IYA2009 Updates

The Moon for All Mankind – The Malta Moon

9 July 2009

The moon is our closest celestial body and by far the brightest object in the night sky. It has fascinated man since antiquity.

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) celebrates the four hundred year anniversary since Galileo Galilei turned his telescope toward the night sky. He was the first to observe our moon in detail and some of the maps he made have been preserved.

The year 2009 is also the fiftieth anniversary of the first unmanned lunar landing and the fortieth anniversary of the first manned landing.

Malta is an archipelago of small islands in the Mediterranean with a population of just over four hundred thousand people. It has a rich history and is home to the oldest free- standing stone structures in the world. It is claimed that these temples, which are thousands of years old, were aligned to the solstice, demonstrating that a strong astronomical tradition has existed in Malta since antiquity.

The IYA2009 Malta committee has been very busy organising several astronomy events, and has put an emphasis on the moon and its exploration by robotic and manned spacecraft. These efforts have included the issuing of a stamp set commemorating Galileo, Apollo 11 and astronomer William Lassell's famous telescope in Malta. A highlight of the activities was a successful visit to Malta by the Apollo 17 lunar module pilot, the geologist and former U.S. Senator Harrison Schmitt. In addition, the IYA2009 Malta committee has presented several talks, seminars, exhibitions and observing sessions.

During the committee's early meetings, the chairman Dr Gordon Caruana-Dingli proposed that Malta should co-ordinate an international project for IYA2009. Mr Leonard Ellul-Mercer, who is a keen astrophotographer, had long wished to produce an astronomy image involving various countries. After discussions with Dr Alex Gatt, Gordon proposed forming an image of the moon composed of images taken by countries all over the world. Leonard then divided an image of the moon into numbered segments and all IYA2009 single points of contact with an email address were invited to take part. The response was overwhelming, with 40 countries submitting images from five continents -- one country for every year that has passed since Apollo 11 landed on the moon!  Most of the images were taken during the May or June full moons of 2009, but some were far older, such as Italy's four hundred year old sketch by Galileo Galilei. The IYA2009 Malta committee also included an image from the European Union's Smart-1 spacecraft. These images were then painstakingly processed and pasted as a collage on the background of a full moon imaged by Mr Ellul-Mercer. This took up many hours of Mr Ellul-Mercer's time, especially after he decided to produce an audiovisual production of the project. Lynn Faure specifically composed and played the music for the animated feature.

The project commemorates the Russian Luna 2, which was the first unmanned spacecraft to land on the moon. The Moon For All Mankind also commemorates the Apollo mission that culminated in the first manned lunar landing on 20 July 1969, followed by another five landings. Other countries that have launched spacecraft to the moon include Japan, Europe, China and India. These probes are also featured in the image.

The font used in the project is Futura, the same font used on the plaque that was fixed to the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle, which read:


This served as the inspiration for our project, The Moon For All Mankind.


Leonard Ellul-Mercer

Gordon Caruana-Dingli

International Year of Astronomy 2009 Malta Committee 


Image available here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/resources/multimedia/images/detail/iya2009_moon_mankind/



Image Techincal Details


Imager:  Robert T. Price

Location:                Bethanga, Victoria, Australia

Telescope:             C11

Camera:                  Imaging Source. DMK21 AU04.AS

Date:                       7th May 2009


Imager:                   Valmir Martins de Morais

Location:                Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará

Telescope:             Reflector  275 mm (11") aperture, f / 6

Camera: Toucam Pro II (CCD Sensor: Sony ICX098BQ)

Date:                       8th June 2009


Imager:                   Patrick McDonald

Location:                Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Telescope:             Celestron 8

Camera: Canon EOS20d at the prime focus 

Date:                       12th December 2008


Imager:                   Rafael Gonzalez.

