Activities of Greece's Hellenic Amateur Astronomy Association for IYA2009

23 February 2010

During 2009 the Hellenic Amateur Astronomy Association (HAAA) organised a series of events dedicated to the International Year of Astronomy 2009. The main goal was to the spread to the public of Greece the meaning of observational amateur astronomy and the methods used, according to the constitution of the HAAA. The following were some of the most important events:

1. Chios Island - “Star Celebration”
The Prefecture of Chios island organised a celebration addressed mostly to the students of elementary school named “Star Celebration”. The event was scheduled for the 23rd of December 2008 at 20:00 local time and the HAAA was responsible to present a talk and provide telescopes for observation. Despite the bad weather the experience excited our young friends as it was their first contact with astronomy.

2. Haidari city of Attiki - “100 Hours of Astronomy”
In collaboration with the Cultural Center or Municipality of Haidari city of Attiki the HAAA organised a four-day educational event called “100 Hours of Astronomy”, from Thursday the 2nd of April until Sunday the 5th. The event was part of the international call for organising such events around the globe in order to give a chance to the public to experience contact with the Universe.

3. Piraeus City - “A Travel through the Universe”
A major event, open to the public, was held at the “Apollon” Building of Municipality of Piraeus city on the 9th of May 2009. That was a collaboration of the HAAA and the Trekking Club of Piraeus (Odoiporikos Syllogos Peiraia) who celebrated 80 years of activities.

4. Gymno village of Argolida - “Young Astronomers”
That event was successfully realised on Thursday the 28th of May 2009, in the yard of the village's elementary school, along with a talk and observation of the sky through telescopes.

5. Paros island - “A Travel through the Universe”
HAAA in collaboration with the Public Library of Paros Island organised an event on the 30th of May 2009. The event took place in the Library's yard and included a conversation about astronomy, an exhibition of astronomical images, astronomical content video-projections and a public observation of the sky through HAAA's telescopes.

6. Keratea city of Attiki - “Introduction to Observational Astronomy”
After an invitation from the Cultural Association of Keratea City “Hrisi Tomi”, along with the support of the Municipality of Keratea city of Attiki, HAAA organised an event at Ovriokastro village on Saturday the 13th of June. The event included a talk, a practical lesson on uranography (or celestial cartography, and observation of the sky.

7. Melissia city of Attiki - “3rd Youth Festival of Melissia City”

The local office of UNESCO invited us to participate in the 3rd Youth Festival of Melissia City which was held the weekend 19-20 of June, 2009. HAAA organised a stand with astrophotography exhibition, magazines and HAAA's telescopes.

8. Anavra village of Fthiotida - “3rd Panhellenic Meeting of Amateur Astronomers”
According to the decision of the Panhellenic Convention of the Boards of all the Associations in Alexandroupolis City in 2008, HAAA took over the organisation of the 3rd Panhellenic Meeting of Amateur Astronomers (PMAA) for the year 2009. The meeting was successfully realised on the 26th, 27th and 28th of June 2009 at the Mountain Retreat of Trekking Club of Piraeus at the Anavra village of Fthiotida, including talks, workshops, conversations and observations. It is also important to note the presence of professional astronomers at the meeting.

9. Voula city of Attiki - “Introduction to Astronomy & Astrophotography”
The photography department of Municipality of Voula city and HAAA organised
talks to amateur photographers of Municipalities of Voula and Glyfada cities, on Wednesday the 16th of December 2009. These activities aimed to introduce the participants in astronomy and the night sky, along with the explanation of the methods used in the photography of celestial bodies and astronomical events. There will, also, be a practical of activities for hands-on experience in astrophotography realised during 2010.

Further activities:
The events that are presented above concern only the HAAA's contribution to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Moreover, HAAA's activities are not limited in 2009 only, but there are constantly held since the establishment of the association in 2003 and will continue, of course, in the future. In addition to these kind of activities, the members of the association contact every day through internet or/and by phone, along with regular meetings that are held inside the cities and outside for observations. One of the main targets of HAAA is to spread to the Greek public the mentality and the methods of observational amateur astronomy, according to the standards of similar associations outside Greece, in order to produce finally scientifically useful results for astronomy. More on these can be found in HAAA's site at (mostly in Greek).

An important contributor and supporter to HAAA's activities is the Trekking Club of Piraeus (Odoiporikos Syllogos Peiraia), who offer their offices and their mountain retreat at the mount Kallidromo (Anavra village of Fthiotida) for meetings and observations.

Last but not least, all our actions are performed in such a way to fulfil our dream that every Greek citizen will notice how astronomy affects his/her everyday life and will understand how the scientific knowledge can contribute to a balanced and peaceful society.

Organisational Associates:

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