IYA2009 Updates

The World at Night Newsletter July 2010

6 July 2010

News and Report

  • Solve a Mystery: Each month TWAN brings you a photo with a mystery. Share your thoughts with us and our global viewers. The explanation or the final conclusion will be posted at the month’s end. This program is a collaboration with Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena (UAP) international project.
  • Coverage: TWAN in Algeria: From Martian landscapes of Sahara to Mediterranean paradises, the diversity of Algeria and the active astronomy society have welcomed TWAN exhibits and imaging missions.
  • Top Viewed Photos: April-June 2010: See the most visited photos on TWAN website during spring 2010.
  • New Topics Galleries:  Each month there will be new topical galleries on TWAN to make searching through TWAN enlarging archive easier. The new topical galleries are Moon, Milky Way, Meteors, Comets, Eclipses, Aurora, and stunning Virtual Reality animations of night sky.
  • TWAN on the National Geographic website: In a growing collaboration, TWAN selected photos comes along astronomy stories on the National Geographic News website.
  • Join TWAN fans on Facebook: Learn about the latest updates on the project and communicate with TWAN photographers at The World at Night page on Facebook page.
  • Visitors comments: New option on TWAN website for more interaction between the photographers and visitors. Write comments on TWAN Photos, ask questions, and share ideas. Find “comment” bottom below each photo.
  • Host a TWAN event: TWAN events have travelled to about 30 countries since 2008. New planning for TWAN exhibits and educational workshops is started and we seek for the best venues around the world with interest to host TWAN events in 2010 and beyond. Contact us


Latest Photos and Videos

There are new stunning photos and time-lapse videos on the TWAN website, featuring starry nights of our planet's landmarks from around the world:


