IYA2009 Updates

DSA: GLOBE at Night 2009: 16-28 March

13 March 2009

Once again, people around the world are invited to participate in a citizen-science program to monitor local light pollution. The campaign known as GLOBE at Night is part of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) through the Dark Skies Awareness Cornerstone Project. IYA2009 is a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, marking the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei. IYA2009 is endorsed by the United Nations and the International Council on Science (ICSU) and initiated by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO to help the citizens of the world develop a greater appreciation of astronomy and rediscover their place in the Universe. IYA2009 events and activities will take place at global, regional, national and local levels through collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers, science centers, educators, and science communicators occurring throughout the year.

GLOBE at Night provides an opportunity for participants to go outside and observe the constellation Orion from 16-28 March 2009. Participants simply choose a clear night on which stars are visible, take measurements of stars in this portion of the sky using GLOBE Magnitude Charts, and enter observations into the GLOBE at Night Web site. Students--alongside teachers, parents and community members-- amass a data set from which they can begin to explore the concept of light pollution and to research patterns occurring across the globe.

Light pollution is now recognized as yet another human-made form of pollution similar to air, water and noise pollution that causes damage to our environment. Light pollution is defined by the International Dark-Sky Association as any adverse effect of artificial light, including sky glow, glare, light trespass, light clutter, decreased visibility at night, and energy waste. Unobtrusive artificial lighting directed downward that sensibly illuminates roads and property is considered necessary and useful lighting, but excessive lighting or lighting that leaks sideway or upwards is wasted lighting and constitutes light pollution.

Light pollution takes a toll on our environment. It is wasteful, requiring energy often generated from non-renewable sources such as oil and coal. It affects wildlife, such as sea turtles, who bury their eggs in sandy beaches at night and then return to the sea guided by the sight of shimmering seas reflecting moonlight, which nature intended to be the brightest light on any given night. Artificial light confuses them, luring them away from the ocean and subjecting them to the dangers of roads and predators. Light pollution has been shown to affect the mating, migration and predation behaviors of many different species. Light pollution obscures the night sky for astronomical observations, disrupts ecosystems and can have adverse health effects. Light pollution has a less measurable, but equally important, consequence: the great loss to the human experience when we cannot gaze up into a night sky full of stars.

GLOBE at Night helps students become aware of Earth as a system while observing the atmosphere and learning that what we do on earth affects the skies above. Participation in GLOBE at Night is open to anyone who lives or works in one of the 110 GLOBE countries and can get outside and look skyward during 16-28 March. You can enter your observations on the GLOBE at Night Report web page from 16 March - 7 April. If you are not located in a GLOBE Country, please contact the GLOBE Regional Desk Officer for your region to learn more about how a country can join. Participation does not require any special training or instruction. The GLOBE at Night Web site will provide all the information needed to participate, including instruction guides for teachers, students, and parents. There is no cost to participate in GLOBE at Night.

Please share information about GLOBE at Night with anyone who might be interested. Color postcards and one-page flyers are available on the Web site for you to distribute. In 2008, citizen scientists from around the world submitted nearly 7000 observations. Help us top that in 2009!

GLOBE and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) would like to acknowledge: NASA, NSF, and the U.S. Department of State for their financial and in-kind support of GLOBE at Night activities as well as UCAR Education and Outreach and Windows to the Universe for their help in developing the GLOBE at Night Web site and learning activities, ESRI for their support of GLOBE at Night data collection and visualization, and CADIAS, IDA and UNESCO for their help in promoting GLOBE at Night around the world.

Also, on the last night of GLOBE at Night, March 28, 2009, Earth Hour will take place between 8:30 and 9:30pm. Earth Hour is a wave of darkness that encompasses the Earth at that time. Nearly 1000 cities from over 80 countries will participate by turning out lights. On 2-5 April 2009, continue participating in IYA2009 through the four-day event 11 Hours of Astronomy! One of the key goals of 100 Hours of Astronomy is to have as many people as possible look through a telescope as Galileo did for the first time 400 years ago. You can purchase your own GalileoscopeTM as well! The GalileoscopeTM is a high-quality, low-cost telescope kit developed for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 by a team of leading astronomers, optical engineers, and science educators. No matter where you live, with this easy-to-assemble, 50-mm (2-inch) diameter, 25- to 50-power achromatic refractor, you can see the celestial wonders that Galileo Galilei first glimpsed 400 years ago and that still delight stargazers today. These include lunar craters and mountains, four moons circling Jupiter, the phases of Venus, Saturn's rings, and countless stars invisible to the unaided eye. Check the IYA2009 Web site for on-going star gazing activities!