Location:                Vicuña, near La Serena, IV Region, Chile                
Telescope:             Celestron telescope, D=114mm, 900 mm focal length

Camera: Panasonic, model Lumix fs-3, with 8 megapixels

Date:                       10th February 2009


Imager:                   Mr. Wen Kou

Location:                Beijing Planetarium

Telescope:             MEADE 16"

Camera: Canon 5D Mark II


Imagers:                 Mario Solarte-Sarasty

Marcela Teherán-Bravo

Iván Paz-Noguera

Location:                Popayán, Colombia

Telescope:             Newton reflector Konus-motor 500, 114 mm focal length,

Camera: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S730

Date:                       7th June 2009


Imagers:                 Marios Iordanou 

Agapios Elia

Rolandos Constantinides

Location:                Nicosia

Telescope:             Celestron C8-NGT

Camera: Kodak Z730

Date:                       5th June 2007


Imager:                   Michael Stauning

Location:                Holbæk

Scope:                    Takahashi FS-60

Camera: Nikon D90.

Date:                       5th June 2009


Imager:                   Aymen Ibrahem

Location:                Mahmoud Public Observatory, Cairo

Instrument:             5" refractor

Camera: Zenit

Film:                        Kodak Ultra 400

Date:                       5th June 2009




Imager:                   Jean Rousselot

Location:                Zebbug, Gozo, Malta

Telescope:             Celestron C8

Camera: DSI II col.


Imager:                   Michael Wilkes

Location:                Cologne

Telescope:             Vixen NP-80L refractor (80/1200, f/15)

Camera:                  Nikon D50 camera

Data:                       9th May, 2009


Imagers:                 Students of Universidad de San Carlos and Universidad Rafael Landivar

Location:                Observatorio Christopher Clavius de la Universidad Rafael Landivar

Telescope:             Meade LX200GPS SCT Schmidt-Cassegrain F/10

356mm, focal length 356mm, Equatorial mount (with wedge)

Camera: Meade LPI Imager (Lunar Planetary Imager)


Imager:                   Attila Jaksy

Location:                Gyor (Western Hungary)

Telescope:             127/1200 mm TS achromatic refractor

Camera: Canon EOS 450D digital camera


Imager:  Ajay Talwar

Location:                New Delhi

Telescope:             LX200 8"

Camera:                  Canon 450D


Imager:  Alireza Azimi

Location:                Tehran

Telescope:             skywatcher 6 inch newtonian with EQ3 mount.

Camera: Canon 450D with 2x barlow.


Imager:                   Galileo Galilei

Date:                       1609


Imager:                   Errol Rickman

Location                 18.00016 North by 76.160 West  

Telescope:             8 inch Newtonian F6 Reflector  

Camera:                  Sony Digital Still Camera Model


Imager:                   Mr. Tabata

Location:                Okinawa

Telescope:              f 2200mm, direct focus with 40cm Newtonian

Camera: Canon EOS Kiss X2

Date:                       7th June 2009


Imager:                   Sung-Lae Park

Telescope:             VIXEN VC200L FL= 1800mm, (F9)

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II 

Date:                       13th June 2009


Imager:                   Marc Habran

Location:                Antananarivo 18°52'48'' South 47°33'33'' East

Telescope :            Takahashi Mewlon 210 mm

Camera: DMK31 

Date:                       7th June 2009 


Imager :                  Karzaman Ahmad

Locality:                  Langkawi National Observatory

Telescope:             RCOS 20" f/8.1

Camera:                  Skynyx 2-2M


Imager:                   Leonard Ellul-Mercer

Location:                Apolen Observatory, Attard

Telescope:             C11 on CGE mount

Camera: SBIG ST10-XME

Date:                       8th November 2008


Imager:                   Helder de Sousa Geraldes.

Location:                Cidade da Matola

Telescope:             150mm F8 Newtonian.

