2009: The International Year Of Astronomy


Four centuries after Galileo Galilei first pointed his telescope at the night sky, the international community will not only be commemorate Galileo’s momentous discoveries, we will celebrate mankind’s continuing scientific endeavours in space. Back in 2007, the United Nations decided 2009 should be dedicated to astronomy and named it the “International Year of Astronomy”. It is going to be a huge year for all astronomical disciplines, intended to educate, celebrate and enjoy the wonders of the cosmos. Many events are planned throughout the coming twelve months, in the 135 nations participating. You won’t be far away from an IYA2009 participating group or organization, so be sure to embrace this landmark year, it could change the way you view the Universe forever…

The Universe, yours to discover.

The International Year of Astronomy

I am currently writing a huge article for the Universe Today, due to be posted tomorrow. It is the run-down of the Universe Today’s Top 10 Space Science Endeavours, and it’s proving to be a highly motivating task. It is hard to believe I’ve been writing for the website for over a year and I’ve seen some of the most ground-breaking advances in space science and exploration. From SpaceX’s first commercial launch to the direct observation of extrasolar planets, from the Phoenix Mars Lander to the New Horizons mission… to be honest, if I were to list all of the incredible achievements in space, it would take me until 2010 to compile them all!

So, I’ll hand that task over to the peeps at the International Year of Astronomy organizing key events throughout 2009. If 2008 is anything to go by, 2009 will be even bigger. Although the next year will be a fantastic celebration, it will also act as a critical tool to educate people about the importance of astronomy and space exploration. What with the hysteria-seeding pseudo-science behind 2012 doomsday prophecies and the nonchalant attitude of “space exploration is a waste of money, it doesn’t affect me” amongst the general public, 2009 will be key to the communication of science (and critical, logical thinking!) around the world.

One event I will be directly participating in is the “365 Days of Astronomy” put together by highly organized and devoted science professionals, amateur astronomers, bloggers (a.k.a. New Media), enthusiasts and hobbyists. I, being the organized individual that I am, ran hopelessly late in submitting my podcast to be broadcast on January 9th (getting it in on Sunday, just in time!). Every single day, for the whole year, there will be a different podcast (of under 10 minutes) available on the 365 Days of Astronomy website. There’s going to be a whole host of topics, but I chose to combine two of my favourite things: Beer and space colonization. Be sure to tune in on Jan 9th for an explanation…

It all kicks off on January 1st 2009! Be sure to tune in

And just in case you didn’t get the message, here’s a cheesy video for you to watch:

For more information on the IYA2009, check out Nancy’s article on the Universe Today

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