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Rolf-Peter Kudritzki


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From the Director

Dear Friends of the Institute for Astronomy,

Four hundred years ago, in 1609, Galileo Galilei turned a spyglass toward the heavens and saw things that no one had ever seen before--craters on the Moon, the phases of Venus, and four moons orbiting Jupiter. In 2007, at the request of the International Astronomical Union, the United Nations declared that 2009 should be the International Year of Astronomy to commemorate Galileo's discoveries and the publication of Astronomia Nova, by Johannes Kepler. These were key events in the beginning of modern, scientific astronomy.

IYA will be celebrated in dozens of countries throughout the world. Astronomy organizations in the United States are taking the lead for four IYA projects: development of an inexpensive telescope to give millions of ordinary people the ability to see what Galileo did; the "From Earth to the Universe" project, an exhibition that will bring astronomical images to nontraditional venues such as parks, art museums, shopping malls, and transit stations; raising public awareness of the importance of maintaining dark skies; and a production entitled "400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought." The latter will include a public television broadcast in high-definition and a companion planetarium program that will be translated into many languages. You may find a trailer for this program at www.400years.org.

Many of the key objectives of the IYA 2009 observance overlap with the IfA's already well-established education and outreach efforts to promote access to knowledge of astronomy and observing experiences. However, in addition to our usual efforts, we are working with the IYA organization and other astronomy-related groups in Hawaii to create some special events for the IYA observance. These will be announced in future editions of this newsletter, as well as on our Web site, and through the mass media. For more information, see www.astronomy2009.org.

Aloha!
Rolf-Peter Kudritzki
Director, Institute for Astronomy

 

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Highlights

Weighing the Coldest Brown Dwarfs
Other Worlds
Nick Kaiser Elected Fellow of the British Royal Society

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