IYA2009 Updates

The World at Night Newsletter

4 August 2010

News and Report


  • TWAN Coverage of July 2010 Total Solar Eclipse: From remote islands of Pacific Ocean to an eclipse flight 12km above the sea, 7 TWAN members from across the globe traveled to capture the elegant beauty of the eclipsed sun.
  • Solve a Mystery: Each month TWAN brings you a photo with a mystery. Share your thoughts with us and our global viewers. The explanation or the final conclusion will be posted at the month’s end. This program is a collaboration with Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena (UAP) international project.
  • New Topics Galleries:  Each month there will be new topical galleries on TWAN to make searching through TWAN enlarging archive easier. The new topical galleries are Moon, Milky Way, Meteors, Comets, Eclipses, Aurora, and stunning Virtual Reality animations of night sky.
  • Join TWAN fans on Facebook: Learn about the latest updates on the project and communicate with TWAN photographers at The World at Night page on Facebook page.
  • Host a TWAN event: TWAN events have travelled to about 30 countries since 2008. New planning for TWAN exhibits and educational workshops is started and we seek for the best venues around the world with interest to host TWAN events in 2010 and beyond. Contact us


Latest Photos and Videos

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



Moonlight Panorama at Teide National Park  by Juan Carlos Casado

Tenerife Milky Way  by Juan Carlos Casado

Equinox Trails  by Juan Carlos Casado

The Bears on the Gulf  by Juan Carlos Casado

Iridium Flash above Sky Photographer  by Juan Carlos Casado


Planets and Moon Align above Kilimanjaro  by Kwon O Chul



ISS and Discovery over British Columbia  by Yuichi Takasaka

Partial Lunar Eclipse  by Yuichi Takasaka

Camping under Trailing Stars  by Yuichi Takasaka


Milky Way Explorer  (VR/video) by Stephane Guisard

Starry Night of Patagonia  (VR/video) by Stephane Guisard

Airglow and Milky Way above Chilean Andes  (VR/video) by Stephane Guisard

The Extremely Large Telescope Will be Here  by Serge Brunier


Pole to Pole  by Stephane Guisard


The Galaxy above Mount Hood  by Wally Pacholka

Galactic Arch above Hume Lake  by Wally Pacholka

Starry Sky above Mount Hood  by Wally Pacholka

Crater Lake Milky Way  by Wally Pacholka

Starry Sky above Crater Lake  by Wally Pacholka

A Dream Night of Northern California  by Wally Pacholka


Eclipse over Pacific Waters  by Dennis Mammana

Cruise Ship Eclipse  by Dennis Mammana

Australia and Pacific


Pinnacles and Southern Stars  by Shingo Takei


Easter Island Eclipse  by Stephane Guisard

2010 Totality  by Stephane Guisard

Easter Island Dream Comes True  by Juan Carlos Casado

From Wide-field to Corona  by Dennis di Cicco

Cook Islands

Palm Trees and Milky Way  by Tunc Tezel

Starry Sky of Cook Islands  by Tunc Tezel

Pacific Evening  by Tunc Tezel


Nine Minutes in the Shadow  by Fred Espenak

New Zealand

Ecliptic New Zealand  by Tunc Tezel

New Zealand Milky Way  by P.K. Chen



Denmark Midnight Dawn  (time-lapse video)  by Bernd Proschold


Sinking Sun and Green Flash  by Pekka Parviainen


Turbine Milky Way  by Laurent Laveder

Forest Night  by Serge Brunier


Solstice Full Moon Rising at Sounion  by Anthony Ayiomamitis

Rhodes Startrails  by Tamas Ladanyi

Moon, Venus and Mediterranean Sea  by Tamas Ladanyi

Lindos Sunrise  by Tamas Ladanyi


Skygazing from Hungarian Heritage  by Tamas Ladanyi


