IYA2009 Updates

FETTU Update

29 April 2009

By the beginning of May 2009, two major installations of "From Earth to the Universe" (FETTU) will be open in the United States in two of the countries largest airports.  On May 4th, FETTU will be unveiled at the Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta.  Around the same time, FETTU will premier at Chicago's O'Hare airport.  Each of these FETTUs will contain over 50 astronomical images prominently displayed throughout the airports.  These latest installations join the some 250 locations of FETTU in over 50 countries around the world.  For a full calendar of FETTUs, see http://www.fromearthtotheuniverse.org/table_events.php.  An ever-growing collection of photos from present and past FETTUs can be found at http://www.fromearthtotheuniverse.org/event_photos.php    

Astronomical Chocolate

29 April 2009

Coinciding with the International Year of Astronomy 2009, the ninth edition of the International Contest of Chocolate Figures has chosen astronomy as its theme. The fourteen figures presented have proven that astronomy allows for multiple and creative representations. On the 7th of May, the Museo de Chocolate (Chocolate Museum) of Barcelona will reveal its new temporary exhibition, "Los Mundos Celestes-400 años del descubrimiento del sistema solar" (Celestial Worlds - 400 years since the discovery of the Solar System) in collaboration with CosmoCaixa. This exhibition will combine real objects with the astronomy-themed artistic chocolate figures. 

More information (in Spanish): http://www.pasteleria.com/noticias/view/chocolate-astronomico/01777


UK Minister for Science, Lord Drayson: Why is Astronomy important?

28 April 2009

The UK Minister for Science, Lord Drayson, gave an opening address at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science meeting held last week at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. The Minister spoke to Astronomy Now, an IYA2009 Media Partner, about why he thinks astronomy is important.    

EAAE Course on Astronomy Education

27 April 2009

The course will take place on November 26th - December 1st and will be held in the CSIC Headquarters in Madrid. At this event several different kinds of activities will be presented by astronomers and university professors and secondary school teachers members of EAAE-WGSS. The course is for school teachers interested in astronomy even if they only have limited knowledge in this field. The course is not aimed at experts. The preliminary theme of this course is "Adventure in teaching Astronomy". The aim of the organisers is to promote very active participation and the exchange of ideas. General information will be available through the web of EAAE site

Science Education and Outreach: Forging a Path to the Future

27 April 2009

Science Education and Outreach: Forging a Path to the Future 

The 120th Anniversary Meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 

September 12 - 16, 2009
Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel, Millbrae, California

Registration is now open and abstracts are being accepted!  You can submit abstracts for 90-minute sessions, 10-minute oral papers, or poster papers on a wide range of topics in space-science and earth-science education and outreach.  A proceedings volume will be published as part of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference series.

The meeting symposium begins on Sunday evening, September 13, with the annual members' meeting and the opening reception. Meeting sessions begin on Monday, September 14, with the annual awards banquet held on Tuesday evening, September 15. The meeting will conclude the early evening of Wednesday, September 16.

The meeting will be preceded by hands-on workshops for K-14 and informal science educators scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, September 12-13, together with a Sunday afternoon series of nontechnical talks on the search for life beyond Earth presented by leading scientists from the SETI Institute.

Go to: http://www.astrosociety.org/events/meeting.html
to find information and details on hotel reservations, meeting registration, exhibiting, submitting poster and presentation abstracts, and submitting proceedings write-ups. Be sure to sign up to receive more information and meeting alerts, and check back frequently as new information is added.

Thanks to the generosity of the Spitzer Science Center, a limited number of $300 stipends will be available to K-12 educators who need additional support to attend the weekend and/or the meeting.  Specific instructions will be posted soon on the above web site.

Please join us in September in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, during the International Year of Astronomy, the International Year of Science, and the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, as we look forward and consider how, working together, we can advance a future of science literacy.    

Galilean Nights: New IYA2009 Cornerstone Project

27 April 2009

Following the unprecedented success of IYA2009's 100 Hours of Astronomy, which featured hugely popular projects such as a Global Star Party, the live 24-hour webcast "Around the World in 80 Telescopes", a Science Centre webcast, and Sun Day, another weekend of astronomy events has been highlighted 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, pointing their telescopes to the wonders that Galileo observed 400 years ago.

The project's focus is sidewalk observations of gas giant Jupiter and its moons and members of the public will as also be able to observe the Sun, our own Moon and many more celestial marvels with the own eyes, much like Galileo did 400 years ago.

In the following weeks we will provide more information regarding this exciting project, please stay tuned. Meanwhile, be sure to save the date and plan to be a part of this unique event!    

IYA2009 Update

26 April 2009

 Portal to the Universe goes live! 

