IYA2009 Updates

400 years of the Telescope to be shown on PBS

26 March 2010

IYA2009 Special project 400 Years of the Telescope is an exciting multimedia celebration of Galileo's first telescopic observations of the cosmos, and the resulting journey of discovery for humanity.

An upcoming PBS broadcast in the USA on 9 April 2010 means that it will reach an even wider audience. Check your local TV listings for details.

For more information about the film, please visit: http://www.400years.org/en/

New astronomy book drives

26 March 2010

The purpose of the project “Astro Book Drive” is to cultivate astronomy education in developing countries by donating excess books. Through Astro Book Drive, it is hoped that many will benefit. Now new book drives have been announced, and your help is needed to make them a success.

Tanzania Book Drive – a Beautiful Connection 
UNAWE – Tanzania is lead by group of young people who are dedicated to bring the Universe to the local students. As an appreciation to their efforts, Greater Portland Astronomical Society (GPAS) –Maine. USA will be running a book drive to facilitate UNAWE – Tanzania to improve their astronomy outreach efforts. Read more…

Afghanistan Book Drive – StarPals contributes to Afghanistan Astronomical Association 
Afghanistan Astronomical Association (AAA) was born during IYA2009, with hope to the luminous future and by sound dissemination of Astronomy and humanization of this culture, performing his role in building of Afghanistan 's future. As an appreciation for their efforts, StarPals will be donating some resources to facilitate AAA to improve their astronomy outreach efforts. Read more…


Other Book Drives: http://astrodrive.lakdiva.net/projects

Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Rwanda, Jamaica, etc…

Upcoming Book Drives:

African Book Drive – Await more information!

New Affiliation:

AstroBookDrive was endorsed by EurAstro. The Founder and President of EurAstro; Jean-Luc Dighaye says, "Transferring surplus astronomy books and educational material from well-equipped European regions to poorer places with low awareness in astronomy is a highly commendable endeavor." Read more…

Get Involved - DONATE!
If you or your group would like to donate materials to a group, please check - Get Involved and FAQ. For more information you can contact AstroBookDrive. 

Read the Call for run a book drive 

If you would like to request books for your group, please go to the Request page 

To learn how AstroBookDrive started and who's behind it, please go to the About page

Be part of a worldwide peace chain for Global Astronomy Month

26 March 2010

Inspired by the idea of sharing the beauty of the sky across national borders, “Thirty Nights of StarPeace” is a worldwide-scale event that will join together astronomy groups in neighboring countries, one patch of Earth at the time, on successive nights during the month of April.


Using geographical longitude as a reference, the Earth has been divided into 10 equal segments, each one spanning 36 degrees of longitude. Countries located in each of these 10 segments will have a period of three days to participate in the Thirty Nights of StarPeace project.


To be involved, synchronise your group with an astronomy group across your national border, so that both groups observe the beauty of the sky at the same time. The event will start at 180 degrees longitude (the International Dateline), and proceed westward in three-day increments. Thus, countries located between 180 and 144 degrees east longitude will pick a night from 1-3 April for their public night of observation. Countries located between 144 and 108 degrees will have the 4-6 April time-slot, and so forth. In this way, through the month, the starry-night experience will progress around the globe westward in 10 stages, creating a global star peace!


For more details, please visit: http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/index.php/projects/global-astronomy-month/programs/global-programs/111-physical-events/254-30-nights-of-starpeace.html

Noted Astronomers and Latest Astronomical Discoveries Featured in Two Podcast Series from the Astron

24 March 2010

The web-site of the nonprofit Astronomical Society of the Pacific now provides two different series of podcasts involving interviews with and talks by leading astronomers:

1) "Astronomy Behind the Headlines" features short interviews that give you a look at the latest discoveries in astronomy and space science and provide links to related resources and activities.  It is particularly designed for the staff of science museums, planetariums, and nature centers, but can be enjoyed by educators in all settings and everyone who follows astronomy.

The latest episode takes a look at the black hole at the dusty heart of the Milky Way Galaxy. We can’t see it visually, but radio astronomers can spot it with their instruments. A group led by Dr. Shep Doeleman at MIT’s Haystack Observatory recently made a startling measurement of the disk through which the black hole is gathering in material, and in a brief interview, Dr. Doeleman explains the meaning of his discovery.