Mars, Beehive, and Castle  by P-M Heden

Big Dipper above Sweden  by P-M Heden

Aurora Streaks in Motion  (VR/video) by P-M Heden

Jupiter and the Galilean Moons  by Babak A. Tafreshi

Evening Delight  by P-M Heden

Waves in the Sky  (time-lapse video) by P-M Heden

The Noctilucent Clouds above Sweden  (time-lapse video) by P-M Heden

Watching NLCs  by P-M Heden

Ghostly Clouds at the Edge of Space  by P-M Heden

Middle East


Sky above the Caravansary  by Amir H. Abolfath

Moon Meets the Pleiades  by Babak A. Tafreshi

Alamut Flash  by Babak A. Tafreshi

Planets above Bisotun  by Babak A. Tafreshi

Poppy Trails  by Amir H. Abolfath

Moon, Venus, and Astronomy Day  by Amir H. Abolfath

Spring Night  by Amir H. Abolfath

Startrails above Caravansary  by Amir H. Abolfath

North America In Motion  (time-lapse video)  by Amir H. Abolfath

Sky in Motion Video Clip  (time-lapse video)  by Amir H. Abolfath

Winter Nightscape  by Oshin D. Zakarian

Under the Circling Heavens  by Oshin D. Zakarian

Canis Major and Winter Clusters  by Oshin D. Zakarian

Orion Rises above Snowy Peaks  by Oshin D. Zakarian

Light of Zodiac  by Oshin D. Zakarian

There are Stars in Urban Skies  by Babak A. Tafreshi

New Moon above Tehran  by Babak A. Tafreshi

Moontrail  by Babak A. Tafreshi


Milky Way above Toros Mountains  by Tunc Tezel

Moonrise above Mysian Olympus  by Tunc Tezel


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

Las Campanas Milky Way Panorama  (Las Campanas, Chile) by Alex Tudorica

USNO Dome Caressed by Moonlight  (Flagstaff, Arizona, USA) by Jeremy Perez

Lisbon Sky Lights  (Almada, Lisbon, Portugal) by Miguel Claro

Spring full Moon Star Trails  (Sounio, Greece) by Chris Kotsiopoulos

Lake Michigan Zodiacal Light  (Frankfort, Michigan, USA) by Ken Scott

Desert Celebration  (Maranjab Desert, Kashan, Iran) by Banafshe Golabgiran

Highest Mountain in Khuzestan  (Bagh Malek, Kuzestan, Iran)  by Mostafa Kazemi Pour

Stars and Trees near Erhai Lake  (Dali, Yunnan, China) by Alex Chan

Iguassu Falls Full Moon Rainbow  (Iguassu Falls, Argentina and Brasil) by Renato Seerig

Sunset Planets  (Ankara, Turkey) by M. Rasid Tugral

Milky Way Awakening  (Mount Zoncolan-Carnian, Friuli, Italy) by Marco Candotti

Star Trails above a Tree  (Seghaleh, Iran) by Amirreza Kamkar & M. H. Sharifzade

Plasma Rain  (Warren County, Missouri, USA) by Doug Kniffen

Silhouetted Winter at Dusk  (Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada) by Masoud Rafiei

Star trails over CFH Telescope  (Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii, USA) by Richard Wainscoat

Patagonia Solar Eclipse  (El Calafate, Patagonia, Argentina) by Janne Pyykko

Totality from French Polynesia  (Tehunatara Motu, Tatakoto Atoll, French Polynesia) by Xavier Jubier

Totality from Tahiti  (Tahiti, French Polynesia) by Robert Stephens

French Polynesian Solar Eclipse  (French Polynesia) by Alson Wong

Starry Lagoon  (Lagoa de Albufeira, Sesimbra, Portugal) by Miguel Claro

Save our Beautiful Night Skies  (Davan, Kazeroun, Fars, Iran) by Mohammadreza Foroutan

Taftan Nature  (Taftan, Khash, Iran) by Ariana Ahangary

Morning Moods  (Hachtel, Bad Mergentheim, Germany) by Jens Hackmann

Zodiacal Light over Lake Michigan  (Frankfort, Michigan, USA) by Ken Scott

Erhai Lake Stars and Trees  (DaLi, YunNan, China) by Alex Chan


Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), a NASA’s world-known website, has featured new images by TWAN photographers:

- Easter Island Eclipse by Stephane Guisard

- Ecliptic New Zealand by Tunc Tezel


TWAN is featuring 13 special galleries:

Latest Images
Cosmic Motions

Our Cosmic Neighbor (Moon)

Milky Way





Virtual Reality

Dark Skies Importance
World Heritage Sites

TWAN on National Geographic News

TWAN is a global program of Astronomers Without Borders (www.astrowb.org) and a Special Project of International Year of Astronomy, 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

The Planets and Pictures World Tour continues to gather great reviews

3 August 2010

IYA2009 Special project, the Planets and Pictures World Tour continues to gather great reviews. This time from National Geographic and Washington Examiner:

IAU IB106 (IYA2009 edition) is online

2 August 2010

The International Astronomical Union Information Bulletin 106 (July 2010) (IYA2009 edition) is online. Download the PDF file (4.4 MB) on this link.

World Heritage Committee inscribes old astronomical observatory Jantar Mantar on World Heritage List

2 August 2010


World Heritage Committee inscribes seven cultural sites on World Heritage List, including Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century

The World Heritage Committee meeting in Brasilia has inscribed sites in Saudi Arabia, Australia, India, Islamic Republic of Iran and, for the first time, a site in the Marshall Islands, as well as the Republic of Korea on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur India

The Jantar Mantar, in Jaipur, is an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. It includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments. They are monumental examples in masonry of known instruments but which in many cases have specific characteristics of their own. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations. This is the most significant, most comprehensive, and the best preserved of India's historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.


International Astronomical Union is looking for Director of IAU Office for Astronomy Development

30 July 2010

As a first step in the implementation of the decadal strategic plan “Astronomy for the Developing World – Building from the IYA2009”[i], the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has selected the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town as the location for the Office for Astronomy Development (OAD). The OAD will be a joint venture between the IAU and the SAAO to lead and coordinate the development activities of the IAU globally.

We now seek an outstanding individual to fill the role of Director for the OAD to provide the necessary leadership and spearhead the effective implementation of the IAU strategic plan. The success of this important initiative will be critically dependent on the performance of the OAD and its Director, whose drive and commitment will be essential in building up the ambitious programmes envisaged by the IAU. The successful candidate can be expected to satisfy the following minimum requirements:

  • An honours degree or equivalent in astronomy or a closely related field (and a strong affinity with astronomy). 
  • Proven track record in education and capacity building activities at an international level.
  • Demonstrable strategic vision and experience of change management.
  • Managerial experience, including people and financial management.
  • Demonstrable record of leadership and achievement, as well as a strong international reputation.

Experience in fundraising will be a significant advantage.

The tasks of the Director will include:

  • Worldwide management, coordination and evaluation of IAU programs in the area of development and education and establishment of their annual budgets.
  • Liaison with the chairs of relevant IAU program groups/sector task forces and other relevant stakeholders in planning and implementing the relevant programs.
  • Build up IAU regional astronomy development nodes, liaison with the IAU regional coordinators and nodes in planning and implementing relevant programs.
  • Implementation of new activities, as outlined in the IAU decadal strategic plan.
  • Managing the OAD and its staff, including recruitment, establishment and control of the OAD budget, interfacing with the SAAO as host organisation and appropriate regular reporting.
  • Proactive coordination and initiation of fund-raising activities for astronomy-driven capacity building activities.

The successful candidate will be expected to have an established network of contacts relevant to the tasks described above.

The Director will report to the Director of the SAAO.  The activities of the OAD will be overseen by a Steering Committee comprising nominees of both the IAU and the SAAO.

The SAAO is a facility of the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and provides a stimulating astronomical environment with a proven record of capacity building located in one of the most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities in the world. The Director will be appointed according to normal conditions of service of NRF employees, with a salary commensurate with their background and experience. This is a contract position for 5 years. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and full CV, including the contact details of at least 3 references, by email to both the IAU General Secretary, Ian Corbett (iau@iap.fr), and SAAO HR Manager, Linda Tobin (linda@saao.ac.za). The selection process will begin after 30 September 2010.

