IYA2009 Updates

Observe “three old friends” with the Virtual Telescope

26 June 2009

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. After decades of unfavourable conjunctions, Jupiter and Neptune will "meet" again.

The Virtual Telescope is an advanced service provided by the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory and managed by Gianluca Masi. It consists in several, robotic telescopes, remotely available in real-time over the internet, both for research and fun. 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. This way, it will be also possible to see the Galilean moons moving around Jupiter. The event is of special value, as it happens around the celebration of the 400th anniversary from the first astronomical observation by Galileo!

For more information, please visit: http://virtualtelescope.bellatrixobservatory.org/galileo_jup_nep.html

German IYA2009 activities reach mid-summer climax

26 June 2009

Between the last and the coming weekend several major events mark the half-time point of IYA2009 in Germany. On Sunday some 200 enthusiasts converged on a waste rock pile in the Ruhr Area on which a huge "horizon observatory" had been built last year. With clouds parting for a brilliant sunset at its northern-most point, this "modern Stonehenge" was the place to be to celebrate the summer solstice of IYA2009. See http://home.arcor.de/skyweek/halde2.html for some impressions.

 

Since Thursday and until Saturday the SternenZelt ("Tent of the Stars") awaits visitors in the heart of Bonn on the Muensterplatz - and 4000 came already on the first day. Professional and amateur astronomy organisations present their work and interact with the public, including a semi-secret radar research installation which rarely makes itself known. Everything from basic astronomy to sophisticated spacecraft and ESO's E-ELT project is here, plus experts to explain it. See http://home.arcor.de/skyweek/sternenzelt.html for impressions.

 

Finally on Saturday 27 June, right next to the SternenZelt, the central public IYA2009 party in Germany will take place under the name SternenFest. From 14:00 to 22:00 a varied programme of music, comedy and IYA2009 talks - including a German astronaut - will bring the fun of the International Year of Astronomy to a wide audience. A worldwide one, in fact, as starting at 18:00 the show will be webcast! The programme can be found at http://www3.uni-bonn.de/die-universitaet/aktionen-und-veranstaltungen/sternenzelt/sternenfest

while http://www.sternstunde-online.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99 informs about the webcast details.

IYA2009 News Round-up

26 June 2009

Question: what has been making headlines this week?

Answer: IYA2009 has been making headlines this week!

You've probably had a hard few days so we'll begin with a video, which is easier to digest than words. Science Comedian and IYA2009 supporter Brian Malow has turned his attentions to our favourite astronomy-themed year, in a video for TIME.com. Be sure to give it a go, for the quality is high.

Now let's pass over to the New York Times which has run a story about astronomers from the Vatican. Apparently they're "seeking not angels but data", which probably helps with their funding applications. The Vatican is keen to draw a line under its old gripes with Galileo, and IYA2009 is the perfect opportunity to publically do this. For an insider's view of working at the Vatican Observatory, be sure to check out Brother Guy Consolmagno's blog at the Cosmic Diary.

ALIENS! That always gets people's attention. Killeen Daily Herald reports that astrobiologist Seth Shostak will be the featured guest speaker at Longhorn Conference Center at the Stagecoach Inn in Salado (US). The lecture and accompanying reception are in recognition of IYA2009. Maybe they'll donate some of the $20 entrance fee to us?

Well done to IrishTimes.com for its well-written story about observing the planet Saturn. Carolyn Porco, NASA's head of Cassini spacecraft imaging, will be giving guided tours of the ringed planet in Dublin, Cork, and Armagh. The presentations are in aid of IYA2009, which automatically means they'll be top notch.

The Canary Islands may be well-known for their sunny weather but Tenerife News says that science is also on the up. Tenerife's Museum of Science and the Cosmic at La Laguna is running summer courses where children will learn all about astronomy. There will be scientific games and live experiments, all bringing IYA2009 to the participants. Sounds fun!

Off to India with us, to give a heads-up about an imminent conference called "Indian Astronomy, Ancience & Modern" to be held in Ahmedabad. Indian Express has the details, including notable speakers and mentions of special interactive sessions for 500 students that are expected. DeshGujerat.com has an excellent feature on the conference too, so you've no excuse for not being clued up.

And finally, the marvellously-named North Bay Nugget has a surprisingly detailed account of astronomy books which can be found in the Children's Department of North Bay Public Library. IYA2009 formally salutes your dedication, Nugget!

And on that note, this writer's dedication has run out. Until next week!

