IYA2009 Updates

Know IT All wins Overall MEDEA Award 2009!

8 December 2009

On December 4th the overall winner of the MEDEA Awards 2009 was announced by Maruja Gutierrez-Diaz, Advisor to the Director of the Lifelong Learning Programme, European Commission during a well-attended reception in Berlin. It is Know IT All for Primary Schools by Childnet International (UK), which was represented at the prize-giving ceremony by Lucinda Fell, Policy and Communications Manager, who graciously accepted the bronze MEDEA statuette as well as hardware and software sponsored by Avid and Adobe. Speaking after the event, Lucinda stated "I am thrilled that Childnet's recently launched Know IT All for Primary resource has been recognised as the winner of the MEDEA Award 2009. Equipping children to use the internet and mobile phones safely is crucial and this resource has been designed to share key messages and lessons in an exciting and engaging way at the time when children are at an early stage in using these powerful tools. Since we launched this resource in June 2009 there has been huge demand from primary schools in the UK for it. Both Childnet and the partners involved in this project are delighted with MEDEA's recognition of its detailed pedagogical framework."

In addition to the overall winner, the MEDEA Award for Creativity and Innovation 2009 was won by Daisy and Drago by Terakki Foundation Schools (Turkey) represented at the awards by Özge Karaoğlu who received this award from Tobias Hall from Avid. Traditions Across Europe by Istituto Comprensivo “Don Bosco” (Italy), represented at the awards by Gina Mango won the MEDEA European Collaboration Award 2009 presented by Maruja Gutierrez-Diaz. A MEDEA Special Jury Award was given to Eyes on the Skies by European Southern Observatory (ESO) (Germany), represented by Lars Lindberg Christensen, in recognition for what the judges described as “a superb example of the value high quality video imagery can bring to an educational production”, this award was presented by Helle Meldgaard, UNI-C, Denmark and Member of MEDEA Organising Committee.

 The other finalists for the awards were INgeBEELD by CANON CULTURAL UNIT (Belgium) represented by Dirk Terryn, Les TIC en Classe by VISION FUTURE (France) represented by Hélène Ormières and Odile Lausecker, Planet SciCast by NESTA (UK) represented by Jonathan Sanderson and Studiecoach by the Dutch Open University (The Netherlands) represented by Marion Stevens and Lisette Meijrink.

Speaking during the awards Deborah Arnold, Vidéoscop - Université Nancy 2, France and Member of MEDEA Organising Committee described the terrific increase in the number of entries received this year, 254 from 39 countries and the wealth of experience and interest this represented. She described how the competition, now in its second year, is going from strength to strength and this year involved a judging panel of more than 70 judges from 26 countries.

 Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel, Director of the Hasso-Plattner-Institut (HPI), Germany spoke during the ceremony about the terrific changes taking place generally in respect to ICT use and the importance industrialists and policy-makers place upon the use of media in education. He also spoke about the regional connections between HPI and the history of media. Michael O’Neill from Adobe spoke about the quality of the MEDEA entries and the enthusiasm and commitment which went into their production.


Highly Commended

Because of the high quality of entries submitted to the MEDEA Awards 2009, the MEDEA Organising Committee decided to introduce a 'Highly Commended' category to the MEDEA Awards in recognition of the quality of a number of entries that were very particularly appreciated by the jury. These entries will appear on the MEDEA web site among the showcases of the award winners and finalists.

The Highly Commended entries for the MEDEA Awards 2009 are ASBCAST Mini Lectures by University of Aarhus (Denmark), Dialogue by IE Business School (Spain), I animate, I communicate and I integrate by Free primary schools Meulebeke (Belgium) , Kaatje by VRT (Belgium), Online Video Soap "Neu in Berlin" by LinguaTV GmbH (Germany), Passport to the Internet by Media Awareness Network (Canada), Regards sur la psychologie sociale expérimentale by Vidéoscop - Université Nancy 2 (France) and The Green Energy by Educational RadioTV, MoE (Greece).

The closing date for receipt of entries for MEDEA 2010 is 31st July 2010.


Notes for Editors

To contact MEDEA, visit the web site: http://www.medea-awards.com. For information about MEDEA, contact:


Nikki Cortoos, MEDEA Secretariat

E-mail: secretariat@medea-awards.com

Address: c/o: ATiT, Leuvensesteenweg 132, B-3370 Roosbeek, Belgium

Tel: +32 16 284 040, Fax: +32 16 223 743


Free access to Know IT All for Primary from: http://www.childnet.com/kia/primary/


Cosmic Evolution — New Exhibition at the Deutsches Museum

8 December 2009

From tomorrow, 9 December 2009, visitors to the world-renowned Deutsches Museum in Munich will be able to embark on the ultimate journey through time, as the new Cosmic Evolution exhibition opens its doors. A perfect grand finale to the International Year of Astronomy 2009, the exhibition is the result of a cooperation involving five local research institutions and is set for a two-year run. An opening ceremony takes place today at the museum.