Camera:                  Samsung Digimax S600


Imager:  boothee @ Henry Thaik Htun
Location:                Yangon, Myanmar
Telescope:             1150mm, 254mm telescope
Camera:                  QHY5 Planetary Imager
Software:               Registax4, iMerge, Photoshop CS3, Noel Tools


Imager:                   Eduardo Roberto Poissonneau, Norberto Martinez and Miguel Volpe

Location:                Club Py Astrophysics and National Node Pyo. Hola

Telescope:             MEADE ETX-125EC

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel XSi

Puerto Rico

Imager:                   Efrain Morales Rivera                                                           

Location:                Aguadilla, Puerto Rico  

Telescope:             LX200ACF 12 in. OTA, CGE mount

Camera:                  DMK21AF Ccd


Imager:                   Nicu Dobescu (Astroclub Delta Orion)

Location:                Tulcea

Telescope              SkyWatcher 203/1200.

Camera: Nokia N82


Imager:                   Dmitry Makolkin

Location:                Moscow

Telescope              TAL-250 K - F/8.5

Camera:                  DMK31 AU03.AS

Saudi Arabia

Imagers:                 M. Hindi and A. Hejaili

Location:                Jeddah

Camera:                  D3 Nikon

Telescope :            Meade 12"


Imager:                   Janko Mravik.

Location:                Backi Petrovac

Telescope:             Celestron 150/750 on eq6 sky scan pro and barlow 2.5x apo +  barlow 2x

Camera: Canon 300d


Imager:                   Albert Tan

Location:                Yishun Sports Stadium

Telescope:             Celestron Super C-8 .FL:2000mm. f/10 on Takahashi German Equatorial Mount

Camera:                  Nikon D700


Imager:                   Antonio Torres Montojo

Location:                Madrid

Telescope:             Refractor Astro-Physics 130 EDT f/8,35 with lens Barlow 2X

Focal length: 2170 mm

Mount:                    Astrophysics 900 GTO

Camera: SBIG STL 11000


Location:                Damascus


Imager:                   Mr. Hung-Chin Lin 

Location:                Lu-Lin Observatory, National Central University

Telescope:             RC Optical Systems 16 inch f/8.4 Ritchey-Chrétien

Camera: Apogee U42 CCD camera

Date:                       2nd February 2007


Imager:                   Nazar Salam

Location:                U.A.E - Abu Dhabi

Telescope:             Celestron 80ED Refractor Spotting Scope

Mount:                    MEADE LXD75 - AT

Camera:                  Canon EOS 40D

United Kingdom

Imagers:                 Julia Gaudelli & John Axtell

Locality: Holmbury St. Mary near Guildford, Surrey

Telescope:             William Optics 80mm refractor

Camera: Starlight Express SXVF-H9 l

Date:                       7th June 2009


Imager:                   Sebastian Bruzzone

Telescope              35cm F5 modified Newtonian with a ST-8 ccd camera


Imager:                   Mark Sebole

Location:                Fife Lake Michigan

Telescope:             LX200R at f/10It

Camera:                  DSI PRO III


Imager:                   David Brown sj

Locality: Specola Vaticana at Castel Gandolfo (Rome)

Telescope:             Zeiss visual refractor, aperture: 40 cm Focal length: 600 cm

Camera: Canon EOS 400D digital SLR camera

Date:                       12th June 2009


Imager:  Nguyen Anh Vinh

Location:                Hanoi

Telescope:             LX 2000

Camera: ccd ST 7









MEDEA Awards 2009: Open Call for Participation

8 July 2009

Numbers of Entries Set to Exceed 2008!

With the numbers of entries already received by the MEDEA Secretariat higher than at the same time last year, the MEDEA Awards look to be growing in popularity in keeping with a growing interest generally in the use of media and video in education. Now that the competition is fully operational in French and German as well as in English, it is hardly surprising that the numbers of entries from French and German speaking regions looks set to far exceed the numbers received in 2008. The inclusion of two new awards, the MEDEA Award for Creativity and Innovation and the European Collaboration Award is also having a positive impact on the number of entries.

