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2009 International Year of Astronomy

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 November 2005 15:41
Published on Wednesday, 09 November 2005 00:00
UNESCO supports move to declare 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. Thanks in part to active lobbying by the RAS, the General Conference of UNESCO, at its meeting in October 2005, agreed to support 'all efforts leading to the United Nations General Assembly proclaiming 2009 ( the 400th anniversary of Galileo pointing his telescope at the sky) as 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