The web page for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) http://www.astronomy2009.org/
has just gone public. The page is the main starting point for the global and local IYA2009 events and everyone interested in IYA2009 can use this page to get in contact with their local IYA2009 National Node. The Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2007 Conference (CAP2007) held in Athens (October 2007) will have IYA2009 as the main theme.
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) will be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture. It will stimulate worldwide interest not only in astronomy, but in science in general, with a particular appeal for young people. IYA2009 will mark the monumental leap forward that followed Galileo’s first use of the telescope for astronomical observations, and 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 humankind has ever asked.
At the global level the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will play a leading role as a catalyst and coordinator. While the IAU will organise a small number of truly global or international events such as the Opening and Closing Events, the main activities will take place at the national level and will be coordinated by the IYA2009 National Nodes in close contact with the IAU.
The chairs of the National Nodes are also known as IYA2009 Single Point of Contacts, (or SPoCs) have just been appointed and are listed on the web site. They have been recommended to act on a number of points including:
- Setting up a national IYA web page and publish the national strategy and activities
- Setting up a national strategy and as part of that define a national organisational structure, a so-called IYA Node, to plan and implement their IYA activities.
- Doing fund raising at a national level, and recruiting, motivating, and organising teams of active professional and amateur astronomers to work with the whole national community in communicating IYA2009 to as wide an audience as possible.
- Advising, and collaboration with, the local authorities and local organisations: professional, amateur, public outreach etc. Encourage development of their own projects and ideas.
- Advising, and collaborating with, the national media.
- Get support and endorsement for the IYA activities from the highest possible level.
- Editing their own National Node pages on the main IYA 2009 web site with links to the national web page, and to outline the plans and activities in the country.
The SPoCs will meet March 3rd - 4th 2007 at the ESO HQ in Garching, Germany to discuss IYA2009, see: http://www.communicatingastronomy.org/iya_eso/
Nations or large organisations that are not listed on the overview of National Node pages and who would like to join the work, should submit a letter of interest to:
The Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2007 Conference (CAP2007) will be held in Athens from October 8th through 11th and the URL is at: http://www.communicatingastronomy.org/cap2007
This meeting will focus specifically on IYA2009 activities, both at a national and global level.
Catherine Cesarsky , IAU President and IAU IYA Working Group Chair says: “There are a lot of enthusiasts just waiting to help with this exciting venture, but the challenge will be in the organisation of the groups, people and events. This will take dedication, preparation, and careful planning. Good luck to all!”
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Notes for editors
The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together almost 10,000 distinguished astronomers from all nations of the world. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and any surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world’s largest professional body for astronomers. The IAU General Assembly is held every three years and is one of the largest and most diverse meetings on the astronomical community’s calendar.
European Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany
Karel A. van der Hucht
IAU General Secretary
SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, the Netherlands
PIO and 2009 International Year of Astronomy contact
Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
ESA/Hubble, Garching, Germany