Promotion of MEDEA Awards through Growing European Network

The promotion of this year's MEDEA Awards is now in full swing and is really being helped by a growing network of dedicated contact points in different European countries. These include the Blackrock Education Centre in Ireland, Terakki Foundation Schools in Turkey, VIDEOSCOP in France, France, University of Bergen (SEVU) in Norway, Innovate4Future in Romania and Information Design at the FachHochschule JOANNEUM in Austria. This network is expanding and within a couple of weeks, the MEDEA Team expects to have a contact point in all European countries. The promotion campaign also includes posters and leaflets about the MEDEA Awards in French, German and English which are being distributed throughout Europe.

Details for Participants

Everyone who produces video, audio and/or multimedia based learning and teaching materials is invited to submit an entry to the MEDEA Awards. The main criteria for entry is that the multimedia project, production or service submitted must make use of images and/or sound to support teaching and learning. Entries by teachers and learners are particularly welcome. It is also important to highlight the fact that it costs nothing to enter!

The call for entries closes on Wednesday 30th September 2009 by which time all the required materials have to be sent to the MEDEA Secretariat.

Contact MEDEA

To find out more about the awards or to subscribe to our newsletter, visit the web site: http://www.medea-awards.com

For information regarding participation, becoming a judge, partnering, sponsoring or collaborating with the MEDEA Organising Committee, please contact Nikki Cortoos of the MEDEA Secretariat:

Nikki Cortoos

MEDEA Secretariat

E-mail: secretariat@medea-awards.com

Address: Nikki Cortoos, MEDEA Secretariat, ATiT, Leuvensesteenweg 132, B-3370 Roosbeek, Belgium Tel: +32 16 284 040, Fax: +32 16 223 743


Japanese astronomy superheroes rally in support of IYA2009

6 July 2009

More than ten cartoon characters from planetaria and science museums in Japan gathered for the All-Japan Astronomy Character Symposium which was held on 21 June in Akashi. Present were many high-profile IYA2009 supporters, from superheroes to giant animals.

Prof. Seiichi Sakamoto, Director for Space Science Outreach at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), attended the event. Says Prof. Sakamoto, "I learned a lot about the specifications of the stuffed costumes, such as wareability, air ventilation, mobility, and maintainability."

VIPs at the symposium included Shigosenger Red and Shigosenger Blue. Their mission is to prevent not-so-bright scientist Dr. Blackstar from conquering the world. JAXA's lead hero is Kiku Hachizo who flies the flag for Engineering Test Satellite Kiku-8. Kiku has the appearance of a bee with large ears, representing deployable antennae for communication. Says Prof. Sakamoto, "practically speaking, its visibility is available only through its mouth."

The IYA2009 superheroes are a diverse group. Explains Prof. Sakamoto, "some can move very quickly, while others have very limited mobility particularly at steps and narrow corridors. Some have very poor visibility and / or limited field of view. Some can speak but most of them do not speak and need managers or assistants to communicate."

Perhaps the most sophisticated superhero was "Pyonta" from the Hiroshima Children's Museum. He features a fan for inflation of the body and air ventilation. Prof. Sakamoto adds, "I envied staffs of Hiroshima Children's Museum because of the comfort they enjoy even during the event."

During the symposium all attending heroes issue a joint statement declaring that they will do their best to popularise astronomy during IYA2009... and beyond.

Blast! Update

5 July 2009

Latest news from IYA2009 Special Project, Blast!

BLAST! Reviews

"This adventuresome spin on breakthrough science should wow 'em!" - Variety

"The capacity to blast open our understanding of the physical structure of the Universe... This absorbing documentary leads to some unexpected twists and turns and comedic hand-wringing."
 - New York Times.