To listen to the latest episode, access related resource and subscribe via iTunes or XML, go to:

Other podcasts in the series include interviews with planetary astronomer Heidi Hammel and meteor expert and meteorite discoverer Peter Jenniskens.

2) "The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures" feature complete talks by noted astronomers, recorded in both audio-only and video formats.  Among the scientists who have spoken recently in the series are: Paul Kalas, whose group took the first visible-light image of a planet around another star (using the Hubble Space Telescope); Lynn Rothschild, an astrobiologists who explores some of the most hostile places on Earth to find life forms that might also survive on other worlds; and Patricia Burchat, a physicist who is seeking a better understanding of the dark matter and dark energy that seem to make up most of the universe through experiments.

Recordings of past speakers include Frank Drake, the father of the experimental search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, planet hunter Geoff Marcy, and Stephen Beckwith, the former Director of the Hubble.

You can find the audio podcasts, and instructions for getting to the video versions at:

International Sidewalk Astronomy Night

21 March 2010

Fourth annual event on 20 March

Amateur Astronomers everywhere should take their telescopes out on the street to share with the public! John Dobson started on the corner of Jackson and Broderick in San Francisco in the late 60's, showing pedestrians the Moon and planets. Since then Sidewalk Astronomers have spread worldwide and can be found in city parks, on street corners, in front of bookstores and movie theaters around the world on any given night, but once a year we ALL go out together.

International Sidewalk Astronomy Month (ISAN4) is a great warm-up for all your GAM activities. So dust off your scope and take to the streets. Use it to advertise your events during GAM. See the ISAN4 web site for more information on what to do and who else is participating.

If you are affiliated with an astronomy group, get together, take your telescope to the street and get passers by to view the beauty of the Universe. You can set up in places like city parks, near shopping malls, movie theaters, street corners or where ever you see as a possibility.

Not affiliated with any group? You can still join in; get your telescope out to the street and show people “what’s up there”.

If you or your group plans to take your scopes to the street on the 20th of March you can register your event on the ISAN registration page.


Join ISAN4 on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Do you need a copy of the ISAN4 banner for your event? Download it here.

DATE: 20 MARCH 2010

Explore the Universe Through Remote Observing During GAM2010

20 March 2010

One of the Global Programs taking place during Global Astronomy Month this April is the Remote Observing Program of Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy, with participants from around the world joining each observing session via the Internet.

Using a 35 cm telescope, observatory founder Gianluca Masi will guide participants through several journeys unveiling the beauty and mysteries of the Universe.

The GAM remote observing sessions include asteroid hunts, exoplanet observations, a Messier Marathon, Solar System exploration and even observations on demand. For registration visit http://virtualtelescope.bellatrixobservatory.org/gam2010vt.html.

Public events


5 April 2010: Online Messier Marathon

Visit the event page on Facebook

The online Messier Marathon explores as many of the 110 objects in the famous Messier Catalogue as can be done in one night, combining real time images and live commentary while participants text chat and share the excitement with others joining in from around the world. The rare opportunity to observe all the Messier objects (a feat possible only at this time of year), the race to find them all before sunrise, and the joy of sharing the experience with people from around the world combine to make the online Messier Marathon a can’t-miss event.

7 April 2010: "Is There Anybody Out There?"

Visit the event page on Facebook

One of the nearly 450 exoplanets known to orbit other stars is the target on April 7, 2010. Beginning at 00:00 GMT, the telescope will be pointed to a distance solar system to capture the unseen planet’s "fingerprint" – a minuscule dimming of the star’s light as the planet passes in front of it. Participants will share the excitement of this amazing observation while learning about one of the most intriguing topics in modern astrophysics.

15 April 2010: "Write Your Name in The Sky!"

Visit the event page on Facebook

This unique event offers participants the opportunity to discover an astronomical object! Beginning at 21:30 GMT, the telescope will scan the sky, hunting for unknown asteroids. Images will be made available online in real time, allowing participants to search for the faint traces of asteroids. The first to report a discovery will be credited as an official co-discoverer once the find is confirmed by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center.


