Sunday, August 9, 2009
The IAU General Assembly and Canadian IYA News
Don’t you wish you were in Rio? I sure do, and not just because of the beaches and carnivals. Rio de Janeiro also happens to be where the largest astronomical meeting in the world is happening. From August 3 to 14, thousands of astronomers are in Rio for the 27th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
There are sessions on pretty much every topic in astronomy, including one on the International Year of Astronomy. According to Mike Simmons, co-chair of 100 Hours of Astronomy, this session was well attended, and everyone is very pleased at how well the IYA is doing. This success is due to the dedication and hard work of thousands of amateur and professional astronomers around the world.
I’m very proud about the great things being done this year in Canada. Over 700,000 Galileo Moments have been registered so far on the Canadian IYA site! We’re well on our way to reaching our goal of one million! Well done to all of you who have participated so far. At the IAU General Assembly website, you can see everything that’s going on. I suggest checking the General Assembly daily newspaper, Estrela D’Alva (“The Morning Star”), which offers many interesting news items (for example, issue #4 has articles on scientific freedom, cosmic catastrophes, geomagnetic storms and the Universe Awareness program).
Now on to some Canadian IYA news.
MyTelescope.com, a Canadian company providing remote observing, is running an IYA-inspired Teaching Prizes Contest. It will award four prizes of 100 hours each for the best hands-on astronomy-teaching proposals. The contest is open to teachers, instructors and astronomers from around the world. Entries must be submitted by October 20, 2009. I congratulate MyTelescope.com, especially founder and CEO Glynn Burke, for this wonderful initiative.
You may remember the Canadian IYA stamps released on April 2. Now there is a Canadian IYA $30 silver coin! It is gorgeous and very astronomical, as you can see here. Toronto artist Colin Mayne designed the coin. Now, at Cdn$90, it is a touch more expensive than a stamp, but it’s a definite collector’s item. Phone now, operators are standing by…
Now for the observers out there: PHEMU09 is a special IYA project dedicated to observing eclipses and occultations among the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn from 2008 to 2010. It’s not too late to join the 2009 campaign, as there are upcoming events in August and September. Check out the webpage for full details..
Finally, the arts roundup. See our solar system “through the eyes of artists” at Experience the Planets. This is very cool and definitely worth a look. The IYA 2009 Planets and Pictures World Tour combines Astronomical Pictures at an Exhibition with Gustav Holst’s “The Planets.” It’s coming to Kingston, Ontario, on September 19 and 20 and to Victoria on November 1 and 2; for pictures of previous performances, see HERE. And, to end, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Debra and Peter Ceravolo’s (from the Ottawa Centre/RASC) YouTube video of their astronomical images with musical accompaniment.
Okay, that’s it for this instalment. We would love to hear about your IYA events. Please send us your reports and pictures. To keep informed about IYA events, go to the Canadian IYA site and the international IYA site. You might also want to check out the SkyNews forum.
All the best,
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