IYA2009 Updates

.Astronomy 2009: Workshop on Astronomy and the New Media

27 November 2009

Next week, from 30 November to 4 December, an unconventional workshop takes place in Leiden, The Netherlands, to discuss novel concepts of thinking and working in astronomy today. Participants of the .Astronomy conference (read: dot astronomy) will explore new ways of exploiting the data deluge that will be produced by upcoming surveys and instruments for the benefit of their science and of society as a whole. Novel ways of communicating science to a wide audience have burst onto the scene in recent years: the web 2.0, blogs, podcasts and social networking.

Google Sky and Microsoft’s Worldwide Telescope have brought astronomy into the home with stunning elegance. No science is better suited to engaging the general public in real scientific research and discovery than astronomy. Examples of this are the hugely popular Galaxy Zoo project, or the increasing number of robotic telescopes made available to citizen scientists for scientific and educational purposes. Online communication and network-based technologies are changing the face of science, for professional astronomers as well as for the general public.

In 2008 the first .Astronomy conference took place in Cardiff. The second edition is taking place at the Lorentz Center of Leiden University. Some of the themes covered during the meeting are citizen science projects, new media for outreach and communication, network-based research tools and data visualisation. One day of the meeting is a dedicated ‘Astronomy Hack Day’ where the topics above will be explored in a hands-on way. Developers will brainstorm about new ideas and applications. One of the objectives of the meeting is to come up with a new citizen science project, where the general public is invited to be directly involved in producing new scientific results. The morning talks of the .Astronomy workshop will be streamed online.


Dr. Carolina Ödman

Tel: +31 (0)71 527 58 16

Mob: +31 (0)6 41 275 298

E-mail: odman@strw.leidenuniv.nl

Dr. Sarah Kendrew

Tel: +31 (0)71 527 84 56

E-mail: kendrew@strw.leidenuniv.nl


.Astronomy 2009 is an event of the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

.Astronomy 2009 is supported by the Lorentz Center, NWO, ASTRON, the European programme RadioNet, the British Council/Platform Beta Techniek's Partnership in Science programme and the Royal Astronomical Society.




Twitter: @dotastronomy

Blog: http://www.dotastronomy.com/

Original press release on www.astronomie.nl/

Galileo’s telescope back from space

25 November 2009

Galileo’s telescope back from space: STS-125 mission astronauts on visit to Florence, December 18

On December 18 the replica of Galileo’s telescope launched into the space last May aboard the shuttle Atlantis will come back to Florence, at the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza (re-opening soon as Museo Galileo). The telescope will be officially returned by captain Scott Altman and mission specialist Michael Massimino during a public ceremony to be held in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, at 5:30pm.

Altman and Massimino will be accompanied by ESA astronaut, Paolo Nespoli and Simonetta Di Pippo, director of the Human Spaceflight Program of the European Space Agency (ESA). They will be welcomed by Florence Mayor, Matteo Renzi, the director of the Museum of the History of Science, Paolo Galluzzi, and the director of the Astrofisical Observatory in Arcetri, Francesco Palla. During the ceremony the STS-125 mission will be presented and striking films will be shown.

The Florence event is part of the two astronauts’ European tour, that will stop in Paris and Rome as well. The tour is promoted by ESA to awaken European citizens to importance of human spaceflight in contemporary society.

The Atlantis crew of seven took off on May 11, 2009 from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral to repair and refurbish the Hubble space telescope. Once into the space, the astronauts celebrated the four-hundredth anniversary of Galileo’s celestial discoveries by pointing to the stars a replica of the revolutionary telescope, provided by the Museum of the History of Science, where the original instrument is kept.

A few hours before the launch, Massimino declared to be honoured to bring the historical telescope into the space. He hoped to have the opportunity to visit Florence and bring the telescope back personally. His wish is now to be fulfilled. The telescope back from space will deserve a place of honour in the Museo Galileo’s permanent exhibition.

Image credit: NASA

More information: http://www.imss.fi.it/

400 Years of the Telescope: educational video clips

25 November 2009

Enjoy the insightful and educational video clips drawn from over 70 hours of interviews with the world's leading figures in astronomy, shot during the filming of 400 Years of the Telescope.


The Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal #7 is out.

25 November 2009

 The Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal #7 is out: http://www.capjournal.org/issues/07/index.php

The printed copies of the CAPjournal are on their way to those who have subscribed to the free printed version. Please subscribe at this link if you wish to have a printed version: http://www.capjournal.org/subscription.php

In astronomy communication we often use the word astronomy as a blanket term to cover anything that has to do with space, i.e. astrophysics, space exploration, space sciences, human space flight, Earth observation, astrobiology, amateur astronomy and all related sciences and technologies. And if there is a single astronomy project that touches on all of these, that project is the ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope.

Hubble has been an astronomical powerhouse for the last two decades. Its discoveries have captured the imaginations of scientists and citizens alike, and have regularly thrust Hubble into the limelight. Hubble images are appreciated for their aesthetic appeal as well as their illustrative power: they convey the beauty of the Universe, even to those who are too young to understand their context or implications.