"Combining hard science, human interest and suspense, BLAST! is a stimulating introduction to astrophysics and a fine tribute to scientists of all stripes who engage in taxing fieldwork." - Box Office Magazine

"Delicious drama that builds to an edge-of-your-seat climax."  - Orlando Weekly

"The magic formula for a successful mainstream science movie.  You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll walk away astounded."   - Discovery Space  

"Inspirational and aspirational!"  **** (4 stars) - The Times, UK

BLAST! was about an interesting subject which immediately got me hooked. There wasn't a single point during the movie in which I wished I was doing something else, which is how I usually feel about science movies. Kids should really be able to watch this in schools, it's important."  - Claudia Dimick, age 16

BLAST! Radio

National Public Radio's "Science Friday" (podcast, upper left)

WNYC-Public Radio's "Leonard Lopate Show"

Press from BLAST science results:

BBC News:

Philadelphia Inquirer (front page):


Fostering Space for Africa

4 July 2009

The International Astronautical Federation (IAF), along with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UN-OOSA), organised a briefing to African Permanent Missions in Vienna entitled "Fostering Space for Africa". It was held at the premises of the United Nations in Vienna, Austria on 3 June 2009.

UN-OOSA Director Mazlan Othman presented the Africa Report of the United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities and Peter Martinez, representative of South African delegation introduced "Opportunities offered by Space to Africa".

More information, including presentations and speeches, are available here: http://www.iafastro.org/index.php?id=123&no_cache=1&tx_iaffocuson_pi1[tt_single]=top&tx_iaffocuson_pi1[pid_back]=1


IYA2009 News Round-up

3 July 2009

Space.com has a frankly marvellous story about a Scottish schoolgirl winning a competition to make a new constellation. Don't fret, it's only temporary. Called "Wee Sleekit Beastie", it is a cosmic mouse whose name means "Ode to a Mouse". The creator is Laura, a year 7 pupil at Dalmeny Primary School in Edinburgh. Laura beat entries from over 200 other pupils and received an award from Liz Lochead, the Scottish Poet Laureate. Says Laura, "Science is fun and extremely fascinating. There is so much to learn. Astronomy is my main interest now and I will stick with it for life I hope."

Happy six-month birthday, IYA2009! Little About is celebrating in style, by running through the Year's achievements to date. There are lots of impressive statistics to sift through, but an apostrophe error near the end limits the enjoyment somewhat.

To the US now, where a Montauk Observatory star party featuring author Dava Sobel is scheduled for 5 July, says 27 East News. Dava wrote the bestselling historic memoir "Galileo's Daughter" and will be discussing our favourite Italian astronomer from times-past, as well as talking about IYA2009. There are three images to accompany the article, the second of which is puzzling - is it really really good, or accidentally a bit blurry?

Next is a story from UK's Norwich Evening News 24. More than 600 youngsters from across the region have been flexing their intellectual muscles as part of the Science Olympiad held at the University of East Anglia. The participants, aged between eight and 17, completed space-themed challenges as part of IYA2009. Quote of the weeeeek! Miss Nayani, eight, said: "We won because we used all of the material and had marshmallows at the bottom, then spaghetti, and jelly babies in the middle - not many people thought of that."

IYA2009 isn't just about amateur astronomy. Professionals are also involved, as evidenced by an article from The State. It says that a veritable bonanza of new and improved cutting-edge instruments are being readied for use, 400 years after Galileo spied craters on the moon through the world's first telescope. It's a good time to be an astronomer.

To the Vatican! Zenit reports that a new edition of the investigations into the Galileo case has been released by the AMAZINGLY NAMED "Vatican Secret Archives". The article warns that is has a 208-page introduction. Here's the solid IYA2009 link: "The prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, Bishop Sergio Pagano, oversaw this newest volume, which was presented today in a briefing at the Vatican press office. Its publication comes in the context of the International Year of Astronomy"

Finally, a quick look at the University of Wisconsin-Madison News, where a From Earth To The Universe exhibition is sure to impress all visitors. Each image has multi-lingual captions and children can even participate in a scavenger hunt game to discover a secret message.

That's it. Thanks for visiting.


