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 ┼żeleznice, 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/


Organisational Associates:

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