IYA2009 Updates

100 Hours of Astronomy logos available in 23 languages

27 February 2009

On the following page you can find the 100 Hours of Astronomy logos available in 23 languages:


GLOBE at Night Ready for IYA2009

27 February 2009

The fourth edition of the international star-counting program GLOBE at Night is poised for wider participation than ever from March 16-28, as a key activity in the Dark Skies Awareness cornerstone effort of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009).

Both the "classic" GLOBE at Night citizen-science exercise that anyone can have fun doing by looking at the constellation Orion using their unaided eyes, and a digital effort to obtain precise measurements of urban dark skies using digital sky-quality meters, are being supported again this year.

The GLOBE at Night 2009 program is designed to aid teaching about the impact of artificial lighting on local environments, and the ongoing loss of a dark night sky as a natural resource for much of the world's population.

"We have now passed the point where more than half of the world's population lives in urban areas, which are notorious for being excessively lit or badly lit by artificial lights," said Dr. Connie Walker, senior science education specialist at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.  "GLOBE at Night is an easy way for people around the world to connect with the increasingly accepted and powerful idea that good lighting saves money, it reduces greenhouse gases by lowering our use of electrical power, it is better for public safety, and it allows everyone to share the wonders of the night sky."

The past three years of GLOBE at Night have drawn more than 20,000 measurements of the night sky from people in more than 100 countries, and from 49 U.S. states.  For more information, and to learn how to make and report measurements, see www.globe.gov/GaN/.

Several cities, such Norman, Oklahoma, Mishawaka, Indiana, Willimantic, Connecticut, and Waynesville, Ohio, are creating mini-campaigns that combine local students with public advocates and representatives from local city and county governments.  "Connecticut kids are collaborating with students in Wales, Canada and Romania on GLOBE at Night, and we have an extensive campaign planned with the schools near the observatories of north-central Chile," Walker said.

Groups that have received special training in GLOBE at Night and related activities include the "Astronomy from the Ground Up" network of small science and nature centers fostered by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) and the National Science Foundation, 146 amateur astronomers that are part of the ASP-NASA Night-Sky Network, and (soon) the Association of Science-Technology Centers.

"International organizing efforts for GLOBE at Night have been strong in countries like Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom, to name a few," Walker said.

Upcoming chances to learn more about GLOBE at Night include the March 6 episode of the IYA2009 "365 Days of Astronomy" podcast and oral sessions at the upcoming meeting of the National Science Teachers Association in New Orleans, March 19-20.

Many cities, such as Tucson, Arizona, are combining efforts on GLOBE at Night with involvement in the World Wildlife Fund's EarthHour event (www.earthhour.org), which encourages everyone to turn out their lights from 8:30-9:30 p.m. local time on the evening of Saturday, March 28, the final night of GLOBE at Night 2009.

"We also encourage everyone to participate in the star-counting activity being carried out under the banner of IYA2009 in October, called ‘The Great World Wide Star Count.' Another star-hunting program called ‘How Many Stars' is available the rest of the year," Walker added.

Looking toward 2010, GLOBE at Night is expected to be adopted as a core activity of the Girl Scouts of America, according to Walker.

Dark-Skies Awareness is one of 11 global cornerstone projects being supported by the

International Astronomical Union's IYA2009 efforts.  For more information on a variety of programs including the 3 star-hunting programs, a planetarium show, a presence in Second Life, and joint programs with U.S. national parks, amateur astronomers and some of the greatest environmental photographers in the world, see www.darkskiesawareness.org.


IYA2009 Videos on YouTube

25 February 2009

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 embraces new technology, and its ability to empower people from all around the world. Couple this with IYA2009 being a global endeavour, and it is no surprise that IYA2009 related videos have been cropping up on the popular website YouTube.

Below is just a sample of what is available!


IYA2009 forges links with the European Year of Creativity and Innovation

25 February 2009

The European Commission has decided to mark 2009 as the European Year of Creativity and Innovation (http://create2009.europa.eu/). The aims of the year are to raise awareness of the importance of creativity and innovation for personal, social and economic development; to disseminate good practices; to stimulate education and research, and to promote policy debate on related issues.

It's clear that the International Year of Astronomy 2009 shares many aims and goals with the European Year of Creativity and Innovation. We suggest that you contact the national coordinator for the national activities of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation. Here is the list of participating countries:

This can be a new way to promote your national activities and reach new
audiences. Collaborations with the European Year of Creativity and Innovation could be very beneficial.
More informastion: http://create2009.europa.eu/



Call for Participation to the 100 Hours of Astronomy Junior

25 February 2009

The 100 Hours of Astronomy cornerstone project (100HA) is a round-the-clock, worldwide event with 100 continuous hours of a wide range of public outreach activities including live web casts, observing events and more. 100HA will take place from 2-5 April when the Moon goes from first quarter to gibbous, good phases for early evening observing. 

