International Year of Astronomy

International Year of Astronomy

The International Year of Astronomy is a year-long celebration of astronomy, taking place in 2009 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope by Galileo Galilei and the publication of Johannes Kepler's "Astronomia nova" in the 17th Century. The Year was declared by the 62nd General Assembly of the UN. A global scheme, laid out by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), has also been endorsed by UNESCO - the UN body responsible for Educational, Scientific and Cultural matters.

The International Astronomical Union will be coordinating the International Year of Astronomy in 2009. This initiative is an opportunity for the citizens of Earth to gain a deeper insight into astronomy’s role in enriching all human cultures. Moreover, it will serve as a platform for informing the public about the latest astronomical discoveries while emphasizing the essential role of astronomy in science education.

ignificance of 1609

In 1609, Galileo Galilei first turned one of his telescopes to the night sky and made astounding discoveries that changed mankind’s conception of the world forever: mountains and craters on the Moon, a plethora of stars invisible to the naked eye and moons around Jupiter. Astronomical observatories around the world promise to reveal how planets and stars are formed, how galaxies assemble and evolve, and what the structure and shape of our Universe actually are. In the same year, Johannes Kepler published his work "Astronomia nova" in which he described the fundamental laws of planetary motions.

On 25th September 1608, Hans Lippershey, a young man from Middleburg, travelled to the Hague, the then capital of the Netherlands, to demonstrate one of his inventions to the Dutch government - the telescope. Although Hans was not awarded the patent, Galileo heard of this story and decided to use the "Dutch perspective glass" and point it towards the heavens.

Aims of IYA

Astronomy, the oldest science in history, has played an important role in most, if not all, cultures over the ages. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) is intended to be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, stimulating worldwide interest not only in astronomy, but in science in general, with a particular slant towards young people.

The IYA2009 is intended to mark the monumental leap forward that followed Galileo’s first use of the telescope for astronomical observations, and portray astronomy as a peaceful global scientific endeavour that unites amateur and professional astronomers in an international and multicultural family that works together to find answers to some of the most fundamental questions that humankind has ever asked. The aim of the Year is to stimulate worldwide interest, especially among young people, in astronomy and science under the central theme “The Universe, Yours to Discover”.

Several committees have been formed to oversee the vast majority of IYA2009 activities (“sidewalk astronomy” events in planetariums and public observatories), which will span local, regional and national levels. These committees are collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers, science centres and science communicators. Individual countries will be undertaking their own initiatives as well as assessing their own national needs, while the IAU will be acting as the event’s coordinator and catalyst on a global scale. The IAU plans to liaise with, and involve, as many as possible of the ongoing outreach and education efforts throughout the world, including those organized by amateur astronomers.

Goals of IYA

As per the IYA2009 website the major goals of IYA 2009 are to:

# Increase scientific awareness
# Promote widespread access to new knowledge and observing experiences
# Empower astronomical communities in developing countries
# Support and improve formal and informal science education
# Provide a modern image of science and scientists
# Facilitate new networks and strengthen existing ones
# Improve the gender-balanced representation of scientists at all levels and promote greater involvement by underrepresented minorities in scientific and engineering careers
# Facilitate the preservation and protection of the world's cultural and natural heritage of dark skies in places such as urban oases, national parks and astronomical sites

As part of the scheme, the IYA2009 will also help less well-established organizations from the developing world to become involved with larger organizations and deliver their contributions, linked via a huge global network. This initiative also aims at reaching economically disadvantaged young children across the globe and enhance their understanding of the world.

100 Hours of Astronomy

100 Hours of Astronomy (100HA) is a worldwide astronomy event scheduled for April 2-5, 2009 and is part of the scheduled global activities of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. The main goals of 100HA is to have as many people throughout the world look through a telescope just as Galileo did for the first time 400 years ago. Plans include special webcasts, students and teachers activities, a schedule of events at science centers, planetariums and science museums as well as 24 hours of sidewalk astronomy, which will allow the opportunity for public observing sessions to as many people as possible. [ [ "Global Cornerstone Projects - 100 Hours of Astronomy"] ]


ee also

* World Year of Physics 2005
* Galileo
* Telescope
* Astronomy

External links

* [ International Year of Astronomy 2009 main web site]
* [ International Astronomical Union]
* [ IYA2009 Resources]
* [ Proclamation of 2009 as International Year of Astronomy (UNESCO Executive Board)]
* [ Global Cornerstone Projects]
* [ The Galileoscope: millions looking at the sky]
* [ You are Galileo!] Low price 10 Dollar Galileoscope for children; National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

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