IYA2009 Updates

26 June 2009

 

Call for proposals for free Galileoscopes:
IYA2009 invites countries, organisations and individuals to submit calls for proposals for free Galieoscopes. This call is solely intended to countries organisations or individuals who were not able to afford their own Galileoscopes. More information is available here: http://www.developingastronomy.org/galileoscopes.php

Worldwide broadcast for July's solar eclipse
To allow astronomers and the public all around the world to witness this spectacle eclipse, the Chinese Astronomical Society, supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will be hosting a live broadcast of the 2009 eclipse. Read the full story: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/325/

IYA2009 Twitter feed reaches over 3000 followers
The official IYA2009 Twitter feed, @astronomy2009, now has over 3000 followers. This is a great success for the venture, and the number is set to increase even more. Follow the feed here: http://twitter.com/astronomy2009

HISTORY launches new website celebrating The Universe
HISTORY, the proud, exclusive television partner of IYA2009, has launched a fantastic website where people can explore the universe through virtual interactive-maps, a challenging online game, videos, and images.  The site also includes information on the HISTORY series The Universe, now airing on channels all over the world, and listings of local IYA2009 events.  Check out your region's site today: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/326/

The 365 Days of Astronomy podcast nominated for the Parsec Award 2009
365 Days of Astronomy has been nominated for Parsec Award in the categories Best "Infotainment" Cast. http://parsecawards.com/node/787

IYA2009 Special project: observing mutual events of the Galilean satellites
Jupiter's system is becoming ever-more observable, with opposition occurring on 14 August. Many observations have already been made and thanks to good images and advanced software, we have created some excellent animations. To learn more about this IYA2009 Special project, please visit: http://www.imcce.fr/hosted_sites/ama09/phemu09_en.html

Expedition to Principe Report Online
In the spring of 1919, an expedition led by the British astronomer Arthur Eddington travelled to the small island of Principe, in the Gulf of Guinea, to carry out what would become one of the landmark experiments of contemporary physics. 90 years later, during IYA2009, a group of astronomers and enthusiasts returned to the island to commemorate the event and unveil a celebratory plaque. Read their report here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/static/archives/documents/pdf/iau_principe_report.pdf

Herschel and Planck in the classroom
To mark the launch of the Herschel and Planck space observatories, ESA has participated in the production of a wide-ranging series of educational materials related to these two missions. These materials were originally disseminated to German teachers through a collaboration with the German "Wissenschaft in die Schulen!" (WiS! - Science into Schools!) project and the "Sterne und Weltraum" magazine. More information: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Education/SEMPM10P0WF_0.html

Stars for Global Peace
Read the message of Azhy Hasan, StarPeace Iraqi ambassador for StarPeace event on June 5: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/329/

The World at Night Newsletter
Read it here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/328/

Video: Science Comic Brian Malow on Galileo & IYA2009
Galileo first used his telescope 400 years ago. Science Comedian Brian Malow says 2009 may be the most exciting year in astronomy since 1609. Check his latest video from TIME Magazine: http://www.time.com/time/video/?bcpid=1485842900&bctid=26444197001

PBS' 400 Years of the Telescope Garners Four Telly Awards
The PBS documentary 400 Years of the Telescope, produced by Interstellar Studios to support the International Year of Astronomy 2009, has been awarded four Telly Awards. A Silver Award was received for an excellent achievement in cinematography, and three Bronze Awards representing outstanding achievement, for use of animation, writing and the documentary over all. The whole story is available online: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/322/

3 large Dark Skies Awareness Projects

26 June 2009

Brazil's Citizen-Science Milky Way Marathon

Brazil is holding a "Milky Way Marathon" - a national star-hunting citizen-science campaign that serves as a reminder that the Milky Way is becoming less and less known by Brazilians as a result of increasing light pollution in the country.

The star-hunting campaign is called "Que nota você daria ao céu de sua cidade?" which stands for "How would you rate the sky of your hometown?". For each of the months from June to September, during the week from New Moon to First Quarter, people are asked what kind of "grade" they would give to measure the quality of their local skies. The grades go from 0 (no stars at all) to 7 (a perfect sky). A lower grade represents a sky with more light pollution.

To make the Milky Way Marathon a success, the whole amateur astronomy community in Brazil is communicating through a network of "nodes". This has brought together a collaboration between amateurs and professionals, working together for IYA2009. One of the results of that effort was recently seen during the 100 Hours of Astronomy - Brazil was the second country worldwide as far as the number of events (second only to the USA).

There is some more information at http://www.astronomia2009.org.br/. There is also a presentation in Portuguese (http://www.darkskiesawareness.org/files/Maratona%20da%20Via%20Lactea.pdf), containing instructions on how to participate in the campaign.