IYA2009 Update

3 July 2009

News Release: Year of Astronomy 2009 raises millions of eyes to the skies
As the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) reaches its six-month milestone, over a million people have already looked at the sky through a telescope for the first time, and even more have newly engaged in astronomy. This is just one of many achievements, as countless ongoing projects and planned initiatives indicate that the IYA2009 is well on the way towards achieving many of its goals. The entire release is available here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iya0913/

Information regarding the new IYA2009 Cornerstone Project: Galilean Nights
Following the unprecedented success of IYA2009's 100 Hours of Astronomy, another series of events is being planned for 23-24 October 2009. This new IYA2009 Cornerstone Project is called Galilean Nights and will see amateur and professional astronomers around the globe taking to the streets and pointing their telescopes to the wonders that Galileo observed 400 years ago. The focus of the project is sidewalk observations of the gas giant Jupiter and its moons, as well as allowing members of the public to observe the Sun, our own Moon and many more celestial marvels. For more information, please visit http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/348/

New IYA2009 Flickr group aims to share photos from around the world
The main driving force behind IYA2009 is the army of amateur astronomers who plan and run events around the globe. Often organisers and participants take photos, but rarely is there a central area where these can be collected and shared. The IYA2009 Secretariat have decided to use the popular site Flickr to help remedy this. A group called International Year of Astronomy 2009 has been created to share images of IYA2009 events and astrophotos. IYA2009 supporters are encouraged to join the group and add their images to the pool, helping to build an excellent resource. Visit the site here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/iya2009/

The Cosmic Diary is six months old!
Happy birthday, Cosmic Diary! Thanks to the team of bloggers, the site now has over 1000 posts! This is a significant number and is testament to the bloggers dedication. CosmicDiary.org received more than 98,000 visitors since its launch, which means we are very close to the 100,000 mark. This will be a great achievement, and is certainly something to be proud of. See the site here: http://www.cosmicdiary.org/

 The latest IYA2009 Brochure is now out
The IYA2009 Brochure version 4 contains all the latest information about Cornerstone Projects, Special projects, Task Groups and the Global projects. It is available here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/resources/brochures/detail/iya2009_brochure_4/

Belfast looks to the sky for inspiration
This month in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the Belfast City Council is recognising the contribution of space to society through a myriad of social events. Read about the plans here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/345/

Study astronomy in Ghana during IYA2009
One way of celebrating IYA2009 is to increase knowledge of the Universe, and education is an excellent method of achieving this. To mark this special year, an opportunity has been created to study astronomy in Cape Coast, Ghana. Check the details: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/349/

IYA2009 on rails in Slovenia
Ten trains decorated with astronomy themed panels will travel across Slovenia from June to December 2009. This joint initiative of RailAd and the Slovenia IYA2009 National Node will publicise IYA2009, as well as the FETTU exhibition in Ljubljana, that can be seen at the Tivoli Park until the 4th of September 2009. This project is sponsored by the Slovenian Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology and by Slovenske železnice, the Slovenian railway company. More information: http://www.astronomija2009.si/

Naming Pluto wins Best Doc 2nd Place at Palm Springs
Father Films' award winning short Naming Pluto, directed by Ginita Jimenez, has scooped Best Documentary Short - 2nd Place at Palm Springs International ShortFest, USA. 315 films represented by 41 countries were programmed from more than 2,200 worldwide entries. The Jury announced 27 festival awards totalling $100,000 in production and cash prizes. Now in its 15th year, Palm Springs Short Film Festival is the largest festival and short film market in the United States. More information: http://www.psfilmfest.org/festival/news/detail.aspx?NID=205&FID=39&year=2009

SPIE Optics + Photonics 2009 conference to celebrate IYA2009
400 years of telescopic developments will be a key aspect of the upcoming SPIE Optics + Photonics 2009 conference. Held in the San Diego Convention Center from 2-6 August, it promises to be the most multidisciplinary science and engineering event in North America. For more information, please visit http://spie.org/x30491.xml

Stars shining within prison walls
During IYA2009, people from all walks of life are exposed to the beauty and wonder of the Universe. Not wanting anyone to be left out, IYA2009 has been present in two prison facilities recently. Read the account here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/342/

Ulysses mission ends during IYA2009
Many space missions and astronomy projects are beginning during IYA2009, but there are also venerable operations coming to an end. One of these is the ESA/NASA Ulysses spacecraft, which ceased operations on 30 June 2009. Read about it here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/341/

