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Although 1 January 2009 marked the “real” beginning of the IYA2009, this large worldwide science outreach and education programme began more than six years earlier with the IAU’s initiative during the IAU General Assembly in 2003. The IYA2009 aims to unite nations under the umbrella of astronomy and science, while at the same time acknowledging cultural, national and regional diversity. Never before has such a network of scientists, amateur astronomers, educators, journalists and scientific institutions come together. By the time that the IYA2009 officially kicked off in Paris on 15 January 2009, over 5000 people were directly involved in the organisation of IYA2009 activities across the globe. The IYA2009 will continue far beyond 2009, as the momentum built by its pro­jects and activities continues to promote astronomy for many years to come.

Garching-bei-München, Germany, 22 January 2009

Pedro Russo Coordinator IAU IYA2009

Mariana Barrosa Coordination Assistant IAU IYA2009

Lars Lindberg Christensen Secretary EC WG IAU IYA2009, IAU Press Officer

Catherine Cesarsky President IAU, Chair IAU EC WG IYA2009


Source: UNESCO Flash Info N° 005-2009 , 16-JAN-2009

Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, opened the Global Launch ceremony of the International Year of Astronomy (2009), which took place at UNESCO Headquarters on 15 and 16 January.

The Year, a joint initiative of UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which was proclaimed through Resolution 62/200, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2007, has the ultimate aim of to encourage citizens of the world, especially young people, to rediscover the universe in which we live and to promote widespread access to the basic sciences and to increase scientific literacy, especially among youth. The Year also aims to promote the role of women in astronomy and the sciences and help developing countries strengthen their capacity in the astronomical sciences.

Also participating in the Global launch opening ceremony were Mrs Catherine Cesarsky, President of the IAU, Mr Reynald Seznec President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space, and Mr Giuseppe Pizza, Vice-Minister for Education, Universities and Scientific Research of Italy. Mr Jean-Michel Jarre, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Year, acted as master of ceremonies for the event.

In his address, Mr Matsuura began by noting that “the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) is the culmination of the vision and hard work of many partners.” He continued by paying tribute to the IAU, whose leadership had been instrumental in making this vision a reality.

The Director-General went on to underscore that for the past four hundred years, since Galileo Galilei first directed his telescope to the night sky, it had largely been astronomers and astrophysicists who have enjoyed the knowledge and understanding of the universe, its stars and planets, and their link to and impact on our daily life. He highlighted that the Year “provides us with a fantastic opportunity to expand this knowledge, and enable all people to explore the wonders of the universe and appreciate the benefits of its study for society.”

Mr Matsuura underlined the fact that Astronomy has had a profound impact on technological, social and economic development. He noted that “it is clear that a better understanding of the origins of the universe will lead us to better comprehend and manage our own planet, the Earth.”

The Director-General then drew attention to some of the main events spanning the Year, notably the eleven cornerstone projects of the Year, such as the worldwide observation of “100 Hours of Astronomy”, a round-the-clock awareness-raising event spanning all the continents, scheduled to take place from 2 to 5 April, and the “Dark Skies Awareness” project, which aims to preserve and protect dark night skies in places such as urban cultural landscapes, national parks and sites connected with astronomical observations.

Mr Matsuura also highlighted UNESCO's thematic initiative, “Astronomy and World Heritage”, another cornerstone project for the Year, whose main objective is to establish a link between science and culture and acknowledging the cultural and scientific values of properties connected with astronomy.

The Director-General ended his intervention by underscoring that the sky belonged to all of mankind, regardless of beliefs and religions and was therefore a tool for peace and understanding among the peoples of the Earth.



Recent triennial reports of the IAU Divisions, Commissions, Working Groups and Program Groups have been published in:


Transactions of the IAU, Volume XXVIIA

Ed. Karel A. van der Hucht

(Cambridge: CUP) ISBN: 978-0-521-85605-8, January 2009




On 2008 October 30, a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the IAU and UNESCO agreeing a number of ways in which the two organisations will work together to advance UNESCO’s Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative and ensure its full implementation. This initiative aims to ensure the recognition, promotion and preservation of achievements in science through the nomination to the World Heritage List (WHL) of properties whose outstanding significance to human­kind derives in significant part from their connection with astronomy.

Following the signing, a new Working Group of Commission 41 (History of Astronomy) has been set up, which is charged with fulfilling the IAU’s commitments under the MoU. Its Terms of Reference are:

1. To work on behalf of the IAU to help ensure that cultural properties and artefacts significant in the development of astronomy, together with the intangible heritage of astronomy, are duly studied, protected and main­tained, both for the greater benefit of humankind and to the potential bene­fit of future historical research.

(The range of properties and objects in question includes ancient sites and monuments with demonstrable links to the sky (such as Stonehenge), instru­ments of all ages, archives, and historical observatories.)

2. To fulfil, on behalf of the IAU, its commitments under the Memo­randum of Understanding with UNESCO on Astronomy and World Heritage.