 

Hong Kong Dims the Light Fantastic

Green activists have claimed a victory in their battle against light pollution, saying the sky above Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong was 60 per cent darker than normal last night during the two-hour Dim It Brighten Up campaign on June 21, 2009. In the first Dim It campaign last year about 140 buildings took part, making Victoria Harbor 32 per cent dimmer than usual, according to the organizers, the Friends of the Earth. June 21 was chosen because it is the summer solstice and marks the start of peak electricity usage.

More than 3,500 buildings and organizations in the city turned their lights off at 8pm for 2 hours as part of an attempt to raise public awareness of light pollution and energy conservation. Organizers set up 100 telescopes to let people look at the stars. Over 50,000 people participated, counted down for the light off event and looked through the telescopes. More than 1000 people signed the "Dark Sky Declaration", a charter to encourage building owners to switch off lights on exterior walls by midnight.

More information and photograhs are on the IYA2009 webpage for Hong Kong: http://www.astronomy2009.hk/activities/DarkSky/621.php.

 

Japan's Candle Night

Japan's Candle Night initiative simply suggests that people switch off their lights for two hours, from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. on the night of the summer solstice to enjoy some time by candlelight. On June 21, 2009, major facilities and businesses in Japan turned their lights off from 8 to 10 pm. This year's summer solstice also marks the sixth anniversary of an event called Candle Night since it was started in 2003.  The idea of holding Candle Night in Japan, where people turn off their lights and light candles in unison, was originally inspired by the Voluntary Blackout movement in Canada, launched in 2001.

During the summer of 2008, businesses and facilities all over Japan to turned out their lights during two events. One was Black Illumination 2008, held on June 21. The other was Lights-Down at the Star Festival on July 7. Between the two events, a total of 149,939 facilities joined the campaign, reducing the amount of electricity used by approximately 2,371,786.51 kilowatts. This translates into 925 tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to the total daily emission of 64,000 households.

The event now spreads across the world. The Korean Environmental Women's Network, a non-governmental organization in Korea, worked closely with Japanese Candle Night organizers to hold their own Candle Night. Events were also held in Taiwan, Australia, China (Shanghai), Mauritius, and many other countries. The Candle Night Committee now sends out newsletters in English to over 70 countries in its bid to connect activities and shared feelings in each country and around the world.

For more information, visit http://www.candle-night.org/English.

IYA2009 Special project: observing mutual events of the Galilean satellites

26 June 2009

Jupiter's system is becoming ever-more observable, with opposition occurring on 14 August. Many observations have already been made and thanks to good images and advanced software, we have created some excellent animations (from Mark Salway and Antony Wesley) which are available online.

Observations are mainly being made in the Southern hemisphere due to the negative declination of Jupiter. Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Brazil and also Europe, USA and China have submitted many light curves of high quality. Some amateurs are even creating websites with their results. After gathering the data and analysing them, a catalogue of all observations will be published.

To learn more about this IYA2009 Special project, please visit: http://www.imcce.fr/hosted_sites/ama09/phemu09_en.html

Expedition to Principe Report Online

25 June 2009

In the spring of 1919, an expedition led by the British astronomer Arthur Eddington travelled to the small island of Principe, in the Gulf of Guinea, to carry out what would become one of the landmark experiments of contemporary physics. 90 years later, during IYA2009, a group of astronomers and enthusiasts returned to the island to commemorate the event and unveil a celebratory plaque.

Read their report here:

http://www.astronomy2009.org/static/archives/documents/pdf/iau_principe_report.pdf

 

Herschel and Planck in the classroom

23 June 2009

To mark the launch of the Herschel and Planck space observatories, ESA has participated in the production of a wide-ranging series of educational materials related to these two missions. These materials were originally disseminated to German teachers through a collaboration with the German "Wissenschaft in die Schulen!" (WiS! - Science into Schools!) project and the "Sterne und Weltraum" magazine.

More information: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Education/SEMPM10P0WF_0.html

Stars for Global Peace

23 June 2009

This is the message of Azhy Hasan, StarPeace Iraqi ambassador for StarPeace event on June 5:

"Away from terror, away from violence, from breaking hearts, there was no differences between Iraq and Iran, between India and Uruguay, there was no distances between New Zeeland and Brazil, here we are united again against all old minds and narrow thinkers, We are here to proving that all of us has his own right to live and dream with a peaceful Earth, that we are humans under the same sky and breathing the same air, Muslims, Christians, Indus, Jewish, Buda, even unbelievers are gathered at that night to send to all the globe a massage which was:  

We are the World, we are the mixed color of  peace, friendship and love, we are the symbol of  long time missed brotherhood, we are black and white, red and yellow, We are North and South, East and West, we are the symbol of free peoples without borders, without thinking of language or religion, we are peace makers, tears erasers, smile painters, we are belong to one Creature, who created the only green planet around the Sun, we are really bounder breakers, we vanishes hate between us, we are together to terminating terror, to erasing thinking of  revenge, we was  there  to signing on  our truce of forever friendship and love. And we make it when the sparkling of several candles mixed with thousands of the star light at that glory night all around the world.   

