Archive for February, 2010

How do you top IYA2009?

Posted in News & Events with tags , , , , , , , on February 1, 2010 by astronomymike

By all accounts, the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) was an outstanding worldwide success, with many hundreds of thousands of people looking through telescopes and being introduced to astronomy than ever before. In particular, the IYA2009 cornerstone project “100 Hours of Astronomy” (100HA) was the biggest global astronomy outreach event ever held.

I was one of those who truly took an interest in the subject early in 2009 and fell in love with the sky through being involved in the IYA2009 activities. In fact, the Levin Stargazers astronomy club that I joined hosted a hugely successful public star party as part of the 100HA events in April 2009, which led to us more than doubling our membership overnight and receiving an award from the IYA2009 organisers plus a SkyScout from one of the major sponsors, Celestron! It was incredibly rewarding to be involved in and to see the wonder and excitement (especially the kids) when people got to see the skies through our telescopes.

So now that 2009 is over, how do we keep that enthusiasm and public interest going? How can we possibly top that? Well, the Astronomers Without Borders group (who co-organized the 100HA events) may well have the answer – Global Astronomy Month (GAM)!

Global Astronomy Month logo
(Pictured above is the new Global Astronomy Month (GAM) logo based on an original concept by Azhy Hasan (Iraq) and was created by Jessi Kingan (USA/Thailand) with significant input from many AWB leaders from around the world.)

GAM aims to once again bring together amateur and professional astronomers from all over the globe to share the wonders of our sky in our communities, reinforcing the AWB motto “One People, One Sky”. But this is not just going to be a repeat of the 100HA project, oh no…this event (or series of events actually) will run for the entire month of April 2010, not just 100 hours! That is a HUGE challenge, and they will need everyone’s commitment to make it succeed. They are putting together a list of “Project Ideas” to be posted on the GAM website to give other individuals/groups some inspiration for what they can do in their own communities. If you are on Facebook, you can contribute your ideas on the Global Astronomy Month 2010 page, or for large projects email directly to “info at gam-awb dot org”. Put your thinking caps on people!

Clear skies!
– Mike