Astronomers Without Borders Newsletter

11 August 2010

International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) 

SEEING THE MOON... in a whole new light!

2009 was a very big year for lunar exploration. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) began orbiting the Moon, returning more amazing images and more digital data in its first year than any other planetary mission in history. Meanwhile, Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) crashed into the Moon's south polar region in an unprecedented search for water below the Moon's surface.
International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) follows NASA's first celebration of these historic missions as part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 in public events called "We're at the Moon!" (for LRO) and "National Observe the Moon Night" in the USA (for LCROSS). Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) is partnering with NASA missions and centers and others to bring the excitement of observing and learning about Earth's closest neighbor in space to the public -- putting the "International" into InOMN.

Get out and get others looking up and seeing the a whole new light!

See the InOMN web site for all details.

April Was GAM-Packed

As they say, there is a first time for everything, and GAM 2010 was a history-making event in the amount of excitement and networking it sparked among amateur astronomers worldwide.

Global Astronomy Month was a month of firsts. The first month-long outreach venture; a first Global Star Party; a first 30 Days of StarPeace; a first astro-blogging outbreak; a first Virtual Telescope webcast; a first Cosmic Concert; a first week-long Lunar Focus; a first Saturn Watch; and a first One Star at a Time dark-sky awareness campaign.

The GAM featured projects attracted many enthusiasts and satisfied a variety of astronomical appetites. This month-long endeavor allowed for any needed rescheduling due to weather, and also provided time to build momentum toward the final Global Star Party festivities April 24. The 30 Days of StarPeace month-long project focused on one segment of Earth’s longitude at a time, encouraging groups and clubs to get to know their neighbors in other countries above and below the equator in the same time zone. This opened the door for new friendships to form.

Blogging was spearheaded with a new Astropoetry Blog edited by Bob Eklund, featuring astropoetry, essays, and astronomy-related experiences and book reviews, all in a blog format. A brilliant astropoetry collection from Andrei Dorian and his cosmopoet friends in Romania was a special highlight.

Dr. Gianluca Masi hosted a Virtual Telescope tour from the Bellatrix Observatory in Italy, with several live sessions. The “On-line Messier Marathon,” “Anybody Out There,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Walking on the Moon,” and “Cosmic Depths” all were GAM projects that brought the world closer together.

One Star at a Time focused on the continuing effects of light pollution and man’s need for a dark sky. Not only did this project raise awareness, it also got astronomers to pledge to make a difference—we became responsible together as the AWB community.
Finally, let’s not forget Giovanni Renzo’s piano music that was inspired from the vibrations of pulsars, the spinning of a black hole, and a star-mapping musical score.

If you missed GAM 2010, don’t worry. April 2011 is only eight months away.

Download your Global Astronomy Month 2010 participation certificate

GAM2010 was a success thanks to you! Individuals and groups who organized events to celebrate GAM2010 can download the appreciation certificate now.

After logging into AWB website, go to the GAM Find Events page where you can use the filter to find the events you have registered. Once you find your event/s click on it and you will see the event details. Go to "Add a report"(appears in Red color) to submit your event report. Once submitted an option to download the certificate will be available.

Did you do a program from GAM2010 and couldn't register it? You can still register your event here and add your event report following above procedure to download the certificate.

AWB Project News:

Astropoetry Blog: send in your contributions!

The Astropoetry blog, launched during GAM, will continue with regular updates under the direction of author, astropoet and AWB Astropoetry Blog Editor, Bob Eklund. Our intention here is to provide a venue and a forum where the poetry of the night sky can flourish.

We encourage you to contribute poetry of the night sky—new or old astropoems, essays, experiences, book reviews, links to astropoetry resources, and information on astropoetry events. Links to online collections and other resources-including notes on a few astropoetry-related books-will also be provided, plus a few examples of outstanding astropoems from major poets of the past.

Whether or not you've ever written a poem before, take a look at some of the examples archived at the Astropoetry Blog, then think of some unique sight or feeling you've had in your acquaintance with the night sky-and put that feeling or insight into words.

3rd Seasons without Borders concluded successfully

The 3rd "Seasons without Borders" (SwB) concluded successfully last June 2010 celebrating the beginning of winter/summer seasons in the southern and northern hemispheres.

In typical AWB tradition, groups from Brazil, Canada, Iraq, Iran, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Uruguay and USA gathered and celebrated the solstice under the theme "Two seasons, One earth, One people".

Read the full report here.

Affiliate News:

Wish John Dobson happy 95

John Dobson is arguably one the most influential personalities in amateur astronomy in the last last couple of decades. He is most notable for being the promoter of a design for large, portable, low-cost Newtonian reflecting telescopes that bears his name, the Dobsonian telescope - a telescope that brought amateur astronomy to a whole new level. He has almost single-handedly revolutionized backyard astronomy by bringing it out to the street, making it possible for everyone to enjoy the beauty of the Universe!