In May this year, tuning in across the whole media spectrum, including television, blogs, newspapers, magazines, tweets and Facebook, the world followed the smooth, precise and professional movements of the astronauts as they carried out a flawless servicing mission. The Hubble Servicing Mission 4 (SM4) brought Hubble back to full performance level and we are all eagerly waiting to hear about the latest discoveries to come out of the revived Hubble.

In this issue, Ray Villard, a veteran communicator at the Space Telescope Science Institute describes his excitement at communicating SM4 in an innovative way: as a series of webcast programmes that took us behind the scenes of the technologically demanding and challenging Hubble Space Telescope repair mission.

Also in this issue, Tijana Prodanovic gives us ten golden rules to enhance presentations; our regular contributor, Matthew McCool, guides us through the jungle of free astronomy software available and Henri Boffin and Diane Scherzler share their feelings about the love-hate relationship between astronomers and the media.

Between issues you can stay in touch through our website, www.capjournal.org, where you will find the current issues in PDF format, an astronomy communication and education job bank, submission guidelines and back issues.

We also welcome astronomy and science communication events (conferences, meetings, etc.), training opportunities, job postings or courses offered. If you have astronomy and science communication-themed products such as books, DVDs, television programmes, magazines or websites that you would like to see reviewed by the CAPjournal editorial team, simply send the necessary information to: editor@capjournal.org. This is also where to send any questions, comments or opinions. 

IYA2009 Sessions at the D.C. AAS Meeting

25 November 2009

Information is current as of 11 November 2009, but could change. All times are Eastern Time.


--- Sunday, 3 January ---


- 9:00 - noon, workshop Building on IYA: The Galileoscope Program


- 1:00 - 5:00, workshop Building on IYA: The Dark Skies Awareness Program


--- Monday, 4 January ---


- TBA, requested time to hold a Monday IYA press conference


--- Tuesday, 5 January -IYA Sessions ---


- 9:30 am and all day, IYA poster papers


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

  Galileoscope (Stephen Pompea)

  Dark-Skies Awareness (Connie Walker)

  From Earth to the Universe (Kimberly Kowal Arcand and Megan Watzke)

  New Media (Pamela Gay)

  Canadian IYA Programs (Jim Hesser)

  Puerto Rico IYA Programs (Carmen Pantoja)

  Global Programs, Galilean Nights (Lars Lindberg Christensen and Pedro Russo)

  Closing statement (Doug Isbell)


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

  NASA IYA Programs (Hashima Hasan)

  Astronomical Society of the Pacific IYA Programs (Jim Manning)

  IYA In NYC: Urban Outreach In A Diverse Community (Jason Kendall)

  Citizen Sky, IYA 2009 and What's To Come (Rebecca Turner, A. Price, A. Henden)

  IYA in Atlanta (Chris De Pree)

  The Mauna Kea Observatories Outreach Committee Brings Astronomy To The Hawaiian Public (Ingeborg Heyer)


- 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 and panel discussion

Panelists will include Dara Norman and Marcel Agüeros


BLAST! will be showing at the AAS DC Meeting on Wednesday, January 6th at 7pm in the Wardman Hotel's Thurgood Marshall Hall North. There will be a Q&A after the screening with Director Paul Devlin and BLAST! Team Member Matthew Truch


The Spanish parliament is celebrating today the closing ceremony of IYA2009 in Spain.

25 November 2009

The Spanish parliament is celebrating today the closing ceremony of IYA2009 in Spain. The ceremony will be hosted by José Bono, president of the congress. Rafael Rodrigo, president of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) and of the National Comission of Astronomy (CNA), Catherine Cesarsky, former IAU president, and Montserrat Villar-Martín, IYA2009 Spanish SPoC will also participate. 

The “Pequeña Serenata Nocturna”, a suite of videos which combine astronomy, music (Mozart), visual arts and literature (Cervantes and Quixote), will be presented during the ceremony. It is a special Spanish production for IYA2009.

14th Annual International Symposium “The Public Face Of Space”

24 November 2009

STRASBOURG, Tues 16th - Thurs 18th February 2010

During each academic year, the International Space University (ISU) organizes a three-day symposium as an interdisciplinary, international forum to help both the users and the providers of space-related systems to move forward from the discussion of problems to the formulation of innovative solutions.  As an independent organization, ISU has developed a winning formula for a "different kind of symposium":

  • Addressing all aspects of the subject - policy, business, legal, scientific, technical, etc.
  • Creating ample time for discussion
  • Fostering constructive dialogue among different sectors of the space community, or between different communities, that do not often interact in more specialized symposia.

At each of the past several events we have attracted close to 200 participants from agencies, industry and academia in around 30 different countries.