South Africa

Table Mountain by Night  (VR/video)  by John Goldsmith


Tenerife Sky Watchers  by Juan Carlos Casado



From Sunset to Stars above Iguacu  (video)  by Babak A. Tafreshi


ISS and Space Shuttle above Canada  (video)  by Yuichi Takasaka

Trailing Moon and Venus  by Yuichi Takasaka

Starry Night of British Columbia  by Yuichi Takasaka


Surrounded by Colors in Chile  (video)  by Bernd Proschold

A night above Chilean Altiplano  (video)  by Bernd Proschold

Red and Blue in Chile  by Bernd Proschold

Shooting Star and Volcanoes  by Bernd Proschold

Starry Night of Chilean Altiplano  (video)  by Stephane Guisard

Night of Parinacota  (video)  by Stephane Guisard

Save the Earth  by Stephane Guisard


Starry Night of Latitude Zero  by Stephane Guisard

The Closest Place to the Stars  by Stephane Guisard

A Night in Ecuador  (video) by Stephane Guisard


Moon and Venus  by Dennis Mammana

Apaches Moonset  by Fred Espenak

Mauna Kea All-Sky View  by Tunc Tezel

Starry Night of Palomar  by Wally Pacholka



Feel Your Halo  by Shingo Takei


Summer Triangle above a Sea of Clouds  by Kwon O Chul

Colorful Display of Lights and Stars  by Kwon O Chul

Australia and Pacific


Heavenly Bridge over Wilderness of Australia  by Shingo Takei



Big Ben at Night  by Tamas Ladanyi


Green Flash Sunset  by Pekka Parviainen

Balloon Sun  by Pekka Parviainen

Brick Sun  by Pekka Parviainen


Summer Sky from Mysterious Ruins  by Laurent Laveder

Low Tide Milky Way  by Laurent Laveder

Celestial Figures above the Lights  by Laurent Laveder


Atlantis over Rhodes  by Tamas Ladanyi

Marathon Moonrise  by Anthony Ayiomamitis

Milky Way from Mediterranean Beach  by Tamas Ladanyi

Rhodes Evening Delight  by Tamas Ladanyi


Mars Meets Regulus  by Tamas Ladanyi

One Time Visitor  by Tamas Ladanyi


Stars above Cherry Blossoms  by Juan Carlos Casado


Swedish Night  by P-M Heden

Calm, Crescent Moon, and Venus  by P-M Heden

Celestial Tree  by P-M Heden

Moon and Venus in Motion  (video)  by P-M Heden

Middle East


Mars and the Lion above Kurdistan  by Babak A. Tafreshi

Celestial Neighbors  by Amir H. Abolfath

Tehran Moonrise  by Amir H. Abolfath

Moon and Venus Trails  by Amir H. Abolfath

Enjoying the Night Sky  by Amir H. Abolfath

Night at the Ancient City  (video)  by Amir H. Abolfath

Sun Pillar above Alborz Mountains  by Amir H. Abolfath

Our Cosmic Home  by Amir H. Abolfath

Frame the Northern Crown  by Amir H. Abolfath

Starry Sky of Alamut  by Oshin D. Zakarian

Spring under Moonlight  by Oshin D. Zakarian

Sirius and M41  by Oshin D. Zakarian

Stars and Lights in Alamut  by Oshin D. Zakarian

Self Portrait with Conjunction and ISS  by Oshin D. Zakarian

Starry Night of Alamut  by Babak A. Tafreshi

Galaxy Stream  by Babak A. Tafreshi


Sky above the Crying Sycamore  by Tunc Tezel

Moon and Venus above Istanbul  by Tunc Tezel

Stormy Venus  by Tunc Tezel


The Guest Gallery is a well-received section on the TWAN website, featuring selected outstanding Earth and sky photos by non-TWAN creative photographers from around the globe. If you have such remarkable photos to share with the TWAN Guest Gallery then please contact us. There are new featured photos in the Guest Gallery:

Reaching for the Sky  (Aminabad, Iran)  by Farzan Ghasemi

Moonrise over an Austrian Castle  (Styria, Austria)  by Peter Wienerroither

Under the Summer Milky Way  (Machtesh Ramon, Negev, Israel)  by Yossi Hury

My City Sky  (Mashhad, Khorasan, Iran)  by Ariana Ahangary

Auriga Rising over Joshua Tree  (Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA)  by Charles Banville

Early Night at AOMO Observatory  (Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada)  by Masoud Rafiei

The Cathedral and the Moon  (Seville, Spain)  by Mate Urban

Tree and Star Trails  (Locho, Zahedan, Iran)  by Ariana Ahangary

Orion and the Lighthouse  (Cabo Espichel, Sesimbra, Portugal)  by Miguel Claro

ISS over Space Shuttle Launch Site  (Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA)  by Ben Cooper

Hong Kong Sky  (Hong Kong, China)  by Peter Lau

Western Star Trails from Portugal  (National Pine Forest, Marinha Grande, Portugal)  by Goncalo Lemos

Fire Tree and Star Trails  (Locho, Zahedan, Iran)  by Ariana Ahangary

Lake Uluabat Skies  (Lake Uluabat, Turkey)  by Cenk E. Tezel

View from Zero Point at Pindari Glacier  (Kumaon Himalayas, India)  by Atish Aman, Vikrant Narang



Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), a NASA’s world-known website, has featured new images by TWAN photographers:

- The Starry Night of Alamut  by Babak A. Tafreshi

- Retrograde Mars  by Tunc Tezel

- Regulus and the Red Planet  by Babak Tafreshi

- Atlantis over Rhodes  by Tamas Ladanyi

- Clouds and Stars over Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador, a time-lapse video by Stephane Guisard


TWAN is featuring 13 special galleries:

Latest Images
Cosmic Motions

Our Cosmic Neighbor (Moon)

Milky Way





Virtual Reality

Dark Skies Importance
World Heritage Sites

TWAN on National Geographic News

TWAN is a global program of Astronomers Without Borders (www.astrowb.org) and a Special Project of International Year of Astronomy, an initiative by IAU and UNESCO. The World at Night is to produce and present a collection of stunning photographs of the world's most beautiful and historic sites against the nighttime backdrop of stars, planets and celestial events. The eternally peaceful sky looks the same above all symbols of different nations and regions, attesting to the truly unified nature of Earth as a planet rather than an amalgam of human-designated territories.


Building bridges through the sky
The World at Night

Europlanet honours Jean Lilensten with first Prize for Excellence in Public Engagement

6 July 2010

The first Europlanet prize for excellence in public engagement with planetary science has been awarded to Dr Jean Lilensten of the Laboratoire de Planétologie de Grenoble. For more than 10 years, Dr Lilensten has worked to share the magic of planetary aurorae with school children and members of the public across Europe, using his ‘planeterrella’ experiment.