For further information please contact the IAU General Secretary, Ian Corbett.

Correspondence will be conducted with short-listed candidates only.

SAAO is committed to employment equity and redress.

Beyond IYA2009 Updates

30 July 2010

Agreement signed for the IAU Office for Astronomy Development
The President of the South African National Research Foundation, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld and the General Secretary of the IAU, Dr. Ian Corbett, signed a landmark agreement in Pretoria today with the International Astronomical Union (IAU) which will foster and promote astronomy in the developing world. More information: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iya1004/

AAAS Invites Nominations for the New AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science.
More information: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/995/

What Are Your Plans for World Space Week 2010?
World Space Week is the best time every year to get your space-related messages to the public, students, teachers, employees, government, the media, and other audiences. More information: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/994/

The four hundred years of planetary science since Galileo and Kepler
: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/996/

The four hundred years of planetary science since Galileo and Kepler

30 July 2010

For 350 years after Galileo’s discoveries, ground-based telescopes and theoretical modelling furnished everything we knew about the Sun’s planetary retinue. Over the past five decades, however, spacecraft visits to many targets transformed these early notions, revealing the diversity of Solar System bodies and displaying active planetary processes at work. Violent events have punctuated the histories of many planets and satellites, changing them substantially since their birth. Contemporary knowledge has finally allowed testable models of the Solar System’s origin to be developed and potential abodes for extraterrestrial life to be explored. Future planetary research should involve focused studies of selected targets, including exoplanets.

Read more: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7306/full/nature09215.html

AAAS Invites Nominations for the New AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science

27 July 2010

AAAS invites nominations through 15 October for a new award that will honor exemplary efforts by early career scientists and engineers to engage the public with science and technology.

The new AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science—endowed by Bob and Margee Hazen and other donors—will encourage efforts to promote interactive dialogue between scientists and non-scientific, public audiences. Such efforts might encompass, for example, informal science education, public outreach, mass media communication, science cafés, fairs, exhibits, social media, and many other activities.

The award, to include a $5,000 prize and support to attend the2011 AAAS Annual Meeting, is open to individual “early career” scientists and engineers who have been working in their current field for less than seven years (at a pre-tenure or equivalent level). Nominations may be made by AAAS affiliate organizations, universities, government agencies, media, research organizations, and individuals.

The Hazens were inspired to establish the new award because they recognized the increasing importance of issues at the interface of science and society, from disease research to global climate change, evolution, human embryonic stem cell research, neuroscience, and many other issues.

“By recognizing one early-career scientist each year, the award will highlight successful examples of public engagement and create models for other scientists and engineers,” said AAAS Fellow Bob Hazen, a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Geophysical Laboratory who also serves as the Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University. “As the major voice for science, AAAS is really in a unique position to give these kinds of efforts the credibility they deserve.”

Bob began talking in 2008 with Margee, an accomplished writer and historian who has co-authored an array of books on American history, technology, and culture, about how they might be able to encourage their colleagues within the scientific community to reach out to the public. He was just completing a term of service on the AAAS Committee on Public Understanding of Science and Technology, and they were both aware, as life-long champions of science communication, how rarely such efforts are rewarded. They decided to establish a fund to endow an annual award.

Soon, other donors also contributed to the award fund begun by the Hazens. Supporters to date have included AAAS CEO and Science Executive Publisher Alan I. Leshner and his wife Agnes; Science Editor-in-Chief Bruce Alberts and his wife Betty; and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. In addition, the Noyce Foundation has contributed support for a special video featuring the award winner.

“Science and technology play a role in all aspects of modern life, but tensions can arise whenever science impinges on personal, political, or world views,” said Alan Leshner, who also directs the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology. “Easing those tensions requires engaging the public, and yet traditional reward systems such as tenure and grants typically have not recognized science communication efforts. This new award will send a powerful message about the value of those activities.”