To make the 100 Hours of Astronomy available to the youngest around the world, Universe Awareness (UNAWE) is teaming up with 100HA, and call upon you to participate.

Why a specific 100HA JUNIOR?

Most of the events are planned for a wide audience and the language used will often be unsuitable for very young children. We propose to connect astronomers and children on a one-to-one basis to ensure that the youngest (and often most enthusiastic) are given the attention they deserve.

How can I join?

First, join our 100HA JUNIOR Google Group email list on: 


If you are an astronomer (amateur or professional), please introduce yourself: Give your name, location, languages spoken, interest in astronomy, and availability between April 2 and 5, 2009. 

If you are a teacher or a parent, please introduce yourself or your school by giving your name, location, age of the children you wish to involve, language spoken and what you wish to get out of this event. Please be careful not to post any personal information about children, as this is a public forum. 

After that, read the other messages. You will probably find an astronomer or a school that you would like to organise something with. Just contact each other and take it from there! 

Always feel free to post the information in your own language - someone who understands it will be able to reply to you. If you are comfortable translating a conversation between an astronomer and children feel free to do so too.

What happens next?

You have found an astronomer, a school or a group of children you wish to share the 100HA astronomical experience with. Contact them individually by email to set a schedule together. Set a date at which you can bring the kids together and have a conversation with your astronomer. It does not need to be fancy - even a text chat can do. Half an hour is often a good length of time for such young kids. 

It can be interesting to talk to someone in a completely different time zone, such that your school day is your astronomer's observing night! 

If you wish to talk to more than one astronomer or more than one school, we encourage you to do so! 

Please let us know when you intend to chat. There will be a list of participants and of scheduled 100HA JUNIOR chats on the UNAWE website.

Can I get support?

Yes! The 100HA and UNAWE people are there to help you if you have any questions about how to get this to work. Post your questions to the Google group and we'll get you an answer.

More information:

Files are available on the Google Group to give you some advice on how to carry out such an event. These cover topics like ‘engaging young children' to ‘what to observe in the sky in April'. 

We will also prepare feedback and evaluation forms for you to fill in if you wish. This is not mandatory but would be highly appreciated. 

Meanwhile, feel free to look at the online UNAWE educational materials database for inspiration: 


Thank you, good luck and we look forward to seeing you on the 100HA JUNIOR Google group!

Carolina Ödman
UNAWE Project Manager

Terry Bridges 
100HA of Astronomy Online Coordinator    


Texas Legislature Celebrates International Year of Astronomy 2009

24 February 2009

The 81st Legislature of the State of Texas today (Feb. 24) will honor the state's two flagship universities with a joint resolution, recognizing their cutting-edge research and outreach efforts in astronomy in  celebration of 2009 as the official International Year of Astronomy.

The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University will be recognized at 10 a.m. in the House of Representatives Chamber in the State Capitol, and at about 11 a.m. in the Senate Chamber. In House Concurrent Resolution 55 they will be cited for their commitment to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos through joint research projects such as the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) and their participation in the forthcoming Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).

The universities will be acknowledged for their combined efforts to educate and excite the citizens of Texas about the wonders of the universe through diverse outreach programs to teachers, students and the public. This year's outreach efforts include a year-long speakers' series in cities across Texas commemorating the International Year of Astronomy, a world-wide celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first astronomical use of the telescope in 1609.

Leaders of the two universities' astronomy programs, along with Houston businessman and philanthropist George P. Mitchell, a significant financial contributor to both programs, will be present on the floor of the House and Senate chambers when the resolutions are read.

"We're very glad to be working with Texas A&M on these research projects," said Dr. David L. Lambert, director of The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory. "These are expensive endeavors that push the frontiers of astronomy. Thus, it's to the benefit of all that the major public universities in the state, UT and Texas A&M, pool their talents."


Dr. Edward S. Fry, professor and head of the Department of Physics at Texas A&M, said, "The astronomy program at Texas A&M was initiated just a couple years ago, and since that time, it has been making extraordinary progress. This collaboration in astronomy between Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin is a striking example of the benefits that will accrue to the state of Texas as a result of such partnerships -- and there are many -- between these great state institutions."


Texas A&M has recently joined HETDEX, The University of Texas at Austin-led project to study "dark energy," the mysterious force causing the universe's expansion to speed up over time. Dark energy has been called the most important question in science today. The experiment will be carried out at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope -- one of the world's largest. The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M are collaborating in building the instrumentation that will be mounted on the telescope for this project, which is on track to provide results before any of the major federally funded dark energy projects.


