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:

"Dwan" in Iraq - impacts on the media

Sorry for not sharing this earlier, but the work flow from my "day job" has suffered a bit with coordinating "Dawn", and I'm playing "catch-up".

Azhy Hasan, from the Iraqi Kurdistan sent me this:

"Issue #3064 (Jan.07.2009) of Khabat Daily Newspaper on Erbil put the photo of (Farid) the smallest Iraqi kid whom looked at the Sun on Jan,01.2009, also a photo of the blog of DAWN in the left upper side.

Issue #492 (Jan.13.2009) of the (Region Weekly Magazine) also published a news on the File of Science about DAWN in Iraq, under the title "The DAWN of IYA2009 Launched on Iraqi Kurdistan Region", with a nice photo of amateur astronomers
and sidewalk people waiting for their turn to observe the Sun P.S.T. Coronado.

Still there were more impacts of that 1st wonderful IYA2009's activity of DAWN.
There was a 50 minutes live radio meeting with Azhy Hasan, the president of Amateur Astronomers Assosiation of Kurdistan-Iraq, on Jan.11.2009, in Jehan FM Radio. It was really a great chance to explain the whole IYA2009 and especially "DAWN of IYA2009" and "100 Hours of Astronomy", and the world wide participatation on these events."

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Dawn in Jakarta - The Peace from Indonesia to IYA 2009

As a project of Dawn of IYA 2009, Jakarta Amateur Astronomers Association (or HAAJ) invited several amateur astronomy communities in jakarta to do the sun observation together in the new year 2009 started at 12.00 noon. The communities that were Participated in this activity are:

1. "SIRIUS" Astronomy Club, State of Senior High School 89 (SMAN 89), East Jakarta.
2. "POLARIS" Astronomy Club, State of Senior High School 38 (SMAN 38),South Jakarta.
4. Science Club, State of Senior High School 25 (SMAN 25), Central Jakarta
3. Forum of Scientist Teenagers (FOSCA).

Since this Activity was held during the school holiday, we could not send formal invitation to the other network of amateur astronomy communities. And also, Because The Public Holiday, The Jakarta Planetarium & Observatory was close. Even with the constraints on participants, observation instrument and weather, this activity went well.

Here are the fotograph of this event:

Thursday, 8 January 2009

The Dawn from Astronomy Club, IIT Madras, India

At IIT Madras, India, classes were in full force on New Year's Day and logistics didn't permit us to celebrate the Dawn of IYA 2009 as suggested. So we decided to welcome IYA 2009 differently.

Some of us got together on the terrace of the Physics Department to welcome the sun early in the morning. After a good lot of waiting for the clouds at the horizon to clear, we finally saw the sun rising. The excitement led to some fun-photography with the Rising Sun of IYA 2009!

Pictured here, welcoming the sun are Prasanna Ramaswamy, Vinay Hegde and Namrata Kamat, active members of Astronomy Club, IIT Madras.

Pictured here are Vinay Hegde and Prasanna Ramaswamy, trying to take innovative pictures with the Sun.

We hope that this will be a very fruitful year for all Astronuts.
[Original post here; More pictures here]

Photo Credits: Prasanna Ramaswamy.
License: Creative Commons License
These works by Prasanna Ramaswamy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Still "Dawn" in Iraq

Our friend Azhy Hasan is having a bit of trouble with his internet connection, so he asked me to share this with you:

Khabat, is a very famous daily newspaper here in the Iraqi Kurdistan region - The North - And we were pleased to see our DAWN of IYA2009's poster from the Amateur Astronomers Association of Kuurdistan published in Page 10 - The Science Page of 31.12.2008.

Azhy Hasan

DAWN from Ahmedabad, India

IYA2009 Dawns in the City of Vikram Sarabhai
Location: Kankaria Lake, Ahmedabad, India
1st January 2009

It was twilight, well over a hour before sunrise, when over five hundred school students assembled before the gates of Bal Vatika, Ahmedabad. Over half of them were accompanied by their parents and family members. 

There were students from several different schools. Their teachers were also around to give them moral support. Their main object - to welcome the closest star, also called the Garden Star by Sidewalk Astronomer John Dobson and herrald the arrival of the International Year of Astronomy. The plans for this day had been going on for weeks. Their parents reported that the children were more excited then they were during the school picnics.

Minutes before sunrise, four hundred of the children were given colorful ballons to relase at the appointed hour. Dozens of amateur astronomers and several volunters were around, wearing caps with the IYA2009 & Solar Physics 2009 Logos. Children were also carrying play cards and flyers with the Logo of the DAWN of IYA2009 and also the regular IYA2009 logos.

Minutes after the sunrise, after a brief prayer, the children release the 400 colorful baloons in the sky. They clapped their hands. Amateur astronomers, briefly explained to them the object of the celebration. The amateur astronomers also explained why the lake was selected as a venue for DAWN of IYA2009.  Besides being a well known landmark in Ahmedabad, it was also had some relation with solar observation. While highlighting that most observatories were located in dark skies region on high altitude areas, the children were informed, that in case of a solar observatory, it was necessary to have it close to a water body, preferably on an island. The cool winds that blew across the lake water, was important to reduce the turbulant motion of the air and provide clarity in studing our nearest star - The Sun. 

Telescopes fitted with safe astro solar filters were soon mounted at the venue. We are grateful to Galileo Telescopes of Mumbai for providing these filters to all registrants of the DAWN of IYA2009.  The children, as well as their parents, teachers and the morning walkers joined the long line of observers, who had a look at the sun through the scope.

A small group of children sat on the lake side, played a guitair and sang astronomy related songs. All of them were determined to make the Year 2009 as one of the most eventful year in their lives and a fitting tribute to Dr. Vikram A Sarabhai, the Father of Modern Indian Sciences.

Dawn reports from Vadodara,India

Dawn of IYA2009 in vadodara was very successful, in terms of all areas from Press coverage to people attraction and reaching to people. major Gujarati news paper publish press-note of DAWN on 1st January, all local media telecast News in evening and again major newspaper publish Report on next day after event.

We have arrange 2 telescoe at 2 places of Vadodara.

1. at our Regular meeting place Balbhavan of Vadodara. 5inch Reflector telescope without filter on Projection sheet we shaw sun to students. (today we also launch our prime project "hamari hi mutthi me Aakash sara - reaching to unreached" showing and teaching astronomy to those who still unexplored, about 35 physically and mentally disable students see the sun through Scope, it was quite exiting for them when i ask few of them did you know what is this white Ball ?? they says "DADA-suraj dada" it is quit fascinating for them too see telescope and to look at screen..i also learn that it is very difficult to teach them still i love it. and hope we get surely good success in our project. Gujarat Samachar of Vadodara edition publish image of this on next day.)

team members at place :Myself (bhargav) on scope, Lekhraj on Screen,Prakash at PPT and sundial. timings 9:45 AM to 12:10 NOON.

2. 2nd place is Faculty of Science of MS university , we placed our 5 inch reflector with filter at entry gate of faculty of Science and near H.M Library so students of all stream can benifit to watch sun.about 300 students watch sun through scope we have announced time from 10 to 12, but we have to extend it till 2PM.

team members at Place : Mansi at Scope, Riddhi at sundial, Sreejit at PPT. Mehul and Rakesh with students to explain physics funda (just to avoid big rush and que) later on at 12:30 we three people from place 1 join place 2 till 2 PM.

timing:10:15AM to 2:00 PM

apart of showing sun through scope, simultaneously we have arrange ppt presentation on Sun , it's structure and phenomenons on sun at both place. also make small 15CM dia sundial and teach them concept of Sundial. all in all Good Successful Event.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Cluster Oaks Drive - Humble, TX, USA

My objective was to introduce folks on my street to the IYA by setting up the telescope to look at the sun. We were ready a little before noon (local time), skies were clear, and curious neighbors began to emerge from their homes. We were prepared to go all afternoon. The Sun was there, in the eyepiece, still no clouds, but alas, no sunspots either. We had some good discussions about the sun, the sunspot cycle, the IYA, and the new, soon to open observatory. Sadly, by 1 PM, the clouds moved in and we were totally overcast for the rest of the day. So brief, but we got the IYA off to a good start. We had 13 visitors ranging from elementary school children to adults. - Aaron Clevenson

Dawn IYA 2009 in Coastal NC, USA

Dawn IYA 2009 was not only a fun way to usher in (and introduce) the International Year of Astronomy 2009, it offered me a perfect opportunity to share the sky with fellow residents of my small town of Shallotte, North Carolina, USA.

We had beautifully clear skies for the event - that famous cloudless, Carolina Blue; and the temperatures were just right - not too hot for a sunny day, nor too cold considering the winter season.

My husband helped me with the event, assisting in the transport and setup of my telescope, banner, chairs, and pamphlets table, and by keeping me company for the duration. I was glad to have him with me. We don't often get to enjoy the sky together, and this gave us that time.

We set up near the entrance to our town, along what is essentially the only main road, fittingly named Main Street. Passersby were greeted by a large banner announcing Dawn IYA 2009 and free solar viewing and a smaller sign encouraging people to stop and look at the sun.

The solar viewing apparatus included a 10" Dobsonian telescope outfitted with a Seymour Solar filter, a 10x25 pair of Coronado White Light Binoculars, and a 12x50 pair of Celestron binoculars for non-solar viewing. Our table included various handouts printed from the Dawn IYA 2009 resources page and a homemade solar kit that included a solar glasses template and a swatch of Baader solar film.

The turnout was small but respectable considering the date. Few people were out, probably home recovering from the festivities of the night before. The good news was that all of our visitors were completely new to astronomy and had never before viewed the sun through a filter. One man even asked, "What am I looking at?" - and nearly all asked about that bright "star" in the sunset sky. They were intrigued to learn that it was actually a planet and were thrilled when I showed them Venus and the crescent moon in the daytime sky.

The excitement and curiousity was genuine and even contagious between those who happened to stop by together. Several people even asked where they could get their own telescope or binoculars. Fortunately, one of my handouts - a Fun Sun Facts that I created - included a list of various astronomy websites where they could learn more about the nightsky and even download simple charts for backyard observing.

The one unfortunate thing in all this is that I spent so much time answering questions, I forgot to take pictures! After each visitor left, I reminded myself that I needed to take pictures of the next visitors - and each time, I forgot. I do, however, have pictures of our handouts and equipment. Nothing exciting.

I have several handouts remaining and plenty of baader film for more solar viewing kits. I am planning to host another solar viewing event in a few weeks; and this time I will promote it more heavily to bring in more people. I've already been offered free printing and banner services from the local printers (Skippergraphics) for any future events.

Ultimately, my Dawn IYA 2009 event was a success. More people will "look up" and I feel confident that they, too, will encourage others to look up, as well.

Happy IYA 2009 and Clear Skies to All!
Tavi Greiner

Monday, 5 January 2009

Solar Observation in Fife, Scotland, UK

As could be expected, the sky was mostly overcast at the appointed hour. However, the telescope (Celestron Nexstar 5i with glass solar filter) was set up at a country location outside Cupar, about 15 miles from St Andrews, in the county of Fife, Scotland. House-guests from the New Year Party made it to the telescope nursing the customary hangover and we all managed to make a solar observation at 12 noon. It was disappointing that the solar disk was clear of sunspots but at least we had enough clear sky to take part in the first event of IYA 2009. Then it was back inside for a hair of the dog!
Happy New Year to all.
Lyn Smith, BAA Solar Section Director,
Chris Hobster and Chris Longmore.

moore new years day party

We had about fifteen come out an look at the sun in my 4" DOB with a white light filter. Not much to see. Talked about haow large a sunspot would be before we could see it and what they really are. We then looked at the moon. Most were suprised to be able to see in the daylight. I used a basketball and a tennis ball to show how the moon "Phases" and why we could see it in the daylight. Most were interested and stuck around while I answered questions. We even discussed how planets are being discovered around stars other than ours.

Fred Gassert, President
Kansas Astronomical Observers

"Dawn" in CiWalk Mall, Bandung, Indonesia - 2

Here are some videos from the activity in Indonesia:

"Dawn" in Bharuch, India

Arvind Panchal sent this report:


The dawn of new year was welcomed by over 450 students, accompanied by their teachers, students and members of Astronomy Club, Bharuch
The venue was at Narayan Vidhyalay Bharuch, in the centre of the city. I contacted the Principal well in advance and the manage for the same nicely.

All the students enjoyed Solarsys CD presentation , observe the Sun by Projection method as the safest way.

In the evening at the terrace of B/3 Narayan Nagar 4 , Bharuch I have arranged to view Jupiter, Venus and craters of the moon

Clear skies and IYA2009 greetings,
Arvind Panchal

"Dawn" in Porto, Portugal

I just realized I'm guilty of the same fault as most other participants. I also haven't properly described the activity in Porto, so here it goes:

Has I posted before,the skies in Porto where cloudy, and it even rained later in the afternoon, so we couldn't observe the Sun directly.

We started around 14h00 (2 p.m.), with a live interview in the national TV channel (RTP), to the news leader at lunch time, "Jornal da Tarde" (check at 04:07 minutes in the video). The bearded guy being interviewed is me, so you now know what the annoying guy that keeps sending you "Dawn" e-mails looks like.

Later in the day we also had the visit of a regional TV Channel, "Porto Canal". Other references where made in the portuguese news agency "Lusa" the 2 most read daily newspapers, "Público" and "Jornal de Notícias".

Over the next 4 hours (we finished after sunset), we got around 100 visitors, which is pretty good, considering we where "watching the Sun" on a rainy day.

We had the debut of our next Planetarium show, called "The Sun: Diary of a Star". We intended to have only 2 presentations, but by popular demand we ended up doing 4. The crowed seem pleased with the result.

Among younger children, the sundials where without a doubt the favorite (and among some of the parents). We had both equatorial and horizontal cut-out sundials, of our own design. These were corrected for Portugal's latitude and longitude, but you can donwload the "international" equatorial sundial in "Dawn's" resources webpage.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Southeastern Wisconsin, USA

We were going to have solar observing at Bayshore Town Center in the northern Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, but skies were overcast and it was lightly snowing! Since we were unable to secure an indoor alternative site ahead of time, we had to cancel the event. For 100HA, we'll be sure to have the indoor site reserved in case of inclement weather.

The Dawn of IYA2009 did have a very special meaning for at least one person in the area. We had a good friend from Minnesota stay with us over the holiday, and on New Year's morning she had a gift waiting for her -- an Orion XT 4.5 Dobsonian telescope. Her very own first telescope! That night it was clear enough to catch the Moon for a short while, which she never saw through a telescope before. She is excited to take the scope back with her and go stargazing with her young nephew, who always wanted a telescope, so in a small way the spirit of the Dawn of IYA2009 was fulfilled.

Where are you?

I'm a bit disappointed (and surprised) by the low number of posts so far.

We have 30 countries registered, with more than 100 activities. So where is the rest? Are you still catching up from the lack of sleep on New Year's day?

If you haven't done so already, please, please, please post.

Even if you don't have any photos/videos to post, post a brief description of your activity anyway. How it went, roughly how many people visited you and so on... We are all eager to know how it worked out in you part of the world.

We want to ear from you, whether you are from the Middle East (thanks for the posts from both our Iranian and Iraqi friends), Asia (the smile of that little Nepalese girl is worth a billion euro) South America (obrigado Florianópolis), or Oceania (nice sunrise New Zealand).

Where are the rest of our friends from USA, India and Brazil?

Your reports are important for us in the International Year of Astronomy 2009, because they help us to know what worked and what went wrong, so we know what to repeat and what not to do again.

By the way, I know some of you already know about this, but I personally invite every one from the "Dawn" family to register in the IYA2009 Cornerstone project, 100 hours of Astronomy. Please check it out.