22 April 2010: Across The Solar System

 Visit the event page on Facebook

 “Across the Solar System” is an opportunity to discover your place in the Universe on a guided tour among the planets, including commentary from an astrophysicist, from the comfort of your home. Share the excitement of a unique journey to the Moon, Saturn, comets and asteroids with friends and other astronomy enthusiasts around the world.


Personal observing sessions


1 - 30 April 2010: "The Universe at Your Command"

Visit the event page on Facebook


The Virtual Telescope of Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory will offer a limited number of free personal observing sessions throughout Global Astronomy Month. Participants will operate the telescope through the Internet and enjoy the Universe from their home. An onsite astronomer will give live commentary and assistance through a live audio/video connection. Up to 30 minutes of observing time will be offered. To ensure the widest global participation, each country will be limited to a maximum of five participants.

More information:






Mike Simmons

President, Astronomers Without Borders

Chair, GAM2010 Working Group


+1 818 486 7633


Oana Sandu

GAM2010 Public Relations Coordinator


+40 724 024 625


Gianluca Masi

Chair, Remote Observing Programs Working Group

Director, Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory


+39 3349236690 

BLAST! Home PAL DVD available

19 March 2010

BLAST! is a unique astronomical adventure movie. This Special project of IYA2009 has now been seen by over one million people worldwide. As a special offer to IYA2009 friends, the PAL Home DVD of BLAST! is being pre-released internationally for only $29.99. The Educational Double Disc for is still available for $250. This limited offer ends 31 March 2010, so please act quickly!

To buy the BLAST! Home PAL DVD visit - https://www.createspace.com/275710

Visit http://www.blastthemovie.com to learn more about BLAST!

More information about the film: Welcome to Astrophysics - Indiana Jones Style!  Five-time Emmy winner Paul Devlin, follows his brother, Mark Devlin, Ph.D. to 5 continents, from the Arctic to the Antarctic to launch a revolutionary new telescope on a NASA high-altitude balloon.  Mark's tenacious team, made up mostly of graduate students, hopes to look back in time to reveal a hidden Universe of newly formed star-burst galaxies.  From catastrophic failure to transcendent triumph, their adventure reveals the surprising real life of scientists.

European Planetary Science Congress 2010: call for abstracts

19 March 2010

Once again it's time to submit an abstract to the European Planetary Science Congress. EPSC 2010 will take place in the Angelicum Centre of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Rome, Italy from 19 to 25 September 2010. The abstract deadline is 10 May 2010. This will be an excellent opportunity for communicators to present the results of IYA2009 projects. 

EPSC is intended to provide an attractive platform to exchange and present results, develop new ideas and to network the planetary science community in Europe. It has a distinctively interactive style, with a mix of talks, workshops, panels and posters, intended to provide a stimulating environment for the community to meet. So the format should enable everyone to find a good audience. Note that as usual, we will be providing bursaries to a large number of PhD students to support their attendance.

Congress website: http://meetings.copernicus.org/epsc2010/index.html

More information about the Outreach and Amateur Astronomy sessions: http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EPSC2010/sessionprogramme/OA

Hubble 20th anniversary

19 March 2010

This April will mark 20 years in orbit for the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope! The rejuvenating Servicing Mission 4 in May 2009 left the telescope more capable than ever and science centres, planetariums and space enthusiasts worldwide will celebrate this legendary observatory and its remarkable achievements. The Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF), in collaboration with American partners NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) will offer a limited number of high-quality large Hubble anniversary prints to selected European science centres and planetariums. For more information on this campaign, please click here: http://www.spacetelescope.org/projects/20anniversary/

First Azarquiel School of Astronomy

17 March 2010

the First Azarquiel School of Astronomy will be held in Granada, July 4-11 2010, and the registration is now open. 

International experts will teach, during one week, four courses and several open-conferences, related with observational and theoretical astrophysics and with the contribution of arabic astronomy to science. 

Participation fee and full board lodging (in double rooms) will be covered for all the students. Travel expensens will be covered for participants coming from Arab/Middle East countries.

 For detailed information, visit: http://www.azarquiel-school.org/

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Organisational Associates:

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