On September 14 2010, John is turning 95 and here's your chance to send birthday wishes to him! Thilina Heenatigala (Astronomers Without Borders) is collecting the messages and these will be presented to John Dobson by Donna Smith (Sidewalk Astronomers).

Let's get together and wish John Dobson many more healthy orbits around the Sun!

A Match Under Starlight

Beginning of July 2010 concluded one of the most exciting sporting event - FIFA2010. While many football fans around the world celebrated the victories and the losing, President of Amateur Astronomers Association of Kurdistan - Azhy Hasan came up with the idea to celebrate the World Cup with a touch of astronomy and peace - "A Match Under Starlight".

Few groups around the world joined the excitement as well. Enjoy the reports from each event here.

AWB Board of Trustees welcomes three new members

Anousheh Ansari has been on the Board of Advisors since AWB was founded.  Her dedication to the promotion of space science and astronomy is widely known and includes co-sponsorship of the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.  In 2006 Anousheh became the first female private space explorer.  Anousheh is co-founder and chairman of Prodea Systems.  Previously, she was co-founder, CEO and chairman of Telecom Technologies, Inc.  Anousheh is a member of the X Prize Foundation’s Vision Circle, as well as its Board of Trustees. She is a life member in the Association of Space Explorers and on the advisory board of the Teacher’s in Space project.  Anousheh is currently working toward a master’s degree in astronomy from Swinburne University.

Stanley Weinstein is President of Stanley Weinstein & Co., specializing in the fundraising, management, and marketing needs of philanthropic organizations in the US. With more than forty-two years of experience in the nonprofit world, he has distinguished himself as a consultant, teacher, and author. As a consultant specializing in organizational development, strategic planning, fundraising, annual, endowment, and capital campaigns, he has had the opportunity to work closely with board and staff leaders from more than 300 nonprofit organizations nationwide. In 2006, he was named "Outstanding Fundraising Professional."

Farah Payan has owned Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes since 1987.  Initially selling only cameras, Farah has expanded the store's business to become one of the largest retailers of telescopes in the US.  Woodland Hills has also become one of the largest Internet retailers, shipping astronomy equipment to most of the world.  Woodland Hills is also a supporter of outreach programs and clubs at local colleges.  Farah has been a supporter of AWB since its founding and was AWB's first commercial sponsor.

We are very fortunate that these talented and accomplished people have made a commitment to Astronomers Without Borders.

AWB's Newest Resource

Peggy Walker is a natural organizer, and although she had only three years experience in astronomy she was still tapped to organize events and activities for several local astronomy clubs near her home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, USA, during the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Her enthusiasm and skills quickly led to her being appointed as AWB's National Coordinator for the United States in 2010.

It isn't just enthusiasm that Peggy brings to these tasks, however. Her valuable experience as an executive secretary is now being brought to the global AWB effort. At the latest meeting of the AWB Board of Trustees, Peggy was elected to the office of AWB Secretary. Peggy has wasted no time getting started, and she is already working to organize and document AWB's efforts. We are very fortunate to have someone with Peggy's skills and drive. She'll certainly prove to be one of AWB's most important assets.

We'd like to thank Peggy's predecessor, Laura Hiller, who held the office of Secretary for AWB's first two years. It was a difficult job at the beginning as AWB grew meteorically, and we are grateful for her invaluable assistance in AWB's formative years.

So Easy a Caveman Can Do It

AWB has listened to your comments about the website and its “ease of use” (or lack thereof) and has, hopefully, addressed your concerns. A top priority of the organization is to foster the social networking of its members, visitors, and affiliates, and navigating the site seemed to be a challenge for some. Not everyone has the computer savvy to navigate easily on a website—and we hope that now even cave men and women will find the new site much easier than the old.

As you look at the site, at the top you will see a new banner, depicting people with a distance between them still focusing on the same thing—the “One People, One Sky” ideal. As you scroll down or across you will find the type large enough to see where you need to go. This version is, hopefully, not intimidating, but if anyone finds it hard to get to where they want to be, the Help Desk is always at your disposal.

The website’s new format is designed to encourage you to post on your own wall, have galleries for your photos, blog to your heart’s content, and facebook your friends—all from one easy location.

Send us your feedback to

Astronomers Without Borders Now On Twitter

You can follow AWB on Twitter @awb_org and use the #AWB hash tag to Tweet.

Buy Astronomers Without Borders Merchandise

Astronomers Without Borders now has its own merchandise available! Shirts, buttons, mugs and many other types are now available at the AWB CafePress Store. Show that you belong to the global astronomy effort these AWB products at your events.

Organisational Associates:

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