Nominations will be independently reviewed by a selection committee including Bob Hazen as well as six other public engagement experts: May Berenbaum, Robert Fri, Juan Gilbert, Bruce Lewenstein, James McCarthy, and Nalini Nadkarni.

For additional details regarding eligibility and nomination procedures, please refer to the AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science Web site. The award will be administered by AAAS Public Engagement Manager Tiffany Lohwater, tlohwate@aaas.org, 202-326-8737.

Those interested in contributing to the award endowment can make a gift online, or by contacting AAAS Development Director Juli Staiano, jstaiano@aaas.org, 202-326-7028.

What Are Your Plans for World Space Week 2010?

26 July 2010

World Space Week is the best time every year to get your space-related messages to the public, students, teachers, employees, government, the media, and other audiences.

To participate, simply schedule space-related programs during October 4-10,  promote them as part of World Space Week, and enter them in the global calendar.  In doing so, you would join organizations in over 50 nations.  With each new event, all participants benefit from the increased global attention to space during that week.

Poster Depicts World Space Week 2010 Theme “Mysteries of the Cosmos”

Designed by noted space artist Pat Rawlings of SAIC, the World Space Week 2010 poster captures the intrigue of space. 

World Space Week National Coordinators can receive free copies of the poster thanks to a grant from the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. 

The poster is imprinted in the six official UN languages. The artwork without text is also available for use where other languages are spoken.

Get the 2010 Poster

2009 Report Available

The United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) has released its report on World Space Week 2009.

2009 marked the 10th anniversary of World Space Week with events held in 55 nations. The following are some highlights:

• U.S. President Barack Obama held a Star Party at the White House

• Ukraine Prime Minister Tymoshenko congratulated space workers on the occasion of World Space Week

• Astronauts on the International Space Station sent a World Space Week message

• 225 EADS Astrium employees gave programs for students in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and France

Get the 2009 Report

Get Involved!

Join the largest public space event on Earth!   You can be an important part of UN-declared World Space Week in several ways:

Global -- World Space Week Association has a number of volunteer positions available.  These volunteers work at the global level around the year, helping coordinate and expand this October 4-10 annual event. 

National -- Over 60 dedicated National Coordinators promote and coordinate World Space Week in their respective countries.  To volunteer at the national level, please contact your country's coordinator.  If no one is listed for your country, you can apply to become a National Coordinator.  

Event Holder -- You can hold an event during World Space Week.  See event ideas, add your events to the calendar, and use the logo in your publicity materials.

Beyond IYA2009 Updates

23 July 2010

Reading guide on Astronomy Education and Outreach
Astronomy Education Review published a reading guide on Astronomy Education and Outreach: http://dx.doi.org/10.3847/AER2010011

IYA2009 spirit lives on — during Germany's craziest highway closure:
It was the highlight event of the European Capital of Culture celebrations at the Ruhr in Germany: 60 km of one of the country's busiest highways, the A 40, were completely closed to motorized traffic one Sunday (July 18). This was an opportunity not to be missed by the regional IYA2009 node.
More information: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/991/

New Nightshade version released:Nightshade is free, open source astronomy simulation and visualization software for teaching and exploring astronomy, Earth science, and related topics. Nightshade is based on the award-winning Stellarium software, but tailored for planetarium and educator use. More information: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/990/

Music and Astronomy Under the Stars
:"Music and Astronomy Under the Stars" is a program run by Dr. Donald Lubowich, from Hofstra University, with funding from NASA. The idea is to combine musical concerts, stargazing and multimedia presentations.More information:  http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/989/

Cassini Scientist for a Day - Fall 2010 Contest - National Coordinators Wanted!:
In celebration of the Cassini spacecraft’s Solstice mission orbiting Saturn, the Fall 2010 edition of the Cassini Scientist for a Day essay contest is once again going to be international. More information: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/988/

TWAN Coverage of July 2010 Total Solar Eclipse: From remote islands of Pacific Ocean to an eclipse flight 12km above the sea, 7 TWAN members from across the globe travelled to capture the elegant beauty of the eclipsed sun.
More information: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/987/

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Organisational Associates:

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