IYA2009 Update

13 March 2009

100 Hours of Astronomy updates

Excitement is building with only three weeks to go until the 100 Hours of Astronomy global event kicks off! Remember to register your 100HA event on the global registry if you haven't already done so.

Sky & Telescope's 100HA article: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/40657397.html
Live webcast planned: http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/program/75-live-24-hour-research-observatory-webcast
See how your country is getting on: http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/component/eventlist/countriesmap
100HA posters: http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/all-content#posters
New blog entries: http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/blogs?view=idoblog
Global photogallery: http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/photo-galleries
Official forum: http://100hoursofastronomy.org/SMF/

Planetarium shows ready to celebrate IYA2009
Three new planetarium shows are ready to entertain and educate the public! Specially produced for the International Year of Astronomy 2009, the shows are sure to delight their audiences. To learn more, go to: http://www.astronomy2009.org/news/updates/176/

Galileo: Images of the Universe from Antiquity to the Telescope
The history of astronomy in a fascinating exhibition in Florence, held to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo's sensational discoveries. For more, go to: http://www.palazzostrozzi.org/Sezione.jsp?idSezione=109

Presentation: Astronomy highlights during IYA2009
A new Microsoft PowerPoint presentation is available, showing astronomy events occurring during 2009. Download it for free: http://www.astronomy2009.org/resources/presentations/detail/presentation_astronomy_2009/

Women in the Stars
During IYA2009, the role of women in astronomy, past and present is celebrated in the attempt to encourage females to enrol in science careers and promote gender equality. "Mujeres en las estrellas" or Women in the Stars, is a Spanish series that will outline the trajectory of female Spanish astronomers and their contributions to astronomy.  Follow the link for more information (in Spanish): http://www.uned.es/bici/Curso2008-2009/090302/tvbici19.pdf

2nd Astronomy & Astrophysics School "Scientific Writing for Young Astronomers"
The direct purpose of organising an "Astronomy and Astrophysics School" is to teach beginning PhD students how to express their scientific results through adequate and efficient science writing. In other words: how to write scientific papers for different forums (journals, proceedings, thesis manuscripts, etc.). To this end, a three-day training course is organised. More information: http://www.swya.org/


News round-up, 13 March 2009

13 March 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the weekly English-language IYA2009 news round-up.

There are many pressing issues which may be brought to the fore thanks to IYA2009. One of these, according to eWorldVu is the danger of space debris. Colliding satellites and abandoned junk cause real hazards in orbit around the Earth. Could IYA2009 be the golden opportunity to make policy makers pay attention to the risks?

The 100 Hours of Astronomy blog is focussing on science this week, as Rick Fienberg looks at the planet Saturn. He explains that it will be well placed in the evening sky for observing during 100HA in early April, but its rings are tilted at an unfavourable angle. You can't have it all.

The UK's Wrexham Chronicle has been outlining a series of IYA2009 activities taking place in that part of the world. The 11th annual Wrexham Science Festival will be tied closely with astronomy themes. All events are free as well, which is no bad thing.

The Sheffield Telegraph is promoting IYA2009 this week, and emphasising local efforts to get the public interested in astronomy. Dark Sky Yorkshire, led by the University of Sheffield, is running a roadshow offering a mix of workshops, cinema presentations, photography talks, and lectures.

Still in the land of fish ‘n' chips and dangerously unhealthy breakfasts, the Whitchurch Herald says that local schools are engaging in activities with a cosmic twist, including using radio telescopes at Jodrell Bank.

To India next, and Express Buzz has a feel-good story about the Kerala State Science and Technology Museum popularising astronomy. They are planning to open astronomy centres across the state. Telescopes are also going to be given to schools, letting pupils explore the night sky for themselves.

Money money money! What's the one thing better than cash? Astronomy-themed cash! That's a theory that the Austrian Mint is putting to the test, report Coin News. Their new €25 coin displays pictures of Galileo and the Moon, among other things. Apparently there is heavy demand for these, so you'd best get a move on if you want one.

If you're a late-comer to IYA2009, fear not as there are others in the same boat as you. Slice of SciFi has a good article which will get you up to speed in no time at all.

And finally, for a different look at the Galileoscope Cornerstone, check out Jacksonville Business Journal. The site is running a story on the financial side of the project, and as such has lots of facts and figures.

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.    

That's it. You may be seated once more.

Lee Pullen

IYA2009 Staff Writer


Presentation: Astronomy highlights during IYA2009

12 March 2009

Astronomy is a dynamic and ever-changing science, where new discoveries are regularly made. Many thousands of astronomers around the world are working to progress our knowledge. 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy 2009. It is the perfect time to learn about the Universe as there are lots of space missions and celestial events to look forward to. The IYA2009 Secretariat has prepared a presentation that outlines the highlights of 2009.

Let's take a look at some of the highlights of astronomy taking place during IYA2009: http://www.astronomy2009.org/resources/presentations/detail/presentation_astronomy_2009/

100 Hours of Astronomy: Update

12 March 2009

Excitement is building with only three weeks to go until the 100 Hours of Astronomy global event kicks off!   Event registrations have been coming in thick and fast, resource downloads have been steady and most groups have now received their translated 100HA logos. Everything is on track for a very successful global 100 Hours of Astronomy 2009.

Remember to register your 100HA event on the global registry if you haven't already done so. I have included with this email an updated image of the 100HA global registry map. Certainly looks impressive. To take a closer look and see how your country is getting on - click here  http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/component/eventlist/countriesmap 


100HA Telescope Participation Stickers

We have designed four new stickers to be used at your 100 Hours of Astronomy event.   These can be mounted onto your telescope tube or mount and are a great way of identify your telescope as being part of the world's biggest star party!  They can also be kept as a 'keep sake' or reminder of  your 100HA 2009 event.  There are two colours to choose from and a special sticker for the SunDay event on 5 April.  Smaller stickers will be produced shortly. http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/all-content#stationery_stickers


Official 100HA Poster

The new 100 Hours of Astronomy poster has been extremely popular and makes a wonderful printed poster display and is pefect for advertsing.  If you would like a copy, visit our resource page: http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/all-content#posters


The 100 Hours of Astronomy blog has new entries
We encourage everyone to check out the 100 Hours blogs, photo galleries, and forums. We have a great group of bloggers, and very interesting blogs. Topic include, amateur astronomy, astronomy and music, Galileo and the Moon, and how to do astronomy events on a low budget. Our bloggers would love to have your comments too! http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/blogs?view=idoblog


Global Photogallery

There's been a great response to the Photo Galleries, and we have fantastic pictures from the Phillippines, India, UAE, Bangladesh, Romania, Saipan and Tunisia! We have received great feedback about these pages and look forward to seeing more posted over the coming weeks.  Feel free to upload your pictures at any time. Thanks to all those groups for sharing their images so far. http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/photo-galleries


Don't forget the forum
The 100HA forums are your chance to discuss a range of topics  relating to 100 Hours and astronomy in general, so we hope you will take advantage of this great resource."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. 



100 Hours of Astronomy: Around the World in 80 Telescopes

11 March 2009

We would like to call your special attention to the fact that the IYA2009 Cornerstone project "100 Hours of Astronomy" is only 20 days way! This is the single largest event taking place during IYA2009, a worldwide celebration composed of a broad range of activities aimed at involving the public. The event will take place over four days and nights, from 2-5 April 2009.

We know that you are very busy organising activities and events, especially sidewalk events and observation nights. However we would like to call your attention to one of the highest profile activities during the "100 Hours of Astronomy" : "Around the world in 80 telescopes", a live 24-hour broadcast from the largest and most advanced telescopes in the world taking place from 3 April 09:00 UT to 4 April 09:00 UT.

Organised by ESO, the European Southern Observatory, from its headquarters in Garching, Germany, this event will follow night and day around the globe beginning with the telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, before moving westwards around the planet. Viewers can find out what is happening at a research observatory in their country, or on the other side of the planet, and discover what astronomers are doing right now! Who is observing? What are they researching? What do they hope to discover?

In this snapshot of life at many different observatories, astronomers will present exclusive images and talk about their work. Some will be observing distant galaxies, searching for extrasolar planets around other stars or studying our own Solar System. Some may be working at solar observatories or with telescopes out in space. All of them will have a different story to tell.

This will be the first time in history that most major research facilities in astronomy will be linked together.

This is also a great opportunity to enhance the visibility of IYA2009 in your country. We strongly encourage you to contact your partners, science centres, planetaria, bloggers, web media, broadcasters and press to let them know about this event and motivate them to show this programme to as many people as possible.

