung-soo hopes that soon we'll have the "Cosmological Year of Astronomy". Do you have any idea how hard that would be to organise?!

Now to The Daily Times which has news from Farmington. Isn't that the setting for gritty US cop drama The Shield, which provided entertainment at an airport once? Let's hope so. Anyway, the E3 Children's Museum and Science Center have been celebrating IYA2009 with educational programmes featuring PLAY-DOH! "I thought Earth would be bigger than it is compared to Jupiter" said the amazingly-named Mistery Miller, who is a volunteer at the museum.

Have you been following the German Aerospace Center's Astronomy Question of the Week as avidly as you've kept up with the IYA2009 news round-ups? Probably yes, to be fair. The final instalment answers the question "How old is the universe?" They write four lengthy paragraphs before concluding "13.7 billion years". Oops, I just spoiled the ending for you.

Miller-McCune turn research into solutions, or so they claim. They've turned their eye to the ever-recurring theme of light pollution. They say that "the end of 2009 does not find astronomers in a celebratory mood" because of all these pesky street lights. Maybe 2010 could be the International Year of Finally Actually Doing Something About Light Pollution Please. Just expand Dark Skies Awareness. Easy as!

Hello, Public Radio of Armenia! Your story was high up on the Google News listing, so congrats. Looks like Armenia has been summing up IYA2009. Ooh, 18 September has been declared as a Day of Astronomy. Nice! The Armenian President has set up an astronomy award, and-- OH NO! "Coordinator of the international astrology year Areg Mikayelyan told reporters that astrology has glorious traditions and brilliant perspectives in our country." Astrology year? Epic fail!

Now I'm going to have to find another story to finish on. Thanks a bunch, Public Radio of Armenia. Ummm... Well there's one from Tenerife News, but it's quite short. And there's one in foreign, so no use in asking me what it's actually about. Oh oh oh, this one will do. Thanks muchly, The Roanoke Times, for providing an article about celebrating the 400th anniversary of modern astronomy. It goes through Galileo's discoveries, gives some interesting facts, and even uses the phrase "calendar juggling". Marvellous.

Astro Book Drive - Update

26 December 2009

Ivoir’Astro is an association of amateur astronomers in Côte d’Ivoire. With the launch of IYA2009, they took the challenge of spearheading the National Node of Côte d’Ivoire; as a result they have managed to organize various programs.


As an appreciation to their efforts, EurAstro will be running a book drive to facilitate Ivoir’Astro to improve their astronomy outreach efforts. EurAstro hopes to donate books, leaflets, other materials and a small telescope as well.


Read more… http://astrodrive.lakdiva.net/projects/ivoire_bookdrive.html



Other Book Drives:


Rwanda Book Drive – Southern friends join in for the cause

Read more… http://astrodrive.lakdiva.net/projects/rwanda_bookdrive.html


Jamaica Book Drive – Northern Lights reach the Land of Wood and Water

Read more… http://astrodrive.lakdiva.net/projects/jamaica_bookdrive.html


Mozambique Book Drive – 15 Girl Scouts helping towards the astronomy education in Mozambique 

Read More… http://astrodrive.lakdiva.net/projects/mozambique_bookdrive.html



Upcoming Book Drives:

Currently I’m working on Book Drives for Tanzania, Zambia and Afghanistan.




Be a part of it:


In many developing countries, lack of resources comes against having a good education. But the potential and the enthusiasm of the students in these countries are immense. In countries such as these, “with a minimum effort you can harvest a lot of potential”.


You and your organization can be a part of it by running a book drive; your efforts will count forward for the development of astronomy education in developing countries.


If you would like to help towards running a book drive please get in touch with me and you can see more information at;





To learn more about the Astro Book drive please visit:




Astro Book Drive was launched last September, and it’s still taking its baby steps towards a greater cause. Since its establishment many have helped in various ways to make it a success. I would like to take this moment to thank everyone who helped in this cause. Your support is contributed towards to improvement of astronomy education in developing countries.