Dr Thierry Fouchet, Outreach Coordinator for Europlanet, said, “Dr Lilensten deserves recognition, not just for his dedication in developing planeterrella and his inspirational demonstrations, but also for his generosity in sharing his expertise and making the plans for the planeterrella available so that this spectacular outreach tool can be used more widely.  Through this Europlanet prize, we hope to encourage outreach within the planetary science community and we are delighted that this first prize will go to someone who has shown such a strong commitment to collaboration and sharing best practice.”

Dr Lilensten said, “I am very pleased to receive this award.  I am sure that this important recognition will also be an award for my laboratory and all the friends who supported me in these outreach activities.”

Aurorae, or the Northern and Southern Lights, are beautiful green, red and blue lightshows that occur around the Earth’s magnetic poles.  They provide scientists with crucial information about the space environment surrounding the Earth, our ‘space weather’.

The planeterrella is inspired by experiments carried out at the turn of the last century by the Norwegian physicist, Kristian Birkeland, who first described how the Northern Lights were caused by the solar wind’s interaction with the Earth’s magnetic field. In a series of experiments, Birkeland aimed a beam of electrons at a magnetized sphere (terrella) inside a glass vacuum chamber and succeeded in recreating the ethereal glow of the aurora at the sphere’s poles.

In 1996, Dr Lilensten visited Terje Brundtland, who was restoring apparatus that Birkeland had used in 1913 for his largest experiment. Following the visit, Dr Lilensten built several terrellas with colleagues and students. From this series of experiments, he envisaged a portable, flexible version that could be used both as a scientific tool and for public engagement.

In addition to demonstrating how the Earth’s aurora are created, the planeterrella can show auroral effects at Uranus and Neptune, the Van Allen radiation belts, the magnetopause and various effects seen around highly magnetized stars, such as stellar ring currents and jets.

Dr Lilensten has trained colleagues and students in demonstrating the planeterrella and the Laboratoire de Planétologie de Grenoble hosts approximately two demonstrations per month.  The experiment has been shown in exhibitions around France and featured on French and German television. Dr Lilensten has developed a website (http://planeterrella.obs.ujf-grenoble.fr) in French and English that describes the experiment, gives information about the aurora and shows images and movies of planeterrella in action. Observatories in Toulouse and Paris-Meudon now have their own copies of the planeterrella and another will go on display in the Palais de la Découverte in Paris later this year.  Dr Lilensten is working with groups in the UK, Italy and Switzerland who propose to build their own versions.

Dr Lilensten will be presented with his award of 4000 Euros at the European Planetary Science Congress 2010, which will take place at the Angelicum Centre – Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Rome, Italy, from 19 – 24 September 2010.


For images and animations of the planeterrella, see: http://planeterrella.obs.ujf-grenoble.fr/action/actphoto.php

An image of Dr Jean Lilensten is available at:: http://www.europlanet-eu.org/outreach/images/stories/ep/lilensten.jpg

Images of aurora: http://planeterrella.obs.ujf-grenoble.fr/English/aurora/photo.php


For more information on the planeterrella, see:

Archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy: building bridges between cultures

6 July 2010

Ninth “Oxford” International Symposium on Archaeoastronomy

The “Oxford” symposia are the foremost international conferences in the interdisciplinary field of archaeoastronomy, attracting leading researchers in fields such as astronomy, anthropology, archaeology, history, museum studies, surveying, statistics, and the history of religions as well as the history of science and astronomy.

The ninth “Oxford” International Symposium on Archaeoastronomy will be held in Peru in January 2011, the first time this event has been held in South America.

Oxford IX will focus upon topics such as methodological and theoretical issues in cultural astronomy, ethnographic and historical approaches, regional syntheses, and cultural astronomy as a tool for breaking down barriers in society.

The main Oxford IX conference will take place in Lima from Jan 5 to Jan 9, 2011. There will be a half-day excursion in the middle, and a variety of other social events are planned. Afterwards there will be a two-day excursion to sites in the Casma area of northern Peru, including the now-famous Chankillo, whose thirteen towers have been hailed as a solar “observatory”.

A regional meeting, featuring tutorials and workshops, will be held in the vicinity of Cusco starting on Jan 13. This will focus on South America and aims, in collaboration with SIAC, to support and encourage the development of cultural astronomy throughout the continent.

Invited keynote speakers at Oxford IX include Gary Urton, Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies at Harvard University, who is well known for his work on the Andean knotted string devices known as khipu, and George Miley, IAU Vice President for Education and Development, who is spearheading the IAU’s initiative to use astronomy to stimulate sustainable development in the developing world.

