News round-up, 27 March 2009

27 March 2009

It's stopped raining *and* it's time for a news round-up. It is a good day!

The IYA2009 Cornerstone Project She is an Astronomer is moving up a gear, as evidenced by an Astronomy Now Online article. It documents a UK event, "She is an Astronomer, She is a Rocket Scientist", hosted by the Guildford Astronomical Society. Three female scientists discussed their astronomy careers with an interested audience, including students considering dedicating their lives to the best science ever.

Another Astronomy Now feature has delved into the Cosmic Diary: Greenwich 1894 sub-blog. It provides a concise yet comprehensive overview of the project, and is definitely worthy of attention. Look out for the photo of former Astronomer Royal William Christie, who has wonderful hair and a spiffing moustache. The Cosmic Diary has been listed on the CSS Based site for good design, but no-one has commented on it yet. You'd like to write some good things there, wouldn't you?

And now, time for a public outreach event. Get Wokingham has alerted us to a star party this weekend at Dinton Pastures Country Park (UK). The theme is "staring into space", which is surely the theme of every star party? The event sounds very well organised, and is clearly the pride of Reading Astronomical Society's Gerry Bond. Maybe the photo is of him, looking happy as can be next to his telescope. There are even talks, exhibitions and photographs in case it rains. STOP PRESS! The final line includes a quote saying "It's amazing to think we have a wide range of people, who all share an interest in astrology." Astrology? That must be a mistake, surely. Gerry, get on the case!

JSOnline has just mentioned a new series of shows at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Manfred Olson Planetarium, hosted by astronomer Jean Creighton (of Cosmic Diary fame). The planetarium is also participating in 100 Hours of Astronomy, which is coming very very soon! One of the 100HA events is a 24-hour webcast, called "Around the World in 80 Telescopes". Observatories around the world will be featured, finishing up at Palomar, says the National Science Foundation.

Important news now, especially for dark skies enthusiasts and Scottish folks. Astronomy reports that the world's first Dark Sky Discovery Sites have been announced as Newbattle Abbey College in Dalkeith and Highland Council's Glen Nevis Visitor Centre grounds, near Fort William (UK). They will be excellent places to go stargazing away from artificial lighting. Quote of the Week, from the communities and green spaces officer: "This might seem to be an odd thing for Scottish Natural Heritage, along with the Scottish government, to fund, but it isn't." 

Because you've been good this week and have read to the end, you deserve a video-based treat. provides, with a news report on the Cork Parade in Ireland. The theme was "Cosmic Chaos" and over 2000 people joined in the festivities. Here's a brief review of the clip, with timestamps:

00:07: Presenter fluffs the word "astronauts". Not a good start.
00:31: Namechecking IYA2009. Redeemed.
00:45: NASA astronaut Dan Tani, probably a bit baffled by it all.
01:00: Cork's Indian community is involved. IYA2009 brings people together!
01:09: Ming the Merciless? What's he doing there?
01:19: Great green alien costume. I want one.
01:21: How do pirates fit into the theme? Put some effort in, girls.
01:23: Should the video be repeating?

That's it for now, so go and prepare for 100 Hours of Astronomy!

Lee Pullen

IYA2009 Staff Writer


As IYA2009 is a global endeavour, media from around the world report on the activities taking place. Some recent press clippings, most of them in English, are collected here as a depository of stories, making it easy to keep up-to-date with developments. For news stories local to you, consider using national aggregator services, such as

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