International Year of Astronomy to Kick Off in Paris
Marking the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first astronomical observation through a telescope in 1609, the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) has been launched by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) under the theme “The Universe, Yours to Discover.” A global celebration of astronomy and its contribution to society and culture, IYA2009 will place strong emphasis on education, public participation and the involvement of young people. Events are planned at national, regional, and global levels.
Many thousands of individuals in over 130 countries around the world are participating, forming the world’s largest-ever astronomy network. National Nodes have been formed in each country. These nodes will establish collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers, science centers and science communicators. More than 130 countries are involved to date, and over 140 are ultimately expected to participate.
IYA2009 will portray astronomy as a peaceful global scientific endeavor that unites astronomers in an international, multicultural family of scientists, working together to find answers to some of the most fundamental questions humankind has ever asked. Its mission is to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery.
With just weeks to go, the IYA project is preparing for a grand opening ceremony to be held at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Headquarters in Paris, January 15 to 16, 2009. Hundreds of attendees are anticipated, including members of royal families, government ministers, Nobel Prize winners and other eminent scientists. In addition, there will be exhibits by well-known science institutions who support IYA2009.
For more information, visit: www.astronomy2009.org