Visitors will be able to follow the trail of cosmic evolution, from the birth of space, time and matter to the formation of the network of filaments of galaxy clusters that is the Universe's large-scale structure. Back in the present, the visitor explores the life cycles of stars, the structure and evolution of galaxies — including the role played by the enigmatic black holes — before catching a glimpse of the future: what do scientists know about our Universe's eventual fate?

Weaving together astronomy, astro-, nuclear and particle physics, the exhibition offers a comprehensive view of cosmic history, which includes multimedia presentations of cutting-edge research.

Hands-on experiments allow visitors to unravel the mysteries of the cosmic background radiation — the electromagnetic echo of the Big Bang, discover the crucial role of dark matter, and find out about the origin of elements such as oxygen, iron and gold that we take for granted on Earth.

The exhibition is a cooperative venture between five Munich- and Garching-based research institutions: 

  • Excellence Cluster Universe
  • European Southern Observatory
  • Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics
  • Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
  • Max-Planck Institute for Physics

The Deutsches Museum opens daily from 09:00 till 17:00. The 100-m2 exhibition is on the fourth floor, in the astronomy section.

For more information: http://www.deutsches-museum.de/index.php?id=1&L=1

Eyes on the Skies wins Special Jury Award at the 2009 MEDEA Awards

8 December 2009

The Eyes on the Skies project initiated as part of International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) celebration now entering its final weeks has won an international accolade. After originally being selected as one of eight finalists from a field of over 254 entries from 39 countries, the Eyes on the Skies movie and book went on to receive the Special Jury Award for its high production value at the MEDEA 2009 Awards held in Berlin, Germany on 4 December. 

The annual MEDEA awards recognize excellence in media-rich educational materials. The competition’s judges said that Eyes on the Skies is “a very well designed and attractive presentation of quite a challenging subject” and is “authoritative without being confusing.” In this way, the project serves as “an excellent example of integrated educational narrative and complementary use of various media,” the judges also said, owing in part to its “superb script.

The Eyes on the Skies project was commissioned to coincide with IYA2009 in commemorating 400 years since the first use of the telescope. The movie and accompanying book engagingly explore the many facets of the telescope, including its historical development, scientific importance, and the technological breakthroughs and people behind this ground-breaking invention. Eyes in the Skies, a collaboration between the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the European Space Agency’s Hubble office and the International Astronomical Union (IAU), is hosted by ESO’s Joe Liske, a.k.a. Dr. J. High international demand has ensured that tens of thousands of copies of the book and more than 300,000 copies of the movie have been distributed worldwide. The movie has been translated into 33 languages, and the book is available in 6 languages.

This is a tremendously important recognition of the high quality of our production and a great tribute to the team, especially Martin Kornmesser, our Production Designer” said Lars Lindberg Christensen, director and co-writer of Eyes in the Skies and head of ESO education and Public Outreach. “I hope that the Eyes in the Skies project will continue to excite, inspire and educate viewers worldwide.”

More about this accomplishment can be read at the web sites below.

MEDEA press release:

Eyes on the Skies project web site:

30 Years at the Top - In celebration of the CFHT's 30th anniversary

8 December 2009

"30 Years at the Top" - An Illustrated Essay by David Gillette (High Definition)

After viewing a creative and humorous Illustrated Essay made by David Gillette for the PBS affiliate Twin Cities Public Television following his visit to CFHT in Waimea and to Mauna Kea, CFHT decided to commission David for an illustrated essay describing CFHT's story over the past 30 years. Once established the main ideas CFHT wanted to communicate to the audience, David was given free rein to produce the final version, entitled "30 Years at the Top".

More information and video: http://www.cfht.hawaii.edu/en/gallery/30YearsAtTheTop/hd.php

United States of America - IYA2009 Update

8 December 2009

Cultural Astronomy & Storytelling - Continuing IYA Programs

- Hubble's Diverse Universe Film: Public screenings and DVD distribution beginning in 2010. 

- The Cultural Astronomy Summer School will continue at the Summer AAS meetings. 

- The UNESCO Astronomy & World Heritage Initiative will continue into the foreseeable future. The goal is to include cultural and scientific astronomy properties onto the World Heritage Site List (http://whc.unesco.org/en/astronomy

- The Skies Alive! Film Competition is working on a professional website but the announcement is at ursa.as.arizona.edu/~iya2009cast/SkiesAlive.htm The new submission date is Jun 15. 


