Galilean Nights!

THE FOLLOWING RELEASE WAS RECEIVED FROM THE U.S. INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF ASTRONOMY 2009 PRESS OFFICE AND IS FORWARDED FOR YOUR INFORMATION.  (FORWARDING DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT BY THE AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY.)

Rick Fienberg, American Astronomical Society:
rick.fienberg@aas.org, 1-202-328-2010 x116.

October 20, 2009

Contacts:
Douglas Isbell
U.S. Single-Point-of-Contact for IYA2009
+1 520-991-0380
disbell@astronomy2009.us

Catherine Moloney
Galilean Nights Task Group Chair
+44 788 186 1400
cmoloney@eso.org

Pedro Russo
IYA2009 Coordinator
ESO ePOD, Garching, Germany
+49 89 320 06 195 / Cell +49 176 6110 0211
prusso@eso.org

VIEW JUPITER BETTER THAN GALILEO DID:
SIDEWALK ASTRONOMY TO SPAN THE U.S.
IN CELEBRATION OF “GALILEAN NIGHTS”

Astronomy enthusiasts across the globe are breaking out their
telescopes this weekend (October 22-24) in a coordinated effort to
help hundreds of thousands of people experience their own “Galileo
moment” of awe and discovery when seeing the planet Jupiter and its
four largest moons.

More than 800 public observing events in over 50 countries are being
organized as part of “Galilean Nights,” a cornerstone project of the
International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009). More than 75 events in
the United States are listed on the international Galilean Nights Web
site at www.galileannights.org.

“Our goal is to enable people of all ages to share the wonder of the
night sky by seeing the same objects that legendary Italian astronomer
Galileo Galilei first observed scientifically four centuries ago,”
says Douglas Isbell, the U.S. national Single Point of Contact for
IYA2009. “We hope to give many people their first glimpse of the
marvels of the Universe through a telescope, showing them breathtaking
sights such as the cloud bands of Jupiter, and the rocky desolation of
craters and mountain ranges on our Moon.”

Large U.S. events are being planned for Inwood Hill Park in New York
City and Hilo, Hawaii, for example. A wide variety of other events are
scheduled at places as diverse as a Starbucks coffee shop in
Alabaster, Alabama; Wilhemina State Park in Mena, Arkansas; the Amoeba
music store in Hollywood, California; Colorado Astronomy Day in
Brighton and Chamberlin Observatory in Denver; the Embry-Riddle
University observatory in Daytona Beach, Florida; sidewalk astronomy
at the corner of North and Wells streets in Chicago; a Radio Shack in
Waterloo, Iowa; Chabot Science Center near Oakland; a Border’s
Bookstore in Wichita, Kansas; the Longway Planetarium in Flint,
Michigan; Bottomless Lakes State Park in Roswell, New Mexico; the
University of Texas Arlington planetarium; the Great Salt Lake Nature
Center in Utah; the Carnegie Institution of Washington, DC; and the
Green Bank Science Center in West Virginia.

As well as looking at our planetary neighbors through a telescope,
people are encouraged to photograph what they see and share the sights
with the world through the Galilean Nights astrophotography
competition. Photographers of all levels of experience are
enthusiastically taking part in the competition as they try to produce
their own captivating photographs of the Universe. Anyone with a
camera and an appreciation of the night sky can take part.

Entries using the IYA2009 cornerstone project Galileoscope are
particularly encouraged, Isbell says. More than 125,000 of these
high-quality, hands-on telescope kits have been produced, and units
are still available for order for $20 each, or $15 each for orders
over 100, at http://www.galileoscope.org.

In addition to these activities, several observatories are making
their facilities available to the world for remote observing sessions,
allowing people to take photographs of astronomical objects from their
own personal computers.

The Web site also includes lots of resources and downloadable
materials for organizations interested in hosting their own events,
such as the logo in numerous languages, information on sky objects,
and pre-prepared presentations.

“Please register your events and report back to us with your results
so we can make a good estimate of how successful the event was around
the world,” Isbell adds.

The vision of the IYA2009 is to help the citizens of the world
rediscover their place in the Universe through the day and night-time
skies the impact of astronomy and basic sciences on our daily lives,
and understand better how scientific knowledge can contribute to a
more equitable and peaceful society.

The cornerstones and special projects of IYA2009 aim to stimulate
worldwide interest, especially among young people, in astronomy and
science under the central theme‚ “The Universe, Yours to Discover.”
IYA2009 events and activities hope to promote a greater appreciation
of the inspirational aspects of astronomy that embody an invaluable
shared resource for all countries.

For more information, visit:
http://www.galileannights.org
http://www.astronomy2009.us
http://www.astronomy2009.org

**************************************************

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About matthewm53
I'm a Senior Engineering & Science Librarian at Carnegie Mellon University.

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