IYA2009 Newsletter

16 December 2008

 Welcome to the latest IYA2009 newsletter. 15 days left to IYA2009!


Welcome, new Nodes
IYA2009 would like to say "hello!" to the new Nodes, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Andorra, Moldova, Mali, Azerbaijan,  SARA, IMO, and EurAstro. They have chosen an exciting time to join the effort, with global launches just around the corner.

Support IYA2009: it's the law!
The Spanish Congress of Deputies has proposed a law supporting astronomy and IYA2009. For more information (in Spanish), follow the link: http://www.iaa.es/IYA09/index.php/es/noticias_aia_ya2009/el_aia_iya2009_en_el_congreso_de_los_diputados

Good news for school children in the UK
From next year, pupils in 1 in 4 secondary schools will get close up views of the Moon, planets and the stars, in one of the largest astronomy outreach projects ever seen in the UK.  The Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA), Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have teamed up to give free telescopes to 1000 schools from early in 2009. Now all they need do is find a way to part the clouds!
For details, follow this link: http://www.ras.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1523&Itemid=2

Royal Australian Mint launches IYA2009 coins
Alongside telescopes looking up into the night sky, the Royal Australian Mint launched its newest collectible coins at a unique event on Friday, 7 November 2008. The Mint joined with the Canberra Astronomical Society to create a night of star-gazing in celebration of IYA2009. An amazing light show of local astronomers' photography was also projected across the walls of the Mint building.
More information is available here: http://www.coinnews.net/2008/11/09/royal-australian-mint-shoots-for-the-stars-with-2009-international-year-of-astronomy-coins-4499/Events

IYA2009 Secretariat: Welcome Lee
We would like to welcome Lee Pullen aboard the IYA2009 Secretariat. Lee is a free lance science communicator based in the United Kingdom is giving us a helping hand producing and editing content for IYA2009.


Sky & Telescope IYA2009 article online
Popular astronomy magazine Sky & Telescope features an impressive feature about IYA2009 in its January issue. It is also available online here: http://media.skytonight.com/documents/200901082086.pdf

New images available
To assist with your projects, new images of Galileo Galilei's instruments, books and records now available on the IYA2009 website. Fell free to download and use them!

Official poster now with additional languages
The IYA2009 poster has been redesigned to cater for the six official UN languages. Download them from this link: http://www.astronomy2009.org/resources/posters/viewall/

Winter Solstice Sunrise - IYA2009 Irish National Node
It is almost time for the winter solstice sunrise live feed from Newgrange, courtesy of the IYA2009 Irish Node. This is the first event specifically celebrating IYA2009 and it is hoped that many members of the public and the astronomy community will take this opportunity to experience the magic of the sunrise as seen by our neolithic ancestors. To find out more, visit their website at http://www.astronomy2009.ie/, or contact Michael Redfern by e-mailing mike.redfern@nuigalway.ie.
Project Updates

Dawn of the IYA2009
The Solar Physics Group have certainly been putting the hours in, and have created an excellent way to start the new year. "Dawn of the IYA2009" is a global campaign of Sun observation. Also organised by Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto, Portugal, the idea is that, starting at local noon, 1 January 2009, everyone with means to (safely) observe the Sun gathers outside science centres, town halls, shopping centres or simply their own streets, and present the Sun and the IYA2009 to the world.
Please get involved in this project, and help it achieve great success! http://www.astro.up.pt/caup/eventos/dawn2009/index.php
Special Task Group: Solar Physics website on-line: www.solarastronomy2009.org

New Cornerstone website
Dark Skies Awareness has a noble aim: raising the level of public knowledge about adverse impacts of excess artificial lighting on local environments, and helping more people appreciate the ongoing loss of a dark night sky for much of the world's population.
Toward this end, a range of resource materials has been developed. These include a new website, which you can view now by clicking here: http://www.darkskiesawareness.org/

Cosmic Diary ready to launch
The Cosmic Diary Cornerstone project is on schedule for a January 1 opening. This initiative sees over 50 professional astronomers, including those from NASA, ESA, ESO and JAXA, blog throughout the year about their lives and work. The aim is to give the public insight into what astronomers really do, and help demystify science. Many participating astronomers have also written feature articles, which will be posted throughout the year.
You can help the Cosmic Diary project by advertising it wherever possible, and encourage people to log on and read the latest updates. Member of the public can even comment on posts, and ask the astronomers questions.
The website's address is www.cosmicdiary.org. Remember that it will go live on 1 January 2009, launching IYA2009 in style!

Universe Awareness
The December issue of the UNAWE Newsletter is out. Features include information useful for Brazilians, Indonesians, Venezuelans, the Irish, and many others!  You can download the 12.6MB PDF version here:

100 Hours of Astronomy: New Coordinator
A message from Mike Simmons (100 Hours of Astronomy Chair):
I am very pleased to announce that Jennie McCormick of Auckland, New Zealand has joined us as the coordinator of the 100 Hours of Astronomy IYA2009 cornerstone project. Jennie brings experience from the astronomy, educational outreach and business communities. She is already the co-coordinator for the 100 Hours of Astronomy in New Zealand so she knows the project well. She is also Her accomplishments over more than 20 years of organizing conferences and events are too numerous to list. Jennie can be reached by email at farmcoveobs@xtra.co.nz.

Two Small Pieces of Glass - A planetarium show for IYA2009
The planetarium component of the History of the Telescope project is moving along and will be ready for distribution in late January 2009. Two Small Pieces of Glass - The Amazing Telescope is being produced as both a traditional planetarium show and a digital full dome show. More information: http://www.400years.org/planetarium.php

IYA2009 Wikipedia entry updated!
IYA2009 Wikipedia entry has been updated: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Year_of_Astronomy.
Maybe your group can follow this step and help improve the content and quality of the astronomy entries on Wikipedia in your language.

With 2009 almost upon us the workload can seem daunting, but please hang in there and help us promote astronomy like never before! If you need any assistance, remember that the Secretariat is always available for you.

Kind regards,

Pedro, Mariana and Lee
IYA2009 Secretariat    

Organisational Associates:

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