IYA2009 Updates

IYA2009 Twitter feed reaches over 3000 followers

22 June 2009


IYA2009 Twitter feed reaches over 3000 followers

The official IYA2009 Twitter feed, @astronomy2009, now has over 3000 followers. This is a great success for the venture, and the number is set to increase even more.

Twitter is a web-service where short updates are sent to interested individuals. It is free and simple to use, and an ideal method to keep up-to-date with IYA2009 developments. @astronomy2009 features all the latest news from the official IYA2009 website, and even more besides. It also gives fellow Twitter users the opportunity to quiz the IYA2009 team directly, and offer feedback and support.

To learn more about Twitter and to sign up for a free account, visit the official site.


HISTORY launches new website celebrating The Universe

22 June 2009

HISTORY, the proud, exclusive television partner of IYA2009, has launched a fantastic website where people can explore the universe through virtual interactive-maps, a challenging online game, videos, and images.  The site also includes information on the HISTORY series The Universe, now airing on channels all over the world, and listings of local IYA2009 events.  Check out your regions site today!  






Worldwide broadcast for July’s solar eclipse

22 June 2009

22 July will feature the longest solar eclipse of the 21st Century. At 6 minutes and 39 seconds, it will be an impressive sight for those able to see it. Visible from mainland Asia, Japan's Ryukyu Islands, and through the Pacific Ocean, the experience for people in those regions will be incredible.

To allow astronomers and the public all around the world to witness this spectacle, the Chinese Astronomical Society, supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will be hosting a live broadcast of the eclipse. Available online at http://eclipse.astronomy2009.org.cn/english, it is an important contribution to IYA2009's goal of making astronomy accessible to all.

Called "Multi-site Federated Live Broadcast of Solar Eclipse on July 22, International Year of Astronomy 2009", it will take full advantage of the latest networking, multimedia, and emerging Web 2.0 technologies. Multiple observation sites will be organised inside the wide eclipse region, especially large cities within the total solar eclipse belt. Signals from different sites will be collected and sent to a central broadcast studio through high-speed network backbones. The public signal will be released to various portals, including websites, TV, and mobile phones.

Thanks to this broadcast, citizens of the world will all be able to share in the experience of witnessing a solar eclipse.

Video: Science Comic Brian Malow on Galileo & IYA2009

22 June 2009

Galileo first used his telescope 400 years ago. Science Comedian Brian Malow says 2009 may be the most exciting year in astronomy since 1609. Check the his latest video from TIME Magazine: http://www.time.com/time/video/?bcpid=1485842900&bctid=26444197001



PBS’ 400 Years of the Telescope Garners Four Telly Awards

19 June 2009

The PBS documentary 400 Years of the Telescope, produced by Interstellar Studios to support the International Year of Astronomy 2009, has been awarded four Telly Awards. A Silver Award was received for an excellent achievement in cinematography, and three Bronze Awards representing outstanding achievement, for use of animation, writing and the documentary over all.

Beautifully photographed in 4K digital cinematography, 400 Years of the Telescope, is a visually stunning chronicle of the history of the telescope from the time of Galileo, its profound impact upon the science of astronomy, and how both shape the way we view ourselves in the midst of an infinite universe.

The film features interviews with leading astrophysicists and cosmologists from the world's renowned universities and observatories. They explain concepts ranging from Galileo's act of revealing the cosmos with a simple telescope, to the latest discoveries in space, including startling new ideas about life on other planets and dark energy - a mysterious vacuum energy that is accelerating the expansion of the universe.

Founded in 1978, the Telly Awards is the premier award honoring outstanding film and television productions. The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, interactive agencies, and corporate video departments in the world. The Telly Awards receives over 13,000 entries annually from all 50 states and countries around the world.

The judges rate each entry on a 100-point scale. Entries with a scores of 90 or higher are awarded a Silver Telly statuette, Telly's highest honor. Entries with an average score of 70 to 89 are awarded a Bronze Telly statuette for outstanding achievement. The Silver Council, the Telly Awards judging and oversight body, is comprised of top advertising and video production professionals that are past winners of a Silver Telly, and have been chosen for membership based on theirp rofessional accomplishments.

400 Years of the Telescope was funded through a National Science Foundation grant and underwritten by the Ball Aerospace Corporation. Southern Oregon Public Television (SOPTV) is the PBS presenting station.

The program DVD, soundtrack and companion book are available through PBS Home Video - www.ShopPBS.org

For more information, contact Kris Koenig, Interstellar Studios, 11 Ilahee Lane, Chico, CA 95973 (530) 343 5635 kris@InterstellarStudios.com

IYA2009 News Round-up

19 June 2009

Let's open with an excellent feature courtesy of Canada.com. It's all about experiencing "Galileo moments", and certainly conveys the enthusiasm of astronomers. Here's the best paragraph: "This is the year to start looking up once more. There is a big party going on to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the telescope's coming of age, and everyone around the planet is invited." The party is IYA2009, in case you didn't get that. Looks like the same article has been reproduced in The Montreal Gazette, so you have options for where to read it.

Scientific American has an IYA2009-centred article which begins by looking at the significance of 1609. It then discusses modern astronomy, in particular extrasolar planets. Nice one, SciAm.

The upcoming solar eclipse on 22 July will definitely spark the media's interest, and the beginnings of this can already be seen as Taiwan News has a story about an astronomer enthusing people in anticipation of the imminent spectacle. Talking of stories that will be building to a crescendo, word of the International Astronomical Union's General Assembly, taking place in August, is filtering out if SatNews.com is anything to go by.

