The UN declares 2009 the International Year of Astronomy

Dec 20, 2007
IYA2009 Logo
This is the official logo for the International Year of Astronomy. Credit: IAU

Early this morning, the United Nations 62nd General Assembly proclaimed 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. The Resolution was submitted by Italy, Galileo Galilei's home country. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is an initiative of the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO.

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) celebrates the first astronomical use of the telescope by Galileo — a momentous event that initiated 400 years of astronomical discoveries and triggered a scientific revolution which profoundly affected our worldview.

Now telescopes on the ground and in space explore the Universe, 24 hours a day, across all wavelengths of light. The President of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Catherine Cesarsky says: “The International Year of Astronomy 2009 gives all nations a chance to participate in this ongoing exciting scientific and technological revolution.”

The IYA2009 will highlight global cooperation for peaceful purposes – the search for our cosmic origin and our common heritage which connect all citizens of planet Earth. For several millennia, astronomers have worked together across all boundaries including geographic, gender, age, culture and race, in line with the principles of the UN Charter. In that sense, astronomy is a classic example of how science can contribute towards furthering international cooperation.

At the IAU General Assembly on 23 July 2003 in Sydney (Australia), the IAU unanimously approved a resolution in favour of the proclamation of 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. Based on Italy’s initiative, UNESCO’s General Conference at its 33rd session recommended that the UN General Assembly adopt a resolution to declare 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. On 20 December 2007 the International Year of Astronomy 2009 was proclaimed by the United Nations 62nd General Assembly. The UN has designated the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the lead agency for the IYA2009. The IAU will function as the facilitating body for IYA2009.

The IYA2009 is, first and foremost, 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 merits of the scientific method. Astronomy is an invaluable source of inspiration for humankind throughout all nations. So far 99 nations and 14 organisations have signed up to participate in the IYA2009 – an unprecedented network of committed communicators and educators in astronomy.

Source: International Astronomical Union

Explore further: Can astronomy explain the biblical Star of Bethlehem?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New revelations on dark matter and relic neutrinos

Dec 05, 2014

The Planck collaboration, which notably includes the CNRS, CEA, CNES and several French universities, has disclosed, at a conference in Ferrara, Italy, the results of four years of observations from the ESA's ...

The economic impact of a Very Large Telescope

Jul 02, 2014

The European Southern Observatory's VLT, Very Large Telescope, is a group of four 8.2-metre diameter optical telescopes located in northern Chile. It also has four movable 1.8-metre diameter auxiliary telescopes and they ...

Quantum criticality observed in new class of materials

Jun 04, 2014

(Phys.org) —Quantum criticality, the strange electronic state that may be intimately related to high-temperature superconductivity, is notoriously difficult to study. But a new discovery of "quantum critical ...

Recommended for you

Can astronomy explain the biblical Star of Bethlehem?

17 hours ago

Bright stars top Christmas trees in Christian homes around much of the world. The faithful sing about the Star of Wonder that guided the wise men to a manger in the little town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was ...

Hubbles spies the beautiful galaxy IC 335

18 hours ago

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the galaxy IC 335 in front of a backdrop of distant galaxies. IC 335 is part of a galaxy group containing three other galaxies, and located in the Fornax ...

Image: Multicoloured view of supernova remnant

Dec 22, 2014

Most celestial events unfold over thousands of years or more, making it impossible to follow their evolution on human timescales. Supernovas are notable exceptions, the powerful stellar explosions that make ...

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources in starburst galaxies

Dec 22, 2014

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) are point sources in the sky that are so bright in X-rays that each emits more radiation than a million suns emit at all wavelengths. ULXs are rare. Most galaxies (including ...

When a bright light fades

Dec 22, 2014

Astronomer Charles Telesco is primarily interested in the creation of planets and stars. So, when the University of Florida's giant telescope was pointed at a star undergoing a magnificent and explosive death, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.