Beyond the International Year of Astronomy, 2009 has a few new things out, so I’ll round a few of them up.
Global Astronomy Month has ended here, but that doesn’t stop a newsletter or two appearing on the IYA2009 twitter account today. The Optical Society of America has initiated a Galileoscope Challenge in which hundreds of the low cost, high quality telescopes will be donated to schoolchildren in Milwaukee along with books about Galileo, starmaps relevant to their area and talks from researchers. The Sky of Our Grandparents was an initiative to gather personal testimonies, stories, legends, songs, poetry and proverbs from different groups around the world over the course of a year, leading to a new film. There’s quite a few meetings going on; in Sri Lanka held an observational astronomy workshop in March and photos have been published; In Erding Germany, during the music festival, a star party that started with a fine art display showed a long line of people the Sun through a solar telescope before moving onto Mars, Saturn, the Moon and the Beehive Cluster, all under the auspices of Erding Sidewalk Astronomers and EurAstro; The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is accepting registrations and payments between now and June 30th, it will be held on the 27th September-1st of October in Prague on the theme of “Space for Human benefit and exploration”; Abstracts have been requested for the pro-am session in the Joint European National Astronomy Meeting, 2010, on the 10th September, 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal, in which professional collaborations involving amateur astronomers and harnessing the power of modern amateur equipment will be discussed, reviewed, previewed and planned – apply early if you want a travel grant. And finally, there’s a few competitions going on at the moment, including the Hubble Pop Culture contest in which people are to look for examples of Hubble Space Telescope influence and iconography in pop culture under the categories of weirdest, smallest, largest, most artistic and funniest; for the smaller astronomers, Naming X is a competition to find names for small planets in honour of Venetia Burney Phair, who named Pluto at the age of 11, which runs through May; and one more competition, which didn’t come through IYA2009, but still fits in somewhat is the SDO Capture the Sun contest running from May 3rd until June 4th in which people of any age are asked to recreate images from the Solar Dynamic Observatory in a skillful and creative way.