The universities are also both founding partners in a collaboration to build one of the largest new telescopes of the future, the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). George Mitchell's $1.75 million gift to Texas A&M in 2004 that was matched by The University of Texas at Austin paved the way for both universities' partnership in the GMT.

The telescope will be able to probe the cosmos more deeply than any telescope in use today, thanks to its seven mirrors that together provide the power of a single 25-meter mirror. GMT will be built in the Andes Mountains of Chile, at Las Campanas Observatory, a site owned by the Carnegie Institution for Science. Other founding partners in GMT include Carnegie, Harvard University, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, The University of Arizona, Australian National University, Astronomy Australia Limited, and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute.

Next month will mark the debut event in a joint endeavor between The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M: the International Year of Astronomy Texas Speakers' Series. The series will feature astronomers from both universities traveling to cities across the state to present their astronomical research to area audiences. Destinations include Amarillo, Arlington, Austin, Brownsville, College Station, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Davis, Houston, Laredo, Lubbock, Midland and San Antonio.

For more information:

Texas House of Representatives Concurrent Resolution 55: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/81R/billtext/html/ HC00055I.htm

Online press kit with links to images and information on HETDEX, GMT and Speakers Series:


University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory: http://mcdonaldobservatory.org

Texas A&M Astronomy: http://astronomy.tamu.edu


Deutsches Museum announces its activities for IYA2009

23 February 2009

The world-renowned Deutsches Museum is planning a series of events to celebrate IYA2009:

  1. Evolution of the Universe Exhibition
    A show explaining how our Universe has developed, starting from the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, and bringing us up to the present day. Questions that puzzle astronomers will be examined, and there will even be a look into the cosmic future.
  2. Reopening of the Renovated Goerz-Reflector
    After a year's absence, this lovingly-restored telescope will be back in action! A public observation night will give it the return it deserves.
  3. 40 Years after the Moon Landing
    An exhibition focusing on the exciting topic of man's exploration of the Moon. Actual lunar rock samples and original Apollo space suits will be present.
  4. Moon Pictures
    The Earth's natural satellite is the focus of this exhibition containing stunning images spanning many ages.
  5. Lecture Series
    Aimed at the general public, titles include "Black holes in the LHC particle accelerator?" and "Blue flashes from the cosmos - the hunt for cosmic particles." More information (in German):  http://www.deutsches-museum.de/information/vortraege/fuer-jedermann/
  6. Astronomy Day 2009
    The Excellence Cluster Universe, TUMLab and Technical University of Munich are working with the Deutsches Museum to dedicate a day to astronomy, hosting many events and activities in the building. More information (in German): http://www.tumlab.de/astronomietag
  7. Long Night of the Museums
    17 October 2009. A marathon observation session using portable telescopes.
  8. Educational Programmes
    Ranging from "training educators" to sessions for the whole family. More information (in German):
  9. Astronomy Courses with the Technical University of Munich
    Opportunities for school children to learn about the night sky, telescopes, astronomical imaging and remote observations. More information (in German): http://www.tumlab.de/HOU

For more information, visit http://www.deutsches-museum.de/information/aktuell/2009/jahr-der-astronomie/. Please be aware that the content is in German.


100 Hours of Astronomy Update

23 February 2009

The 100 Hours of Astronomy Task Group welcomes two new members
Ricardo Reis of the IYA2009 Solar Physics Task Group (SPTG) brings his experience in organizing IYA2009's first event, Dawn of IYA2009, to our effort.  Ricardo is also instrumental in organizing the latest program of 100 Hours of Astronomy -- SunDay, a day to focus attention on the Sun on 5 April.  SPTG is the lead organization for this program.

Stuart Lowe of the IYA2009 New Media Task Group, and leader of AstroTwitter, brings expertise in the latest ways to get our webcasts and blogs to the world.  If you haven't heard of Twitter before, you will soon.

New Sponsor
100 Hours of Astronomy welcomes our newest sponsor, SODAP - SOBOMEX Sky and Space Department, manufacturer of safe eclipse glasses for solar viewing and the Venuscope, a safe and inexpensive projection solar viewer.  Visit their web site at http://www.eclipse-glasses.com/ to see products you might want for solar outreach programs during IYA2009.

The 100 Hours of Astronomy blog has new entries
Shahin Jafarzadeh answers the question, "How Important are Clear Skies for a (Successful) Public Observing Event?", with ways to have a successful public star party despite clouds coming between you and the stars in

Rick Fienberg as he explains what Galileo proved -- and didn't prove -- through his groundbreaking observations when he saw that "Venus is Just Going Through a Phase".

