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Introducing International Year of Astronomy

Written by Peter Jedicke, London on
Post Date: 
Mon, 2007/03/26

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) will 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. IYA2009 will mark Galileo Galilei’s first use of the telescope for astronomical observations, and will portray astronomy as a peaceful global scientific endeavour that unites astronomers in an international, multicultural family of scientists working together to find answers to some of the most fundamental questions that humanity has ever asked.

IYA2009 is an activity for the citizens of Planet Earth. It aims to convey the excitement of personal discovery, the pleasure of sharing fundamental knowledge about the Universe and our place in it and the value of the scientific culture. While the focus is on 2009, activities whose impact extends beyond 2009 are being planned. See www.astronomy2009.org for more information.

IYA2009 activities will take place on several levels: locally, regionally and nationally. Several countries have already formed National Nodes to prepare activities for 2009. These Nodes are collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers, science centres and science communicators.

In Canada, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA), and the Fédération des Astronomes Amateur de Québec (FAAQ) are working together to develop the Canadian activities. The National Research Council and the Canadian Space Agency will also participate. A small steering committee has participated in international coordination meetings and we have applied to Canada Post for a series of commemorative stamps. But we would like more persons to work with us to organize the programs in Canada; to publicize our efforts, particularly through a really attractive web site; to raise funds to support our activities, and so on. It’s going to be an exciting time as we ramp up to 2009! If you are interested in being part of IYA2009 planning, please contact one of the following to indicate in which of the foregoing areas you’d like to help:

Peter Jedicke, PJedicke at fanshawec.ca

Jim Hesser, jim.hesser at nrc.ca

Rémi Lacasse, remi at astromirabilis.com