To Hong Kong next, where The Standard has been covering news of a stargazing theme area called AstroPark. Scheduled to open later this year, IYA2009 Hong Kong League convenor Leung Kam-cheung has been praising the government for its efforts in promoting star-watching. According to the article, AstroPark will be in an area protected from light pollution, and will feature three zones: an observation area for amateur astronomers, a naked-eye observation area, and an education zone which will house replicas of ancient Chinese astronomical instruments.

What's been happening in the UK, eh? Science Centric says that a new state-of-the-art mobile planetarium is being "launched" (so to speak) next week. Boasting a high-definition digital projector, it will be taken to schools in the local area as part of the University of Kent's IYA2009 celebrations.

We've all seen scale models of the Solar System before, but few are as impressive as the Planet Trek Dane County. The Wisconsin State Journal has the story of how astronomer Jim Lattis has created a 37km-long cycle route to represent the Solar System, from the Sun to dwarf planet Pluto. The scale is 200 million to one and there are signs at significant points along the route giving facts about the planets. Impressively, it's designed so that walking at a moderate pace is the equivalent of moving at the speed of light. So, it should take participants eight minutes to walk from the Sun to the Earth. Jim Lattis, you are a clever man.

Tune in next week for more IYA2009 news!

IYA2009 Updates

19 June 2009


CERN Courier: IYA2009 special issue
Particle and nuclear physics may deal with the smallest components of matter, but both have strong links with astronomy. This issue of CERN Courier celebrates IYA2009: http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/39153

IYA2009 classical concert
Played by the joint EUMETSAT-ESOC Chamber Music Ensemble, see the poster here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/318/

Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal #6 is out!  
In this issue, educational and public outreach sessions take the limelight. http://www.capjournal.org/issues/06/index.php

Galileo-kun and his friends
"Galileo-kun and his friends", the mascot characters of the IYA2009 Japan Committee, will tell you wonderful stories and introduce you to the wonderful world of starry skies and astronomy! http://www-irc.mtk.nao.ac.jp/~webadm/galileo-kun/index.html

IYA2009 encourages resource sharing among common-language countries
IYA2009 encourages all Single Points of Contact and IYA2009 representatives to communicate with each other, and collaborate on projects and the sharing of resources. Read more here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/319/

Solar eclipse during IYA2009 may unveil cosmic secrets
During 2009 the sky will provide some exciting events, including the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, occurring on 22 July 2009 and lasting 6 minutes 39 seconds over a narrow corridor through countries such as India, Bangladesh and China. Nature journal is featuring an article describing the scientific merits of eclipses. Read it here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v459/n7248/full/nature07987.html

Nepal's first astronomy documentary released
Nepal's first astronomical documentary entitled Hubble and The Universe has been officially released by Rishi Shah, Jayanta Acharya, and Reverend Father Antonysamy jointly during a ceremony at St. Xavier's College, Maitighar, Kathmandu, Nepal. The documentary is a production of FAR SCIENCE Production initiated by G.D. Pudasaini and Utshav Kandel, two young students of B.Sc. first year of St. Xavier's College, Matighar Kathmandu. Read about the documentary and ceremony: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/316/

Help to solve a 175 year-old mystery
Citizen Sky is a citizen science project providing you with a chance to do real scientific research. We are seeking to understand a star that has been a mystery to scientists for many years. This star is epsilon Aurigae, a very bright star located in the constellation Auriga, the charioteer. Citizen Sky welcomes everyone to be a citizen scientist. We will guide you through the process of how to observe epsilon Aurigae, how to send us your observations, and then how to see your results, analyse them, and even publish them in a scientific journal! No previous experience is required. We hope that this project will involve thousands of people all over the world in real, active scientific research. To learn more and get involved, please visit http://www.citizensky.org/

IYA2009 encourages resource sharing among common-language countries

18 June 2009

An aim of IYA2009 is to bring counties of the world together, celebrating the scientific and cultural benefits of astronomy. Language can be a great force to assist with this, uniting nations that share a common means of communication.

Around the world people are producing resources to help with the communication of astronomy. A huge amount of work has already been undertaken, and continues to do so, in the name of IYA2009. However, often these are only used in the countries where they are produced. There is great potential in sharing resources to achieve the common aims of IYA2009.

A great many nations share languages, making cross-pollination of ideas and the distribution of resources that much easier. IYA2009 encourages all Single Points of Contact and IYA2009 representatives to communicate with each other, and collaborate on projects and the sharing of resources. There is also potential in organising translations of particularly useful information. Working together, the aims of IYA2009 will certainly be within reach.

Solar eclipse during IYA2009 may unveil cosmic secrets

15 June 2009

Solar eclipse during IYA2009 may unveil cosmic secrets

During 2009 the sky will provide some exciting events, including the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, occurring on 22 July 2009 and lasting 6 minutes 39 seconds over a narrow corridor through countries such as India, Bangladesh and China.

As well as being a visually stunning experience, observing eclipses helps scientists to unravel mysteries at the frontiers of science. Previous studies of solar eclipses have led to the discovery of helium, the temperature of the Sun's corona, and the role of magnetic fields within stellar atmospheres. New research and discoveries may be made during IYA2009, thanks to the eclipse occurring in July.

Nature journal is featuring an article describing the scientific merits of eclipses. Read it here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v459/n7248/full/nature07987.html


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Organisational Associates:

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