Alan Dyer describes Canada's very successful effort to get kids excited about IYA2009 by "Inspiring Galileo Moments in Everyone" with special astronomical trading cards.

Don't forget the forum
The 100 Hours of Astronomy forum is a good place to share new ideas, get advice and find answers to your questions about organizing or attending 100 Hours of Astronomy events.  http://100hoursofastronomy.org/SMF/

Show your colors
100 Hours of Astronomy store is open for business at Cafe Press at http://www.cafepress.com/100HA .  Resources for identification and advertising are available for download on our web site at http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/all-content but if you want something ready-made Cafe Press will supply it.  The artwork used on the Cafe Press items is also available for download in our Resources section so you can have your own merchandise made locally or do it yourself.

Event registration
If your country has its own web site for registering your 100 Hours of Astronomy events don't forget to register on the global web site at www.100hoursofastronomy.org as well.  This is where many people will come first and there are several ways for them to find your event.  Support your national effort by raising the number of events shown in your country, too, in the new by-country map at http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/component/eventlist/countriesmap !

Embedding our map on your site
The code to embed our map on your web site is also available at http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/find-events .  You can zoom in to your country, region or city, show the satellite view and anything else that Google Maps can do -- then copy the code for your custom map and include it on your own web site.  Instructions show you the way.  There is also a kml file available for use with Google Earth.



23 February 2009

Some short updates from the past week:

Happy Birthday Galileo Galilei: Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei was born in Pisa (then part of the Duchy of Florence) on the 15th February 1564, the first of six children of Vincenzo Galilei, a famous lutenist and music theorist, and Giulia Ammannati: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

Discover the many wonders of Astronomy with IYA2009 Media Partner Springer: Special discount during the International Year of Astronomy 2009: http://www.springer.com/astronomy?SGWID=0-123-12-552199-0&cm_mmc=3rd%20party%20website-_-3rd%20party%20website%20banner-_-PSE744-_-IYA

IYA2009 in Brazilian Carnival: Unidos da Tijuca, a samba school from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, themed its parade "astronomy" in celebration of the IYA2009: http://www.unidosdatijuca.com.br/

Small Solar System Body Named After IYA2009: The International Astronomical Union Working Group on Small Bodies Nomenclature has decided to name a minor Solar System body after IYA2009. Its official designation is now (58664) IYAMMIX: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/154/

President of the Republic of Slovenia: Dr. Danilo Turk becomes patron of IYA2009 in Slovenia: http://www.up-rs.si/up-rs/uprs.nsf/dokumentiweb/F0AD334164C938FAC125754C005BCBC4?OpenDocument


News round-up, 20 February 2009

23 February 2009

It's time to hop aboard the news train. Choo-choo!

But before we depart, remember that these updates are almost exclusively English-language based. Check local sources and your favourite news aggregator sites as well (e.g.: http://news.google.com), to complement these overviews. Ok, let's go!

One of the most exciting projects this year is the Galileoscope, low-cost and easily-available telescopes. MSNBC.com's Cosmic Log has a feature article about the ‘scopes going on sale. It highlights the relevant details, and even boasts a video of US SPoC Doug Isbell explaining the ins and outs of a Galileoscope. Good job Doug, Hollywood awaits!

The UK launch of IYA2009 was held this week at Greenwich Observatory. To mark the event, the Royal Astronomical Society, Institute of Physics, and Science and Technology Facilities Council asked people in the UK what Galileo actually did. Astronomy, Science Daily, Albuquerque Express, Thaindian News and NewKerala reveal that the answers were a little less than accurate, with 73% crediting him with discovering objects including Neptune. Let's hope that these misconceptions are tackled during IYA2009...

Back to Galileo now, because The Lindsay Post (Ontario, Canada) is advertising a Lindsay Concert Foundation show, called "The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres", a co-production of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the Banff Centre. This show combines music and art, commemorating IYA2009. How modern!

NASA has been marking IYA2009 this week with image unveilings at several sites across the US, comments Public Opinion and The Journal. The University of Arizona reports that its Biosphere 2 and Mount Lemmon SkyCenter will be used to unveil their exhibits. The pictures look very impressive so try to see them if you live in the vicinity.

And finally, astronomy is one of the few fields of science in which enthusiasts can make real contributions. This fact is central to the Galaxy Zoo project, recently updated and featured on Scientific Blogging. Sign up and help study 250 000 galaxies, searching for the strange and unusual. You can do that NOW. That's why I put this one last, see?

Lee Pullen
IYA2009 Staff Writer


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Organisational Associates:

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