We can offer free non-exclusive broadcasting rights for parts of the programme or the full 24 hours. You may also embed the "Around the world in 80 telescopes" video stream on a website or take this opportunity to interview the scientists from the observatories. This may be of particular interest to the countries where the featured observatories that are located. Please see the list here: http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/program/75-live-24-hour-research-observatory-webcast.

More information can be found on the 100 Hours of Astronomy official website: www.100hoursofastronomy.org

If you need any assistance, remember that the Secretariat and the 100 Hours of Astronomy team are always available for you.


Women in the Stars

11 March 2009

Professional and amateur astronomers have been fascinated by the mysteries hidden in the sky for years. In 2009, the International Year of Astronomy, the role of women in astronomy, past and present, is celebrated in the attempt to encourage females to enrol in science careers and promote gender equality. " Mujeres en las estrellas " or Women in the Stars, is a Spanish series that will outline the trajectory of female Spanish astronomers and their contributions to astronomy. It will emphasize the role of women, neglected throughout history, in the development of this fascinating science.

More information: http://www.uned.es/bici/Curso2008-2009/090302/tvbici19.pdf (in Spanish)

2nd second Astronomy & Astrophysics School "Scientific Writing for Young Astronomers"

10 March 2009

The direct purpose of organising an "Astronomy and Astrophysics School" is to teach beginning PhD Students how to express their scientific results through adequate and efficient science writing. In other words: how to write scientific papers for different forums (journals, proceedings, thesis manuscripts, etc.). To this end, a three-day training course is organised.

All lecturers have long professional experience in publishing, editorial matters, scientific writing and library and database management.

More information: http://www.swya.org/

Planetarium shows ready to celebrate IYA2009

9 March 2009

Three new planetarium shows are ready to entertain and educate the public! Specially produced for the International Year of Astronomy 2009, the shows are sure to delight their audiences.

In Search of our Cosmic Origins introduces the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, the largest astronomical project in existence. Co-produced by ESO and the Association of French Language Planetariums, the show features two interwoven journeys, through the Chilean Andes and through the Universe. Its running time is 30 minutes and it will be available in multiple languages. It premiered in February 2009 and will be presented in many planetaria in Europe and throughout the world, with accompanying education material.

Touching the Edge of the Universe is one of the most exciting and imaginative celebrations of science and discovery during IYA2009. Co-produced by leading European planetaria and the European Space Agency (ESA), it was shot on location at ESA's Main Control Room in Darmstadt, Germany, and the Satellite Test Centre in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. It boasts highly sophisticated 4K animated graphics, the latest astronomical images, and detailed scenes never before seen on a planetarium dome. The show will premiere in Berlin, Vienna and Lucern on 7 May 2009.

The planetarium show Two Pieces of Glass was produced by Interstellar Studios and it complements the motion picture documentary, 400 Years of the Telescope. While attending a local star party, two students learn how the telescope has helped us understand our place in space and expands our understanding of the Universe.

To learn more about these planetarium shows, click on the following links:




IYA2009 Update

6 March 2009

Here are some IYA2009 updates from the last week.

Galileoscopes now available
The Galileoscope - a high quality, easy-to-assemble and easy-to-use telescope at an unprecedentedly low price - is now available to order.

Mark your calendar to take part in the 2009 GLOBE at Night campaign set for March 16 - 28, 2009
Here is an opportunity for students, youths, and families to take part in a two week worldwide citizen science project to record night time light pollution across the world. One needs to merely go outside, look up, observe the stars from your location, and record your star observations.

News round-up, 6 March 2009
See what news sites and blogs have been saying about IYA2009.

IYA2009-themed Physics World available for free
The special March issue of Physics World can be downloaded for a short amount of time. It includes features on giant telescopes, Earth-like planets, and interviews with leading astronomers.

New The World at Night newsletter
Keep up-to-date with this project.

The World at Night on MSNBC.com
Beautiful images from the IYA2009 project have been featured on MSNBC.com.

What do children think of the Universe?
The Universe Awareness project wishes to make this an opportunity to share children's perceptions of the sky. Your help is needed to interview children aged between 4 and 10.

100HA: Hubble has a winner!
The public has voted on where they want to aim their favourite space observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope. And the winner is -- drum roll, please -- a pair of close-knit galaxies that look like they are shaking hands -- or rather spiral arms.

If you need any assistance, remember that the Secretariat is always available for you.

Pedro, Mariana and Lee
IYA2009 Secretariat  


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Organisational Associates:

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