2009 International Year of Astronomy
The proposal was made by Italy and co-sponsored by France, Japan, Brazil and the United Kingdom.
The focus of the International Year will be to engage young people and the general public in activities which demonstrate the profound influence that astronomy has on the natural sciences, culture and education.
Examples of such activities are: conferences, workshops and exhibitions organised by space agencies, universities, learned societies and amateur associations; open days at planetariums and visits to cultural properties connected with astronomy ( particularly in view of UNESCO's thematic initiative Astronomy and World Heritage, which has been co-sponsored by the RAS, to nominate sites that recognize and celebrate achievements in astronomy).
However only the United Nations General Assembly has the authority to declare International Years. Accordingly, the RAS will urge the British Government to support the declaration at the Autumn 2006 General Assembly