International Year of Astronomy 2009
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) was a global celebration of astronomy and its contribution to society and culture marked the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei. The aim of the Year was to stimulate worldwide interest, especially among young people, in astronomy and science under the central theme "The Universe, Yours to Discover". IYA2009 events and activities promoted a greater appreciation of the inspirational aspects of astronomy that embody an invaluable shared resource for all nations.
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 was launched by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under the theme, "The Universe, yours to discover."
The official IYA2009 opening ceremony took place in Paris on January 15-16, 2009. Many other nations held their own opening ceremonies in January and February. The year long celebration featured a grand worldwide campaign with over 30 countries involved in more than 150 venues.
Astronomy events of IYA2009
The Cosmic Diary
The project concerns the daily lives of full-time astronomers. More than 50 bloggers, professionals from over 35 countries and employed by organizations such as ESO, NASA, ESA, and JAXA have already begun producing content, writing about their lives, the work they conduct, and the challenges they face. The public can see what being an astronomer is really like and how groundbreaking research is conducted.
365 Days of Astronomy
Groups from around the world published one podcast per day over the entire year. The episodes can be heard at www.365daysofastronomy.org, free of charge.
100 Hours of Astronomy
This IYA2009 cornerstone project was a worldwide event that took place from April 2-5, 2009, with a wide range of public outreach activities including live webcasts, observing events, and more. One of the key goals of "100 Hours of Astronomy" was to have as many people as possible look through a telescope, just as Galileo did for the first time 400 years ago.
From Earth to the Universe (FETTU)
An exhibition that brought large-scale astronomical images to a wide public audience in non-traditional venues such as public parks and gardens, art museums, shopping malls, and metro stations. Over 30 countries around the world participated in FETTU projects, many with multiple locations. Some 15 countries scheduled FETTU exhibitions within the first month of 2009, ranging in size from 25 to over 100 images on display. FETTU was introduced to the global community at the opening ceremony at UNESCO headquarters in January 2009.
The World at Night
Public display of a collection of stunning photographs and time-lapse videos of the world's landmarks with the sky in the background. "The World at Night" prepared more than 30 exhibitions and educational events around the world.
Dark Skies Awareness
One of IYA2009's aims was to raise awareness of light pollution and how the beauty of the night sky is progressively being drowned out, particularly over urban areas. The project "Dark Skies Awareness" is tackling these issues head-on in a practical, inclusive manner. One way in which it is doing this is by holding star-counting events where the public is encouraged to see how many stars in a particular area of the sky are actually visible from their location. When compared with data from truly dark sites, the results are often very surprising! The "How Many Stars" event ran from January 2009.
2009 was also the anniversary of many other historic events in science, including Huygens 1659 publication of Systema Saturnium.This was modern astronomys quadricentennial, and the 2009 Year of Astronomy was an international celebration of numerous astronomical and scientific milestones.
Learn about the International Dark-Sky Association.