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Thursday, January 1, 2009

International Year of Astronomy Begins!


Happy new year! Today also marks the beginning of the International Year of Astronomy! Now commonly called IYA2009, this celebration of astronomy is a year long campaign to bring the night sky to everyone! The celebration will look both to the past and into the future of astronomy.

According to the IYA2009 website,

"The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) will be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, highlighted by the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei. The aim of the Year is to stimulate worldwide interest, especially among young people, in astronomy and science..."

The IYA2009 will be a great opportunity to bring astronomy and science into schools and communities in a practical way that can get noticed. Each nation has its own national node, which coordinates efforts between professional and amateur astronomers. The goals of IYA2009 are as follows:

  • 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.


These goals, however, depend on your help! Get out into your communities and promote the IYA 2009! Also, you can help the IYA2009 in their cause by donating! For more information on donating and helping with the IYA2009, visit their Make It Happen page!

Clear skies!

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