Monday, February 9, 2009

2009—International Year of Astronomy

As a little girl, I yearned to know what invisible worlds existed beyond what my human eyes could see. Are Martians really green like those on TV or do they look just like me but have super powers? While I've still no answers, telescopes offer the ability to see a bit more than my own limited vision. We have Galileo to thank for this.

This year we celebrate 2009: International Year of Astronomy—a commemoration of Galileo’s use of a telescope to study the skies 400 years ago, the birth of modern astronomy. This is a global endeavor sponsored by The International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Source: IAU

The purpose and vision of the International Year of Astronomy is “to help people rediscover their place in the Universe through the sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery. Everyone should realise the impact of astronomy and other fundamental sciences on our daily lives, and understand how scientific knowledge can contribute to a more equitable and peaceful society" (UNESCO).

If there is an observatory or university near you, there may be programs slated to honor astronomy you could attend. A list of observatories around the world may be found here.

At our house, we have a computerized
Meade telescope that brings the wonders in the sky a bit closer for us to see.

Each month you can download a free map of the evening sky and calendar so you don’t miss any celestial happenings. Visit Skymaps to find the applicable free map for your hemisphere, be it northern or southern.

The International Year of Astronomy’s official slogan is "The Universe, Yours to Discover". And so it is.


Thimbleanna said...

I'd love to have a telescope! And you're so lucky to live in one of the best viewing places in the world -- nice clear skies! It's pretty rare for us to have a clear beautiful night -- if it's not cloudy, we're plagued by light pollution!

Anonymous said...

welcome back to blogosphere June -- glad to see your computer is up and running again.

Hey, we too have a Meade telescope. Truth be known, we have two -- identical. We won one as a consolation prize for a hospital fundraiser. The second one is still in the box -- not sure what to do with it.

When we first got our first telescope we used it continually. We even got to see an eclipse one year. I honestly didn't know this year was the Year of Astronomy.

Jane said...

So happy to see you back online! How's the job search going?

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

That is a wonderful telescope!

The desert has such a clear night sky -- I'll never forget all the stars we saw in the sky outside if Tucson, AZ once.

Glad your computer woes are over June!