Your browser may not support display of this image.Peace, friendship, From All Iraqi people in these hardest days of them life to all of you after a fabulous event of Stars for Global Peace on June.05.2009 at 09:00 PM (21:00 UT)"

June 5, World Environmental Day, was a memorable day for all StarPeace friends. StarPeace colleagues from all around the world, from Brazil to Uruguay, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal and New Zealand, broke the artificial Earth borders with three key words: Sky, Peace, and Environment.

In Brazil, Marcelo de Oliveira Souza, from Louis Cruls Astronomy Club, Campos dos Goytacazes, Rio de Janeiro held the StarPeace event. TV News transmitted live the event for more than 40 cities. As Marcelo said, "the event was a big success." They talked with Andrea Sanchez in Uruguay and Mohammad Torabi in Iran from the public square.

In Iraq, although the weather was dusty, Azhy Hasan from Amateur Astronomers Association of Kurdistan(AAAK) held the StarPeace event in Kurdistan of Iraq. They light candles under star lights!

Due to holiday in Iran on June 5, Iranian StarPeace team, Sky Peace Non-Profit Non-Governmental Organization held the event on June 6 in the observatory of Science and Astronomy Center of Tehran. StarPeace team with the help of Plan for Land environmental society organized lectures about environment, astronomy and peace including a lecture by two Iranian cyclists who cycling around the world for peace and environmental conservation. At the end the group planted an olive tree with the message of peace on observatory's yard.

In Pakistan, Hassan Ghazali from Society of the Sun with the help of Umair Asim hosted members of the general public and special invitees from the SOS Children's Villages and the Sharif Educational Complex at the PIA Planetarium in Lahore. They held lectures about life on Earth and nature of other planets. After the lecture, the lights for peace were lit at the Planetarium Globe and messages of peace were shared between the participants. At the end the observation session had been held.

In India, Sumarasar village, a rural area near Bhuj, Narendra Sagar Gor from Kutch Amateur Astronomy club held the StarPeace event. Narendra said: "This was the first time program in the history of the village". More than 500 people joined the program from Bhuj and Gandhidham. Live chatting and telephone conferencing was made between Pakistan and Iran.

In Nepal, Jayanta Acharya, SPoC and Chair International Year of Astronomy 2009 in Nepal with the help of Suresh Bhattarai from Astronomical Society of Nepal held a star party with around 50 students and discussion sessions about environment and pollution, peace and astronomy relations. They also formed an Eco Club with 10 students from Class 4 to Class 10.

Also Andrea Sanchez in Uruguay, Manoj Pai in Ahmedabad, India from Astronomy Club Ahmedabad and Paul Moss in New Zealand from SKY (Southern Kaitiaki and You) celebrated World Environmental Day and borderless sky by holding star parties and lighting candles under star lights.

Stars for Global Peace event was supported by StarPeace, Astronomers Without Borders and UNAWE program.

The World at Night Newsletter

23 June 2009

- The World at Night in collaboration with Dark Skies Awareness project, organize the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Earth and Sky Photo Contest on the importance of dark skies. It is open to anyone of any age, anywhere in the world. More

- See the complete Photo Report: TWAN exhibition and workshop at the 2nd Astronomy & Astronautics International Meeting in Campos - Rio de Janeiro begins The World at night in Brazil.  

- There are new stunning photos and time-lapse videos on TWAN website, featuring starry nights of the planet's landmarks from all over the world:

 

Americas

USA

Make a Wish (Anchorage) by LeRoy Zimmerman

Point of No Return (Alaska) by LeRoy Zimmerman

From the Fire (Alaska) by LeRoy Zimmerman

Alaskan Road  (Alaska) by Shingo Takei

The 60-inch on Mount Wilson (Mount Wilson) by P.K. Chen

Comet Hale-Bopp over Mt. Sunflower (Kansas) by Doug Zubenel

Starry Sky of Zion (Utah) by Wally Pacholka

Life and the Galaxy (Utah)

 

Canada

Iceberg Startrails (Newfoundland) by Yuichi Takasaka

Fog Bow of Newfoundland (Newfoundland) by Yuichi Takasaka

Starry Night of Iceberg Alley (Newfoundland) by Yuichi Takasaka

Moon, Planets, and NLCs (British Columbia) by Yuichi Takasaka

 