Puerto Rico - Continuing IYA Programs

- continue to offer the 14 images from FETTU with the theme of stellar evolution for schools: "Vida de las Estrellas" - prepare and publish the talks of the discussion panel on Apollo 11 in a book format - prepare and publish an astronomy theme insert in the University of Puerto Rico newspaper - continue to offer the teacher workshop "Kepler's Law's" - continue to distribute the lithograph with FETTU image and math problem called Galileo's Challenge (Reto de Galileo)


365 Days of Astronomy Podcast - Continuing IYA Programs

The award-winning 365 Days of Astronomy podcast is proud to announce that the project will continue for another 365 days and is now accepting sign-ups for participants for 2010. This is a legacy project of IYA and is being managed by Astrosphere New Media Association.


BLAST! educational DVD now for sale BLAST!, a spectacular and suspenseful story of space exploration and IYA2009 Special project, is now available on DVD in a double disc set, specially designed for the educational and institutional markets. Five-time Emmy winner Paul Devlin follows his brother Mark Devlin, PhD to five continents, from the Arctic to the Antarctic to launch a revolutionary new telescope on a NASA high altitude balloon to reveal a hidden Universe. From catastrophic failure to transcendent triumph, their adventure reveals the real life of scientists. To buy the DVD, please visit: http://www.blastthemovie.com/buy.html


News from Donald Lubowich of Hofstra University


- The NYC Columbus Day Parade was successful. The float had IYA banners and logos on two sides and the back and was seen by ~750,000 people along the parade and millions on TV. We were only on camera for about 60 seconds. There was someone dressed up as Galileo with a replica telescope. I held up a Galileoscope, there was someone dressed up as an astronaut who shook hands with Galileo and someone dressed up as Galileo's daughter. The President of the Galileo lodge of the Sons of Italy of American was also on the float. We are in the last minute of this you tube (6:56 - 7:07) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr9S_xctVcA  

- The final Music and Astronomy Under the Stars event for 2009 was very successful. 


- Halloween Stars -Spooky Walk at Clark Botanical Garden approximately 8500 kids (many in costume) and their parents came over four days (Oct. 29 - Nov. 1) to walk through a dark garden with vampires, ghosts, ghouls  coming out from behind the bushes. Everyone saw the IYA banner, my Music and Astronomy Under the Stars banner, and the Visions of the Universe posters. There were long lines of people waiting to look through the telescopes on two nights (Oct. 29 and 30) attended by 5000 people. About 1000 people came to look at Jupiter or the Moon on Oct. 29 while 500 people came to look through a telescope to see a distant object or see the astronomy video on the cloudy night of Oct. 30.


400 Years of the Telescope: educational video clips Enjoy the insightful and educational video clips drawn from over 70 hours of interviews with the world's leading figures in astronomy, shot during the filming of 400 Years of the Telescope. http://www.400years.org/en/video/video.php


Welcome Brian Kruse, the new Lead Formal Educator at the ASP Brian has been a middle school teacher in both Oregon and California and was a coordinator for NASA's Explorer Schools program for several years. He will be serving as both the Bay Area ASTRO coordinator and the National Network coordinator. bkruse@astrosociety.org


U.S. winners of Cassini Scientist for a Day announced The U.S. winners of the Cassini Scientist for a Day essay contest are now online. This international essay contest is an IYA2009 Special project. Students chose one of three images the Cassini spacecraft would take on a given date and time set aside for education, and they each wrote a 500-word essay explaining why their choice would yield the best science results. Winners and their classes are invited to participate in teleconferences with Cassini scientists. http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/632/


NASA Images: an invaluable resource for sharing incredible pictures NASA Images is a searchable database, useful for science communicators, educators, and general astronomy fans. Created under a Space Act Agreement between NASA and Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library, it offers unprecedented access to the largest collection of NASA media from a single, searchable site. NASA Images is constantly growing with the addition of current media from NASA, as well as newly digitized media from the archives of the NASA Centers. http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/624/


Dark Skies book made into a Spanish video for IYA2009 Copies of Bob Crelin's book "There Once was a Sky Full of Stars" were given to Chilean teachers and students as part of a kit from the Dark Skies Awareness Cornerstone project. Taking the initiative, these recipients then translated it into Spanish, and created a video. This has been put online, and is available for all to see and enjoy. See the video in Spanish (with English subtitles) here: http://concurso.educarchile.cl/index.php/videoteca?task=videodirectlink&id=189

Journey through the Universe

7 December 2009

Journey through the Universe is a national science education initiative that engages entire communities-students, teachers, families, and the public-using education programmes in the Earth and space sciences and space exploration to inspire and educate. The initiative engages communities in sustained science, maths, and technology education, and is a celebration of exploration and the joys of learning.