Invisible Universe
The "Invisible Universe" conference and exhibition will take place at UNESCO Headquarters from 29 June to 10 July 2009. More information: http://portal.unesco.org/science/en/ev.php-URL_ID=7556&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

UNAWE mural unveiled in Dublin
The Universe Awareness (UNAWE) Cornerstone project has been helping with an astronomy and space exploration mural at O'Connell's School in Dublin. Pupils have created an impressive piece of cosmically-themed art, linking with IYA2009. UNAWE is an international outreach activity that uses the beauty and grandeur of the Universe to inspire very young children. A video of the O'Connell's school mural been created, available on UNAWE's website: http://unawe.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=417&Itemid=163

Upcoming conference in Hungary: Astronomy and Civilization
The conference "Astronomy and Civilization", being held in Budapest on 10-13 August 2009 to celebrate IYA2009, is an exceptional multidisciplinary event which faces the most challenging questions of science, philosophy, religion and art. The goal of the conference is to call attention to the close relationships between astronomy, natural sciences, philosophy, and civilization, and their influence in the shaping of our future. Individuals and groups interested in attending are encouraged to visit the official website, where details are readily available: http://www.konkoly.hu/AC2009/

Observe "three old friends" with the Virtual Telescope
We all know the revolutionary contribution of Galileo to astronomy and science. Among his most important discoveries were the four main satellites of Jupiter. Tracking them over the years, in December 1612 Galileo was looking at Jupiter and saw the planet Neptune, but confused it for a star. The same happened again in January 1613. Now fast-forward to 2009, when Jupiter and Neptune will "meet" again. The Virtual Telescope is an advanced service provided by the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory and managed by Gianluca Masi. The Virtual Telescope will offer a unique opportunity on 9 - 11 July 2009 and December 2009 to follow this celestial encounter, allowing continuous coverage of the event for several days. For more information, please visit: http://virtualtelescope.bellatrixobservatory.org/galileo_jup_nep.html

German IYA2009 activities reach mid-summer climax
Between the last and the coming weekend several major events mark the half-time point of IYA2009 in Germany. Read about them here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/336/


New IYA2009 Flickr group aims to share photos from around the world

2 July 2009

The main driving force behind IYA2009 is the army of amateur astronomers who plan and run events around the globe. Often organisers and participants take photos, but rarely is there a central area where these can be collected and shared.

The IYA2009 Secretariat have decided to use the popular site Flickr to help remedy this. A group called International Year of Astronomy 2009 has been created to share images of IYA2009 events and astrophotos. IYA2009 supporters are encouraged to join the group and add their images to the pool, helping to build an excellent resource.

UK astronomy enthusiasts may also be interested to know that IYA2009 Coordinator Steve Owens has created a group called International Year of Astronomy in the UK which aims to share images of British IYA2009 events.


Study astronomy in Ghana during IYA2009

2 July 2009

One way of celebrating IYA2009 is to increase knowledge of the Universe, and education is an excellent method of achieving this. To mark this special year, an opportunity has been created to study astronomy in Cape Coast, Ghana.

Courses include "Great Debates in Astronomy", "Cultural Astronomy", and "The Universe at Your Fingertips: Research in the Survey Age". The intensive University of Arizona programme aims to teach students how to perform cutting-edge astronomy research from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. Students will also learn about how Africans have traditionally viewed the heavens, and the role the sky has played in their societies through hands-on cultural astronomy research in Cape Coast and the surrounding communities.

