Friday, 13 February 2009

Choose Hubble's next discovery

Taken from the Hubble site:

"Hubble's Next Discovery -- You Decide" is part of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA), the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo's observations.

People around the world can vote to select the next object the Hubble Space Telescope will view. Choose from a list of objects Hubble has never observed before and enter a drawing for one of 100 new Hubble pictures of the winning object.

The winning image will be released between April 2 and 5, during the IYA's 100 Hours of Astronomy, a global astronomy event geared toward encouraging as many people as possible to experience the night sky.

Vote by March 1 to swing Hubble toward your favorite target."

Check it out at:

Monday, 9 February 2009

100 Hours of Astronomy SUN-day

In an initiative promoted by the IYA2009 Solar Physics Task Group (SPG), the last day of the "100 Hours of Astronomy" cornerstone project will be dedicated to the Sun. We will have a SUN-day on a sunday.

Since you all have now a good experience organizing a Sun related event, I invite you all to join the 100 Hours of Astronomy SUN-day.

You can check the details in the SPG webpage at:

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Star Peace project - IYA2009 Special Project

Congratulations to our friends from the Star Peace project (in particular the group in Qeshm Island, in Iran that joined us in "Dawn"), which have been given the status of IYA2009 Special Project.

Just to remind you, from the webpage of the IYA2009:

"The category of IYA2009 Special projects is intended to give large global projects (which satisfy the vision of IYA2009) greater international recognition and an opportunity to link with celebrations worldwide."

Well done, and I hope the project is a success.

Cold "Dawn" in Spain

Jose Cerezuela had little luck watching the Sun as well. Here is his report:

"It was cloudy on the 1st, and we couldn't observe anything.
To the people that passed by, I explained what was the Internaitonal Year of Astronomy, and how they could safely observe the Sun. Even so, I showed them a few posters about the Sun and explained the sunspot phenomenon.
Overall, I had about a dozen people interested, because it was a cold morning, with cloudy weather and a holiday, when people don't get up early and it was very unpleasant outside."

Monday, 26 January 2009

Dawn at the SAAO - South Africa

Due to Eclipse activities, Lolan Naicker, the Coordinator for the Development of Astronomy of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), only now had a little time to talk about his "Dawn" event, which was integrated in the Sutherland Star Party 2008:

"For Dawn of Astronomy 2009 we included a viewing of the first sunrise of 2009 into our Sutherland New Year Starparty program.
Around 30 attendees of the starparty on new years eve braved the cold Sutherland night on the top of the telescope plateau to see the sun rise for the first time over the Karoo Desert on IYA2009. It was a beautiful red orange sunrise - an awe inspiring experience on this very restricted plateau . We followed up the sunrise viewing with an observation at noon 1 January 2009 with the few remaining attendees - seen through a H-alpha filtered coronado PST.

The sunrise viewing pictures are located at"

Here are some photos from the SAAO event:

Canada "Dawn" for one

Kim Hay, from the Solar Section of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO), went on her own to try and find the Sun. She had this to say:

"January 1, 2009
Temperature -9º C
wind sl S/SW
cloud cover less than 10%

(...)I haven't quite perfected the imaging aspect yet of the sun, and I have issues with the central obstruction in the SCT(...)."

Anyway, since she couldn't send us an image of the Sun, so she sent a photo of her setup instead:

January 26th Solar Eclipse

The IYA2009 Solar Physics Task Group lend a helping hand to the South African National node in the eclipse webcast.

Please check the wonderful photos taken along the path of the Eclipse, like this one, from Helpmekaar College, Braamfontein:

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Measuring the shadow, from South Africa

Who says science and religion don't mix?

Here is a report from Dr. Abdurrazak Ebrahim, from Cape Town:

"There was a very small turnout – about 22 persons. We observed the sun per filters. As the majority of the attendees were of the Muslim faith I explained the shadow of a stick and we made various measurements for approximately 2 hours. Muslims use shadows and upper atmosphere light to compile their daily compulsory prayer times."

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Fundão - Portugal

In Fundão, Paulo Sanches had bad weather, but in the true spirit of the IYA2009, decided not to be stopped by a bit of rain. This is his report:

“We setup the telescope despite the bad weather, with no luck. I ended up going inside and did a little “lecture” about the Sun to my family, with the material I had in my laptop. Of course the more excited ones were my son and my nephews (the oldest is turning into a real astronomy enthusiast). On the laptop we also saw what we could have seen outside, and much more, because the children’s curiosity has no bounds. Even with bad weather we still ended up spending a nice “Dawn of IYA2009”, with happiness and satisfaction.”

Monday, 19 January 2009

"Dawn" in Scotland

The Scots are here!

Robin Baxter, a Member of the Wigtownshire Astronomical Society decided to travel from Newton Stewart to the Mull of Galloway, Scotland’s most southerly point. He thought this would be the ideal location for his "Dawn" activity. He had this to say:

"It was overcast during our visit to the Mull of Galloway and the temperature was zero Celsius. The Meade telescope, bottle of Scotch whisky, 2 drinking glasses, piece of tartan material along with sign containing IYA logos and Scottish and Portuguese flags were placed beside the information sign and photographed for posterity."

He also sent these photos: