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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

International Year of Astronomy

For those of you who don't know, 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) - so chosen because 400 years ago Galileo pointed one of the first telescopes up to the heavens and discovered Saturn's rings, the four Galilean satellites of Jupiter, craters on the Moon and Sunspots.

There are events scheduled for the whole year around the whole world. Have a look at the international website here:

www.astronomy2009.org

and for information in Canada:

www.astronomie2009.ca ('cause we're all French, apparently)

To find out what's going on in your local area, just Google your city + IYA and see what comes up! Many communities are hosting their own opening ceremonies this weekend, so take a look!

One very cool thing we're doing in Canada is giving out Galileo Moment cards - these are basically like baseball or hockey cards, but instead of a picture and stats of an athlete, they show a picture and stats of a famous astronomical body (Jupiter for instance). On each card is a registration number, and these cards will be given out at IYA events throughout the year.

When someone receives a card, they can go to Canada's IYA website and register the number on the card, along with their name. Then, in 2010, the Canadian Space Agency will launch a disc with all the names that were registered into space!! That's pretty cool, if you ask me!

I hope that everyone takes advantage of this amazing opportunity to learn more about the universe around us, where we came from, and where we are going!