For more information, see: http://studyabroad.arizona.edu/databaseshowitem.aspx?id=1384


Information regarding the new IYA2009 Cornerstone Project: Galilean Nights

2 July 2009

Following the unprecedented success of IYA2009's 100 Hours of Astronomy, another series of events is being planned for 23-24 October 2009. This new IYA2009 Cornerstone Project is called Galilean Nights and will see amateur and professional astronomers around the globe taking to the streets and pointing their telescopes to the wonders that Galileo observed 400 years ago. The focus of the project is sidewalk observations of the gas giant Jupiter and its moons, as well as allowing members of the public to observe the Sun, our own Moon and many more celestial marvels. More information: www.galileannights.org and http://www.astronomy2009.org/globalprojects/cornerstones/galilean

I would like to introduce you to our coordinator for the project: Catherine Moloney. Catherine is a science communicator with Master's degrees in Science Communication from Imperial College London and also Physics with Space Science and Technology from the University of Leicester. She recently completed six months working at the Education and Public Outreach Department of the European Southern Observatory. Her duties included writing press releases, producing content for exhibitions and assisting in the organisation and implementation of Around the World in 80 Telescopes, a 24-hour webcast that formed part of the 100 Hours of Astronomy Cornerstone Project. Prior to her work at ESO she was a technical specialist for three years on a satellite communication project for the British armed forces, worked with the science communication group at the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and also spent three years working at the National Space Centre, the UK's largest science centre dedicated to space. Catherine will oversee the Galilean Nights Cornerstone project and implement the project as specified by the Galilean Nights Task Group.

The purpose of this email is to get you all thinking and planning for the event, particularly:

          1. Logo translations
          2. Website
          3. Event registration
          4. Resources
          5. October Sky Events
          6. Astronomical Associations and Societies
          7. Networks

1. Logo Translations.
If you would like to have a version of the Galilean Nights logo in your own language, then please send a translation of "Galilean Nights" encoded UTF-8, including the font, if necessary to Catherine Moloney (cmoloney@eso.org), by 10. July. You can see the Galilean Nights logo here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/resources/multimedia/images/detail/galilean_nights/

2. Website
Like the other Cornerstone Projects, Galilean Nights will have its own website: www.galileannights.org This is in the planning stage, but the site will be similar to other Cornerstone websites, including project news and events updates, event registration, a searchable events list and resources and educational material.

3. Event Registration
To be introduced very soon will be a simple procedure for registering the many Galilean Nights events, so that we can collect information together in order to coordinate the events and keep in contact with event organisers. We will contact you all again once the registration process is ready,

4. Resources
In the build-up to October, a number of online resources will be developed for the use of each sidewalk event.  These will includ

  2. Branding and Identity: Posters and Logo
  3. Background Information: Presentations and video presentations on the key observable objects: Jupiter, Saturn, the Sun and the Moon.
  4. Observing Guides

If there are any resource materials that you foresee being useful, then please forward suggestions to me.

5. October Sky Events
With the dates set for Galilean Nights, 23rd and 24th October, identifying the key observable objects in the local night skies will help with planning each local event. Many online resources exist to identify local sky maps of observable objects, including: http://space.about.com/od/computerresources/tp/2009OctSkyGuide.htm

6. Astronomical Associations and Societies
Each local event will need to be individually run and managed, which is where the hard work and enthusiasm of local associations and societies will be invaluable.  Please start thinking of potential groups and organisations and get them involved from the beginning. Please inform all National Level Amateur Groups, so that they can plan for the event in advance. Professional societies, laboratories, observatories and institutions may also be requested to keep aside the two days as a special event for the IYA2009.

7. Networks
Make use of all networks available to you to communicate about the event. Apart from those networks that are more obvious to you (universities, research institutes, amateur astronomers), there are surely many people working in science and scientific and cultural communication in your country. Use their contacts, use their networks for the benefit of IYA2009. You probably know who these people are much better than we do, but here are some examples:

  • Science centres
  • Public libraries
  • Science clubs at schools
  • Teachers associations
  • Science journalists
  • Science communicators
  • Science teachers

With less than four months to go until the event, preparations will need to start as soon as possible.  If you have any comments or queries, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

We look forward to working with you all to make the event a success!

Pedro Russo
IYA2009 Coordinator

Catherine Moloney
IYA2009 Galilean Nights Coordinator
On behalf of the Galilean Nights Task Group.

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Organisational Associates:

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