Keeping up-to-date with cutting-edge astronomy and space science breakthroughs has just become that much easier, thanks to the Portal To The Universe, the latest Cornerstone project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Explore the initiative here: http://www.portaltotheuniverse.org/

She Is An Astronomer has been launched
The She Is An Astronomer project seeks to break down misconceptions and gender issues in astronomy and science. The official site can be viewed here: http://www.sheisanastronomer.org/

Immersive Film Festival
Navegar Foundation would like to invite all to participate and attend the Immersive Film Festival, to be held at Centro Multimeios Espinho, Portugal, 24-26 April 2009. This festival is an event that will gather international productions in the Immersive Cinema field. It is an open invitation to all, including producers, animators, filmmakers, artists, students, teachers and planetarium professionals, in order to participate in this unique event. To participate, simply submit a work following the guidelines of the memorandum of understanding. For more details, please visit: http://iff.multimeios.pt/

Galileoscope is now in full production!
The Galileoscope Task Group is delighted to inform that the Galileoscope is now in full production and deliveries are expected to begin in June. In two months, more than 60,000 Galileoscopes have been sold, including around 10,000 that will be donated to underserved children and their schools. And this is just the beginning! For order and more information, please visit the official site: https://www.galileoscope.org/gs/

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 Highlights and Achievements: Press Conference
An IYA2009 press conference has been held during the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (JENAM 2009) taking place at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. For more, please visit http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/246/


IYA2009 news round-up, 24 April

24 April 2009

IYA2009 news round-up, 24 April

Question: what is the best thing about Fridays?
Answer: the IYA2009 news round-ups, of course!

We’ll begin our journey in the UK, as Somerset Stargazer (and top bloke) Ben Wilkes has been flying the flag for IYA2009, says the Weston and Somerset Mercury. Ben is working to get a 19-inch telescope plonked atop the Mendip hills up and running, and is also hosting astronomy events for beginners. Ben, the IYA2009 team salutes you!

More public events are being organised by the University of New Hampshire’s Physics Department, according to ECEBlogger. Lectures from staff and students will be taking place once a month, with the next one being on 16 May. Clear your diary, ok?

Den News was present for a University of Wisconsin-Madison public lecture which, by their account, was very successful. The enthusiasm of the presentation comes across in the write-up, and it also contains a memorable quote from an art professor: “Anyone who can explain astrophysics to an art major isn't too bad."

Another noteworthy article about an outreach event comes courtesy of the Iosco County News Herald (United States). Plans were to observe the cosmos using a 25-inch Dobsonian telescope nicknamed “DobZilla”, but cloud defeated this beast. Instead, a lecture, meteorite collection, and discussions on varied topics from life in the Universe to light pollution kept people entertained. The event was hosted by the Iosco-Arenac District Library, Great Lakes Star Gaze, and Sunset Astronomical Society (SAS) who should not be confused with Britain’s elite counter-terrorism force the Special Air Service, with whom they share the acronym.

The Portal To The Universe has been released! This IYA2009 Cornerstone Project acts as a one-stop-shop for astronomy news and content. Space Ref and YubaNet.com have posted the press release as way of a synopsis and Cosmic Diary blogger Sotira was there for the launch. YubaNet.com get another mention this week, as they’ve also posted the She Is An Astronomer release. Thanks, YubaNet.com. redOrbit have performed a similar service.

Next, Press TV reports that Iranian astronomers are planning on holding a public star party near the Iran-Pakistan border, as part of the StarPeace project. The article says astronomers will set up in Goatr village in Chabahar on the coast of the Gulf of Oman on 1May, 2009. A group of amateurs will also hold a star party in Pakistan's Gwadar Port.

Are you poor? If so, no need to fret. The Daily Record has suggestions for free family fun activities, with astronomy coming in at number two, being beaten only by “Hike, bike or picnic”. I would choose “picnic”.

That’s all for now, which means you can start looking forward to next week’s news round-up!


Lee Pullen
IYA2009 Staff Writer



Galileoscope is now in full production!

23 April 2009


The Galileoscope Task Group is delighted to inform that the Galileoscope is now in full production and deliveries are expected to begin in June. In two months, more than 60,000 Galileoscopes have been sold, including around 10,000 that will be donated to underserved children and their schools. And this is just the beginning!

For order and more information, please visit the official website

Dr. Richard Tresch Fienberg


The International Year of Astronomy 2009 Highlights and Achievements: Press Conference

22 April 2009

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 Highlights and Achievements: Press

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 will host a press conference during the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (JENAM 2009) taking place at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. The press conference is scheduled for the morning of Thursday 23 April 2009 at 11:00 BST/12:00 CEST, in the Press Office.

This press conference will highlight the principal achievements of the celebration and the upcoming events and activities.

The topics and panellists are:

* IYA2009: Global Project, achievements and upcoming events: Pedro Russo
* IYA2009 in the UK: Ian Robson
* She is an Astronomer: IYA2009 Cornerstone Project: Helen Walker
* Portal to the Universe: IYA2009 Cornerstone Project: Lars Lindberg Christensen

Media registration for JENAM 2009 is free of charge - any bona fide media delegates can pre-register online using the form at

Pedro Russo
IYA2009 Global Coordinator
Mobile: +49 176 61100211
Tel: +49 89 320 06 195
E-mail: prusso@eso.org

Dr Robert Massey
Press and Policy Officer
Royal Astronomical Society
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 3307 / 4582
Mob: +44 (0)794 124 8035
E-mail: rm@ras.org.uk



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Organisational Associates:

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