Developed by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE), Journey through the Universe provides a window on the true nature of science and the lives of modern-day explorers, with special emphasis on not just what is known about our world and the Universe but how it has come to be known. It is an approach that reveals the very personal means by which researchers ask questions of the world and empower themselves to create a pathway to an answer.

The initiative includes local programming for thousands of students and families, grade K-12 lessons and curriculum support materials, grade K-12 educator training, and ongoing support from scientists and educators nationally in both science content and pedagogy for the classroom. The communities integrate these resources into their existing science, mathematics, and technology education programming in both formal and informal science education venues. The result of this partnership is programming that reflects the strengths and capabilities of the community, and provides access to resources that would otherwise be unavailable.

For more information, please see: http://www.gemini.edu/journey

Close your IYA2009 celebrations with a lunar eclipse

7 December 2009

IYA2009 will be coming to an end within a few weeks, and many supporters are searching for a fitting way to see off this most special of years. The Universe itself will provide an opportunity, as a partial lunar eclipse will be occurring on New Year's Eve.

Visible from a large portion of the Earth, combined with a public star party it could be a dramatic end to IYA2009!

For details of the eclipse, please see:




Improve your IYA2009 event evaluation with online resources

7 December 2009

A collaboration of individuals, businesses, and non-profits collectively known as GOOD have worked together to produce a series of blog-style posts on the topic of evaluation. Topics include cost-effective tools, timing, timeframes, data visualisation, uncertainty, and celebrating learning.

These resources may prove useful for IYA2009 event organisers wishing to evaluate their activities.

To see the articles, please visit: http://www.good.is/series/innovation-in-evaluation/

See the Universe in multiple wavelengths with Chromoscope

5 December 2009

Chromoscope is an accessible, easy tool that anyone can use to explore and understand the sky at multiple wavelengths. It has been created using public-domain datasets from a number of all-sky astronomy projects. It lets you easily move around the sky and fade between wavelengths using a simple user-interface to illustrate the similarities and differences between what is visible at each wavelength.

There are currently seven included: gamma ray (Fermi), X-ray (ROSAT), H-alpha (WHAM), optical (DSS), infrared (IRAS),microwave (WMAP) and radio (Haslam). You can click on the credit information, shown at the bottom-right of the Chromoscope screen, to learn more about each survey.

Chromoscope can even be downloaded so it can run in a browser without an internet connection.

Explore the Universe here: http://www.chromoscope.net/

IYA2009 News Round-up

4 December 2009

THE NEWS doesn't slack off on Friday afternoons, so we can't either.

30 telescopes have been donated to students in the Greater Victoria school district, reports the Times Colonist. Gifted by the Victoria Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the description makes them sound like Galileoscopes, but that may be wishful thinking. The next headline for the area reads "Grants offered to local farmers". Maybe they'll use the cash for telescopes, too.

Let's all shake the Le Défi Media Group's hand, because they've written about an astronomy exhibition in Mauritius, but *begin* the article with THREE (3) paragraphs about IYA2009. Take note, all other publications in the world. The exhibition will run until mid-2010, and the Minister of Industry, Science and Research was present for the unveiling. Mauritius, you've done well!

Is there life on nearby worlds? No use asking me, I don't know. But why not attend UNH Durham's Physics Department lecture series about life in our Solar System, if you really want to know the answer. Fosters has details, including WHEN, WHERE, and whether LIGHT REFRESHMENTS will be available.

Run along now, to the Bournemouth Daily Echo. This British town was home to famous astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle. Councillor Ron Cooper wanted a blue plaque to be placed by Hoyle's former home so people would know the significance. This was put on the back burner, but Bournemouth's mayor has now announced that it will be unveiled on Thursday, so the event will occur during IYA2009. That's a result.

Zenit is the world seen from Rome. What have they been seeing this week? A Galileo-themed conference held by the Pontifical Lateran University. It's part of IYA2009 celebrations, and aims to clear up some myths that surround Galileo and his relationship with the Church.

If you want to parteeeee, then head to Germany. At least, that's the message that Canada.com is spreading. Just outside Essen is an exhibition called Out of this World, apparently to celebrate "Germany's Year of Astronomy". We've been dramatically downsized? Must have missed that e-mail. The article says "Suspended in the middle of the darkened Gasometer is the world's largest replica moon with a diameter of 25 metres." So if you want to see the world's largest replica Moon in the middle of a darkened Gasometer, get there NOW. 

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Organisational Associates:

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