Chile

Orion in Chiloe Island (Chiloe) by Stephane Guisard

Southern Sky in Virtual Reality - Labeled (Paranal - virtual reality video) by Stephane Guisard

Southern Sky in Virtual Reality (Paranal - virtual reality video) by Stephane Guisard

Southern 360-degree Panorama (Paranal) by Stephane Guisard

 

Brazil

Enjoying the Sky of Brazilian Coast (Rio de Janeiro) by Babak Tafreshi

 

 

Europe

Hungary

Balaton Uplands under Moonlight (Lake Balaton) by Tamas Ladanyi

Lake Balaton Summer Night (Lake Balaton) by Tamas Ladanyi

Moon and a Lonely Tree (Veszprem) by Tamas Ladanyi

 

France

Carnac under Moonlight (Carnac) by Laurent Laveder

Brittany's Window to the Sky (Brittany) by Laurent Laveder

 

Sweden

The Young Moon (Vallentuna) by P-M Heden

Mysterious Clouds, 80 km High (Vallentuna) by P-M Heden

 

Africa

Algeria

Panorama from the End of the World (Hoggar Mountains) by Babak Tafreshi

 

Egypt

Hale-Bopp and the Great Pyramid  (Giza) by John Goldsmith

 

Canary Island (Spain)

Belt of Venus and Earth's shadow (Teide) by Juan Carlos Casado

 

 

Asia and Middle East

Iran

Downtown Milky Way (Alborz Mountains) by Babak A. Tafreshi

Orion above Persepolis (Persepolis) by Oshin Zakarian

Night Passes above a Village House (Alamut Valley) by Oshin Zakarian

 

Turkey

Lights and Stars (Dalyan) by Tunc Tezel

Sardis and Twins (Sardis) by Tunc Tezel

Milky Ways Fades in City Light (Odemis) by Tunc Tezel

 

Armenia

Ararat in Twilight (Khor Virap) by Babak A. Tafreshi

 

India

Zodiacal Light above Himalayan Hills (Uttarakhand) by Babak Tafreshi

 

Japan

Scorpion and Mount Fuji by Shingo Takei

 

Korea

Moonset in Korea  (Mt. Sobaeksan) Kwon O Chul

 

 

Australia

Fireball Trail in Western Australia  (Nambung) by John Goldsmith

 

Guest Gallery is a a well-received section on TWAN website to feature selected outstanding Earth and sky photos by non-TWAN creative photographers from around the globe. If you have such remarkable photos to share with TWAN Guest Gallery, please contact us. There are new featured photos on the Guest Gallery:

 

- Lyrid Meteor and Milky Way (USA) by Tony Rowell

- Winter Triangle Trails (Portugal) by Goncalo Lemos

- Camels at Night (Iran) by Mahdi Zamani

- Starry Night and Cherry Blossoms (Korea) by Song Ki-Dong

- The Milky Way above Isarwinkel (Germany) by Franz Xaver Kohlhauf

- El Capitan and the Merced River (USA) by Paul B. Gardner

- River of Light (Chile) by Alex Tudorica

- One Night in Kaposfo (Hungary) by Rafael Schmall

- Under the Cherry Blossoms (Korea) by Song Ki-Dong

- Encounter with Comet Hale-Bopp (Germany) by Franz Xaver Kohlhauf

- Kalahari Startrails (Namibia) by Manuel Jung

- Moon and Venus over Rhin canal (France) by Thierry Demange

 

- Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), a NASA's world-known website, has featured a new TWAN photo:

Sunrise over the Parthenon, by Anthony Ayiomamits

 

- TWAN is featuring six special galleries:

Latest Images

Dark Skies Importance

Cosmic Motions

World Heritage Sites

TWAN APODs

TWAN Podcast

 

TWAN is a global program of Astronomers Without Borders (www.astrowb.org) and a Special Project of International Year of Astronomy 2009, an initiative by IAU and UNESCO. The World at Night is to produce and present a collection of stunning photographs of the world's most beautiful and historic sites against the nighttime backdrop of stars, planets and celestial events. The eternally peaceful sky looks the same above all symbols of different nations and regions, attesting to the truly unified nature of Earth as a planet rather than an amalgam of human-designated territories.

Building bridges through the sky

The World at Night

www.twanight.org

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Organisational Associates:
ESO AAS INSU CAS STRW NOVA STFC SCNAT SPA NRC MEC CNES DLR ESA JAXA NAOJ APL PS ESF ISRO ICRAN NLSI NOT U Cluster NASAEAS ASI NRAO CEA  KASI EAE SPA AUI CROSCI



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