"100 Hours of Astronomy," another IYA2009 cornerstone project, is a worldwide event taking place from April 2-5, 2009, with a wide range of public outreach activities including live webcasts, observing events, and more. One of the key goals of "100 Hours of Astronomy" is to have as many people as possible look through a telescope, just as Galileo did for the first time 400 years ago.
The "From Earth to the Universe" (FETTU) cornerstone project is an exhibition arranged by IYA2009 that will bring large-scale astronomical images to a wide public audience in non-traditional venues such as public parks and gardens, art museums, shopping malls, and metro stations. Over 30 countries around the world are currently in the development phase of FETTU projects, many with multiple locations. Some 15 countries plan to begin FETTU exhibitions within the first month of 2009, ranging in size from 25 to over 100 images on display. FETTU will be introduced to the global community at the opening ceremony at UNESCO headquarters in January 2009.
"The World at Night" is an IYA2009 special project that is producing and bringing to the public a collection of stunning photographs and time-lapse videos of the world's landmarks with the sky in the background. "The World at Night" is preparing more than 30 exhibitions and educational events around the world.
One of IYA2009's aims is to raise awareness of light pollution and how the beauty of the night sky is progressively being drowned out, particularly over urban areas. The project "Dark Skies Awareness" is tackling these issues head-on in a practical, inclusive manner. One way in which it is doing this is by holding star-counting events where the public is encouraged to see how many stars in a particular area of the sky are actually visible from their location. When compared with data from truly dark sites, the results are often very surprising! The "How Many Stars" event will run from January 2009.
A list of event highlights is available on the official IYA2009 website, www.astronomy2009.org/highlights
. From there it is also possible to contact the National Nodes, responsible for organizing local events in the many participating countries.
IYA2009 seeks to involve the public in its activities, and to this end amateur astronomers have been called upon to help organize and run events. So many people across the globe are already involved, they have formed the world's largest astronomy network. Catherine Cesarsky, IAU President, says: "135 countries have committed themselves to the Year, all pulling together toward the common aim of making astronomy accessible to the public. IYA2009 will reinforce the links between science education and science careers, stimulating a long-term increase in student enrolment in the fields of science and technology and an appreciation for lifelong learning."