IYA2009 Updates

25 December 2009

Japanese stargazers turn to the skies

“Ten Millions' Star Gazing” is a Japanese IYA2009 project, which aims to let general public see beautiful stars, the Moon, or even a virtual Universe during 2009.

More information: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/701/


Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada celebrate IYA2009

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 has, for the small islands of Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada in the southern Caribbean, been a landmark period in communicating the wonders of the Universe to the general public.

More information: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/700/


IYA2009 news from Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has been very busy with IYA2009 activities recently: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/699/


TWAN Newsletter: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/698/


Havana has a new planetarium

A new planetarium has just opened in the Cuban capital, Havana. http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2009/12/24/19264/cuba_already_counts_with_a_planetarium.html


Close IYA2009 by journeying into a black hole!

To celebrate the closing of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, AthenaWeb and the scientific magazine Science et Avenir invite you to an incredible virtual space odyssey. http://www.athenaweb.org/backoffice/newsletter/preview.php?id=28


Galilean Nights: astrophotography competition winners

Many congratulations to the winners and runners-up of the Galilean Nights Astrophotography competition. The judges had a difficult task in assessing the many excellent entries and the winning photos were of outstanding quality. http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/697/


Japanese stargazers turn to the skies

25 December 2009

“Ten Millions' Star Gazing” is a Japanese IYA2009 project, which aims to let general public see beautiful stars, the Moon, or even a virtual Universe during. 2009. The initiative includes facilities such as science museums, planetariums, and public observatories, and also various amateur groups who announce interesting astronomical events from time to time on the web, and provide general people various opportunities to observe.

Project organisers count the number of people attending  the various events, and total number is summed up by collecting information from these facilities together with the huge personal reports put directly on the web. On 16 December the counter on the web exceeded 6.4 million: around 5% of Japan's population! This result is attributed the hard work and dedication of thousands of volunteers throughout the country who have performed various astronomical events of very high quality. You can still take part in this project by reporting your record on seeing stars.

For more information, a website in English is available at:  http://star2009.jp/index_e.php

Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada celebrate IYA2009

25 December 2009

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 has, for the small islands of Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada in the southern Caribbean, been a landmark period in communicating the wonders of the Universe to the general public.

Key activities during the Year include large public star parties in April and December giving hundreds the opportunity to identify constellations and view planets, galaxies and nebulae; informal sidewalk observing events which allowed thousands of people to look through a telescope for the first time; upcoming Galileoscope giveaways for young enthusiasts, complete with a locally published book of observing projects; a first-of-its-kind, multi-day event in Grenada with lectures and observing sessions for the public; and Developing Astronomy Globally-sponsored telescope donations and logistical support for the establishment of Grenada's first astronomy club.

IYA2009 has culminated with Trinidad's hosting of the prestigious International School for Young Astronomers, featuring students and lecturers from around the world.

IYA2009 news from Puerto Rico

25 December 2009

Puerto Rico has been very busy with IYA2009 activities recently, writes SPoC Carmen A. Pantoja.

We received the From Earth To The Universe (FETTU) Travelling Exhibit during the month of November. We moved the panels to three locations, and displayed the Braille panels at the school for blind children (2 days).

November 3 - 7:
We had a successful first exhibition at the Interamerican University at Bayamón, Puerto Rico (November 3 -7, 2009). The event was organised 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 organised. One activity was to draw your favourite 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 Travelling 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 programme "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: http://ltp.upr.clu.edu/astrolab/IYA2009/fotos_UPR_Mayaguez.html

November 17 - 27:
The Travelling 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 are here: 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. http://www.flickr.com/photos/37028095@N07/sets/72157623012301026/

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 2000 students walked by the images, many looking at them closely. These activities were organised by the Department of Physics, UPR Bayamón, under the direction of Dr. Javier Ávalos, Director of the Physics Department and sponsored by the  Puerto Rico NASA Space Grant Consortium. Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/37028095@N07/sets/72157622883462771/

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 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.

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Organisational Associates:

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