ISU’s next symposium, the fourteenth in this series of annual events, will address space promotion, education and outreach in a very broad way. In the symposium program we shall also include considerations of public awareness and expectations, as well as workforce development and capacity building, all with the goal of producing recommendations for ways forward towards a sustainable space program.


The attached Call for Papers indicates how we have structured the next event and describes the overall scope and the suggested content of each of six half-day sessions. The program will include invited contributions from leading experts in the field plus presentations and posters selected on the basis of abstracts submitted in response to the attached Call for Papers by the deadline date of 2nd October 2009. We look forward to receiving your abstracts and we hope that many of you will join us here at ISU Central Campus Building in Strasbourg, France to participate in discussions of this important topic.

Further information will appear in the weeks to come at the ISU Symposium website at http://www.isunet.edu/annualsymposium.

Galloway Forest and Zselic Landscape Protection Area awarded Dark

23 November 2009

Scotland's Galloway Forest and Hungary's Zselic Landscape Protection Area awarded Dark Sky status

Congratulations to Scotland's Galloway Forest Park and Hungary's Zselic Landscape Protection Area, the first International Dark Sky Parks in Europe! The International Dark-Sky Association is proud to recognise the lighting retrofits, public education, and ongoing protection efforts that enhance the natural wonder and reclaim the ongoing heritage of dark starry nights in these unique regions.

Galloway Forest Park is the first place in the UK landscape where dark skies are now safeguarded for people to experience for themselves after being awarded Dark Sky Park status by the International Dark-Sky Association. This marks a new high in the growing interest in the UK's dark skies.

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 gave extra impetus to the dark sky programme. Professor Ian Robson, who heads up International Year of Astronomy in the UK says "It is an incredible achievement for Galloway Forest park and the International Year of Astronomy that we have managed to secure this award. It means millions of people will be able to enjoy the unspoiled skies of Galloway Forest Park for years to come. This forms part of the Dark Skies Awareness Cornerstone project for IYA2009, and builds on the excellent work done by the Dark Sky Scotland project in encouraging people to get out and look up."

Dark Sky Scotland: http://www.darkskyscotland.org.uk/
Dark Sky programme in Hungary: http://www.darkskiesawareness.org/dspp-h.php
Dark Skies Awareness: http://www.darkskiesawareness.org/

StarPeace build bridges between four countries on World Science Day

23 November 2009

Four StarPeace clubs in four neighboring countries (Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria) held joint star parties on World Science Day, 10 November.

Established by UNESCO in 2001, the World Science Day for Peace and Development (WSDPD) is celebrated on 10 November each year. To celebrate this day StarPeace clubs organised a stargazing party for the public in Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria simultaneously.

Iran and Azerbaijan held their StarPeace event on a border bridge over the Aras River located along the border between Iran and Azerbaijan. Iranian StarPeace team in companion with a group of professional astronomers from Azerbaijan Science Academy located their telescopes on the border bridge near Jolfa town, so tourists and merchants who were passing the bridge between two countries stopped by to observe Jupiter and celestial objects through telescopes.

Azhy Hasan from the Amateur Astronomers Association of Kurdistan and StarPeace Iraq ambassador, held the event in Erbil city in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Nearly 250 students of Salahadin University were invited to join the 1st Star Peace event of Iraq. After two presentations about StarPeace project and WSDPD, there was a stargazing programme. "The view of Jupiter and M45 through telescopes charmed everybody out there, even the security guard team!" Azhy said.

At the same time Mohammed AlAsseri the president of Syrian Amateur Astronomers Association from Syria held the event in Damascus.

Meanwhile there was a telephone communication between Iraqi team, Syrian and Iranian team. Students and guests who have participated in the event were surprised when they heard that at the same time people from other countries are looking at the same celestial objects as they were.

Azhy Hasan says, "By all measures and scales, this event was one of the most great and wonderful events which has been done by Amateur Astronomers Association of Kurdistan on IYA2009, and sure that very special Star Party for StarPeace Project was a unforgettable event not for only the participants, but even for us as AAAK team after we sharing the glory of Peace, Friendship and Love between us after we decided to erasing the whole borders between us."

Report by Irene Shivaei, StarPeace Project Board Member
StarPeace: http://www.starpeace.org/

NASA Images: an invaluable resource for sharing incredible pictures

23 November 2009

NASA Images is a searchable database, useful for science communicators, educators, and general astronomy fans. Created under a Space Act Agreement between NASA and Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library, it offers unprecedented access to the largest collection of NASA media from a single, searchable site. NASA Images is constantly growing with the addition of current media from NASA, as well as newly digitised media from the archives of the NASA Centres.

All of the media produced by NASA is public domain meaning that anyone can use it any way so long as restrictions of publicity and privacy, outlined in the terms and conditions, are obeyed. All images from nasaimages.org should be credited with "NASA/courtesy of nasaimages.org."

IYA2009 supporters are encouraged to capitalise on this useful site, and use the awe-inspiring pictures it contains to help popularise astronomy and educate the public.

NASA Images: http://nasaimages.org/


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Organisational Associates:

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