The Scientific Organising Committee for Oxford IX includes internationally renowned specialists from a variety of academic disciplines, based in a variety of countries from all five continents. The Local and Regional Organising Committee includes representatives from Peru, Argentina and Brazil. The Oxford symposia are supported by the International Society for Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture (ISAAC).

More information: http://www1.archaeoastronomy.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16&Itemid=19&lang=en 

Astro Book Drive Update

6 July 2010

In 2008 "Ghana Science Project" built the first public planetarium in Accra, Ghana the only digital planetarium in West, East or Central Africa. The planetarium gave a good boost in astronomy education in Ghana. Since it's inauguration in 2008, the planetarium has come a long way serving and educating many students and public.  Education & Public Outreach Unit of Cornell University (USA), currently running a book drive to facilitate Ghana Science Project to improve their astronomy outreach efforts. Read more: http://astrodrive.lakdiva.net/projects/ghana_bookdrive.html

Astro Book Drive on Facebook and Twitter!!!
Join ABD Facebook group and page.
Follow #AstroBookDrive on Twitter - http://twitter.com/astrobookdrive

Other Book Drives: http://astrodrive.lakdiva.net/projects

Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Rwanda, Jamaica, Tanzania etc…

Upcoming Book Drives:

Nepal and Book Drives – Await more information!

Get Involved - DONATE!

If you or your group would like to donate materials to another group from a developing country, please go to - Get Involved and read FAQ for more information. Get in touch if you are interested - contact.


Do you belong to an astronomy group from a developing country? We welcome you to request books for your group, please go to the Request page.


To learn how AstroBookDrive started and who's behind it, please go to the About page

3D atlas of the universe TED talk online

5 July 2010

Following the global success of the YouTube move The Known Universe, with over five million views, Carter Emmart, director of astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History in New York was invited to present at the well-renowned TED Talks in February 2010.

Buy 5 Galileoscopes, Get 1 Free!

4 July 2010

Galileoscopes are in stock and available for rapid delivery - no more long waits. New prices are $30 each for 1 to 5 kits, or $150 for a case of 6 ($25 each); that’s like getting 1 free for every 5 you buy at the regular price! Ongoing support for teachers and others using Galileoscopes with students and the public is now available through NOAO’s Teaching With Telescopes website: http://www.TeachingWithTelescopes.org. Also, through a generous donation from Ric and Jean Edelman, 1 to 5 **FREE** Galileoscopes are available to U.S. primary-, middle-, and secondary-school teachers; recipients pay only for shipping/handling. For details, go to http://www.galileoscope.org and click on the Order Now! link. Now is the time to order Galileoscopes for use in your Fall 2010 education and outreach programs!

IYA2009 Updates

2 July 2010

Naming X competition - Winners Announced
The Naming X team is delighted to announce the winners and runners up of Naming X, a global online competition launched in honour of Venetia Burney Phairwho named the minor planet Pluto in 1930, aged 11. More information: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/964/

6 Ways to Help an Astronomer: Read More http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/06/citizen-space-science-gallery/all/1#ixzz0sQNNdxuu

Llegamos en Paz para Toda la Humanidad: A modern view of Apollo 11
The IYA2009 Committee in Puerto Rico has produced a book (in Spanish) that contains the oral presentations at the Apollo 11 celebration event. You can find the PDF here: http://www.astronomy2009pr.org/Apollo11_book/book.pdf

13th Global Hands-on Universe Meeting, Garching, Germany, 1 - 7 August 2010: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/961/

GTTP2010 - Grants Results:http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/960/

Astronomical Pictures at an Exhibition receives Award: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/959/

International Observe the Moon Night - 18.09.2010: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/958/

Naming X competition - Winners Announced

1 July 2010

The Naming X team is delighted to announce the winners and runners up of Naming X, a global online competition launched in honour of Venetia Burney Phairwho named the minor planet Pluto in 1930, aged 11.
Press release (pdf)

In each of the three categories the Winners and Runners Up are:

Category One - 1 - 11years

Winner:- Glissade
Reason: Planet Glissade sounds beautiful. Glissade means to glide along, as in ballet, which is like a planet, which glides along in the universe.
Name by: Erica Reed, 10years old, USA.

