Astronomers Without Borders Newsletter January 2010

27 January 2010

January 2010

Global Astronomy Month 2010: One People, One Sky

Now that the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) is coming to an end, what is there to look forward to for astronomy enthusiasts? Even more events building on the year's great success! 100 Hours of Astronomy cornerstone project, co-organized by AWB, brought out unprecedented numbers of enthusiasts to share their passion for astronomy with the biggest crowds ever. AWB is now planning Global Astronomy Month for April 2010 as the follow-up to 100 Hours of Astronomy.

This month-long celebration of astronomy will allow an even wider range of activities and broader participation than before. And we'll expand on the sense of participating in one global event -- a key to the success of 100 Hours of Astronomy -- by connecting events and activities around the world on the AWB web site with live streaming, video conferencing, chat and more. That's why the motto for Global Astronomy Month is AWB's own motto: One People, One Sky. It's about connecting with each other and sharing our passion with each other as well as with the public.

As a follow-up to 100 Hours of Astronomy, Global Astronomy Month is one of many projects continuing beyond IYA2009.

All information will be posted on the Global Astronomy Month web site as the excitement builds. This newsletter is the first official announcement so there is much more to come. A mailing list for news updates will begin in soon, with subscriptions available on the AWB web site.

Tour of the Universe by Children of the World -- Deadline Extended

Did you host or participate in an event involving children during IYA2009? Tour of the Universe by Children of the World is seeking contributions!

Tour of the Universe by Children of the World is a beautiful and inspirational multimedia video project made from children's contributions to the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Meant to ignite the imaginations of children and adults alike with the wonder of the cosmos -- the one thing that is truly Universal -- Tour of the Universe will be available as a free download.

StarPals, the organizer of this project, is looking for contributions in the following categories: astrophotography and nightscape photography by children, children's artwork of or inspired by the cosmos, photographs of children sharing and enjoying astronomy, and video clips related to children and astronomy. They are also looking for short audio clips of children cheering "You're a star!" in native language (groups or individual children, any language). The deadline for contributions for the IYA2009 edition has been extended to February 7.

Tour of the Universe will be available as a free download available through the StarPals International Young Astronomers' Network website and other channels and free for distribution to promote your own activities in 2010. For more information, visit or contact Audrey Fischer or Jessi Kingan.

Go to the project page for submission of material and more at StarPals

Big Dipper to Southern Cross

Thousands of amateur astronomers from more than 80 countries gathered for a special two-part online observing event, Big Dipper to Southern Cross, in January 2010. The first session was hosted by the Virtual Observatory in Italy on 8 January and featured the northern sky. The second session was hosted by Global Rent-a-Scope using one of their southern hemisphere telescopes in Australia. Everyone got a chance to observe the best objects in the hemisphere they can't see from home, with both sessions having guides to the sky who took images while participants chatted with each other. See the Big Dipper to Southern Cross page on the AWB web site for links to reports and blogs describing this very popular event. And watch for more sessions like this to come!

Beauty Without Borders

The Universe we live in has unlimited beauty to discover but most people fail to see it. Beauty Without Borders (BWB) aims to encourage people to stop for a moment, rediscover the Universe they live in and admire celestial events and objects just overhead by taking telescopes to the streets to share the sky with the public.

The latest event of BWB is Hello Red Planet from January 25 to 30, with the beauty of the planet Mars in focus. This will be the best time to view Mars, just as it makes its closest approach to Earth -- just under 100 million km (62.5 million miles). Mars will be a bright red object in the constellation of Cancer, outshining all but the brightest stars.

Go to the Beauty Without Borders web site for more information.

Tweetup for the Launch of Solar Dynamics Observatory

AWB Affiliate Astronomy.FM invites all Astronomers Without Borders affiliate groups, individual members and friends to attend their Virtual SDO Launch Tweetup! A Tweetup is a meeting of followers of a Twitter group (Twitter meetup), and in this case the group is the Solar Dynamics Observatory set to launch to space on February 9. NASA has been organizing Tweetups in real life on launch day for SDO followers but not everyone can make it so Astronomy.FM has stepped up with the online event. NASA says this will be their first virtual Tweetup, and they are creating special material for an exceptional online experience. On tap are information booths on SDO and the Sun, streaming video, chat room, live reports, quizzes with prizes and more. Be sure to invite your friends along. Find out more at Astronomy.FM.

Eclipse Brings Together North and South of Sri Lanka

The island nation of Sri Lanka is not big but still the recent trip south to north for an eclipse was a first for many. The northern area had been off limits to those from the south during the 30-year civil war recently ended. The trip presented many difficulties including a language barrier. But in true Astronomers Without Borders fashion, all barriers were overcome and the 2000 people in attendance were amazed by the celestial spectacle. Read more with photos on the blog of Thilina Heenatigala, the AWB National Coordinator for Sri Lanka.

New Affiliates

Do you know of groups in your area who might want to join AWB? Let them know about us and bring them into the growing global community. Programs are continuing to take shape and we want to bring in as many groups as possible from every nation on our planet.

These are the Affiliates that have joined Astronomers Without Borders since the last Newsletter:

Sterrenwacht Presikheaven (Netherlands)
Des Moines Astronomical Association (USA)
Trinidad and Tobago Astronomical Society (Trinidad and Tobago)
Sociedad Astronómica de la Facultad de Ingeniería de la UNAM, SAFIR-UNAM (Mexico)
Khayyam Amateury Astronomy Club (Iran)
Grupo de Estudos Astronômicos da UEMA (Brazil)

Organisational Associates:

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