Runners Up:-

Name: Sumer
Reason: I believe a planet should be named "Sumer." Sumerians are from Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, and we should honor our first civilization on earth.
Name by: Brenden Reed, 8years old, USA

Name: Naveen
Reason: Naveen is the synonym of Newness, change and something different. So I chose this name for a NEW planet.
Name by: Akansha Sharma, 8years old, India

Name: Bellaroccia
Reason: It means beautiful rock. Someday someone might live there, it should have a nice name.
Name by: Jane Fenske Newbart, 7years old, USA

Category Two - 12+ years

Winner:- Erytheia
Reason: In Greek mythology, an island at the western edge of the world bathed red by the light of the setting sun.
Name by: Nathan Phillips, 15years old, USA

Runners Up:-

Name: Seshat
Reason: Seshat was an ancient Egyptian goddess of astronomy and wisdom, among other things.
Name by: Emily Temple-Wood, 15years old, USA

Name: Anima
Reason: Anima is an Italic word, which it mean the soul. Finding a new planet make us more curious as it may bring new expectations to our soul to live on a new planet like as the Earth.
Name by: Nuwani Ishara Thotawatta, 16years old, Sri Lanka

Name: Astraeus
Reason: Was the Titan god of the stars and planets, and the art of astrology.
Name by: Christina Thowsen, 12years old, United Kingdom

Name: Makrilios
Reason: Makrilios is a contraction of the Greek words makrinos, meaning far, and ilios, meaning sun. This is because at Kuiper belt distances, the sun is far.
Name by: Deanta Kelly, 12years old, USA

Category Three – Schools, Groups and Astronomy Clubs

Winner:- Virgil
Reason: In honor of both the poet and the astronaut (Grissom).
Name by: Bruce McHam - McKinney High School, USA

Runners Up:-

Name: Serendipity
Reason: The children think Serendipity is a great name because many great scientific discoveries are a combination of hard work and good luck!!
Name by: Neighborhood After School Science Association (NASSA), USA

Name: De Winne
Reason: Frank De Winne was the first ISS Commander worked for ESA.
Name by: Oberon, USA

Name: Umex
Reason: We represent our naming X in a simple equation: (U + Me = Us). Thus, Umex.
Name by: Young Astronomers, Ghana

Winners will receive a copy of the award-winning documentary of Venetia’s story, Naming Pluto and a film poster, care of Father Films, telescope time care of Bellatrix Observatory, Italy and a signed certificate from our judges. 

The team and jury did not plan to select Runners Up for Naming X but as several names stood out we would like to extend a special mention to our Runners Up by way of a signed certificate from our judging panel.

6 Ways to Help an Astronomer

1 July 2010

Space is a big place, and even with their giant telescopes, astronomers just can’t cover it all. This is where you come in. Yes, you.

Astronomy is one of the few scientific fields where amateur scientists can, and frequently do, make significant contributions. But now space scientists are increasingly also looking to people with little or no training for help with their research. Sometimes they are looking for free labor for tasks that humans can still do better than computers, like identifying different types of galaxies. Other times it’s numbers of eyes on the sky or feet on the ground they’re after. But more and more, they are finding ways to get regular citizens involved.

Amateur astronomers and regular folks have already had an impact on the science by making observations of fleeting cosmic phenomena that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

When an asteroid or a comet hit Jupiter in July 2009 and then again earlier this month, amateur astronomers in Australia and the Philippines were the first to notice. Amateurs have invented new telescopes, kept tabs on variable stars and discovered comets. And you don’t even need any fancy equipment.

“We can learn a lot from someone taking a cellphone video of a meteor as it burns up in the atmosphere,” said Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.

But what if you’re not the lucky one who is in the right place at the right time? You are still needed. Citizen scientists have also become crucial for helping astronomers with one of their most intractable problems: too much data, too little time.

Here are some astronomy projects you can take part in right now, while you wait for your iPhone to capture a meteor.

Read More http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/06/citizen-space-science-gallery/all/1#ixzz0sQNNdxuu

Llegamos en Paz para Toda la Humanidad: A modern view of Apollo 11

1 July 2010

The IYA2009 Committee in Puerto Rico has produced a book (in Spanish) that contains the oral presentations at the Apollo 11 celebration event. You can find the PDF here: http://www.astronomy2009pr.org/Apollo11_book/book.pdf

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Organisational Associates:

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