3. To liaise with other international and national bodies concerned with astronomical history and heritage, in so far as their interests and activities impinge on these aims, to help achieve these aims.

4. To work, in conjunction with IAU C41 (History of Astronomy), IAU C46 (Education) and other Commissions and Working Groups within the IAU as appropriate, to enhance public interest, understanding, and support in the field of astronomical heritage.

The first main task for the IAU WG is to work with the International Committee on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to produce a global Thematic Study on astronomical heritage. This will provide the basis upon which UNESCO will produce criteria for judging WHL nominations relating to astronomy. A detailed work plan is currently being finalised with UNESCO and ICOMOS and will then be circulated to all those who have expressed an interest in joining the WG. Any others who are prepared to be actively involved are invited to contact myself or the C41 Secretary Rajesh Kochhar .

Clive L.N. Ruggles, WG Chair, 1 December 2008


II.9.1. 31th ISYA TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 2009

Venue: University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago

Date: 30 November - 18 December 2009


Dr. Jean-Pierre DeGreve, chair PG-ISYA

Dr. Shirin Haque, director ISYA2009


Preliminary program and lecturers:

- Planetary astrophysics: D. Schulze-Makuch (USA)

- (Eclipsing) Binary stars, and exoplanet detection: E. Guinan (USA)

- Stellar evolution and sessions for secondary school teachers and the general

public: J-P De Greve (Belgium)

- Extrasolar planets, planetary & atmospheric science, astrobiology: G. Tinetti


- Data reduction, queries of databases and related practical activities: R. Barba


- Stellar atmosphere (radiative transfer), stellar fundamental parameters, sessions for secondary school teachers: M. Gerbaldi (France)


COSPAR CBW on Lunar and Planetary Surface Science, co-sponsored by the IAU.

Venue: Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China.

Date: 6 - 19 September 2009.



Closing date for applications: 28 February 2009.



The Union is saddened to learn that the following members and former members passed away, as far as reported to the IAU Secretariat:

Henri Andrillat (19..-2009), France, 8 January, 2009

Pierre Bacchus (1923-2007), France, 2007

Elihu Boldt (1931-2008), United States, 12 September, 2008

Angelo Bonifazi (1942-2006), United States, 19 April, 2006

Ronald N. BRACEWELL (1921-2007), Australia, 12 August, 2007

James William Brault (1932-2008), United States, 1 November, 2008

Mary T. Bruck (1925-2008), United Kingdom, 11 December, 2008

Peter Stephen Bunclark (1954-2008), UK, 10 December, 2008

Alessandro Cacciani (1938-2007), Italy, 9 July, 2007

Henri Debehogne (1930-2007), Belgium, 6 December, 2007

Bryce S. DeWITT (1923-2004), United States, 23 September, 2004

James N. DOUGLAS (1935-2006), United States, 20 August, 2006

Frank K. Edmondson (1912-20..), United States, 20..

Anthony P. Fairall (1943-2008), United Kingdom, 23 November, 2008

Manuel Forestini (1963-2003), France, 11 March, 2003

David B. Friend (1954-2008), United States, 22 May, 2008

Henri L. Giclas (1910-2007), United States, 2 April, 2007

Martha L. HAZEN (1931-2006), United States, 23 December, 2006

Eleanor Francis Helin (19..-2009), United States, 26 January, 2009

James Stanley HEY (1909-2000), United Kingdom, 27 February, 2000

Takeshi INOUE (1939-2004), Japan, 2004

Wilhelmina Iwanowska (1905-1999), Poland, 16 May, 1999

Sveneric Johansson (1942-2008), Sweden, 10 October, 2008

Joseph KLARMANN (1929-2006), United States, 21 February, 2006

Howard Hugh Lanning (1946-2007), United States, 20 December, 2007

John LINSLEY (1925-2002), United States, 15 September, 2002

Valentin I. MAKAROV (1936-2006), Russian Federation, 7 August, 2006

Julian C.D. Marsh (1927-20..), United Kingdom, 20..

Cesar MENDOZA-BRICENO (1962-2008), Venezuela, October 2008

Lyudmila A. MITROFANOVA (1915-2002), Russia, 21 December, 2002

Vitalij A. NAUMOV (1929-2008), Russian Federation, 4 December, 2008

John David North (1934-2008), United Kingdom, 31 October, 2008

Robert Novick (1923-2007), United States, 6 May, 2007

Omer NYS (1931-2007), Belgium, 2007

Graham J. Odgers (1923-2008), Canada, 15 June, 2008

Steven J. OSTRO (1946-2008), USA, 15 December 2008

Laura E. Pasinetti (1935-2006), Italy, 14 September, 2006

Mirek J. PLAVEC (1925-2008), United States, 23 January, 2008

Zdenek POKORNY (1947-2007), Czech Republic, 5 December, 2007

Viktor S. POPOV (1935-2008), Russian Federation, 19 March, 2008

Heino I. POTTER (1930-2007), Russian Federation, 22 May, 2007

Françoise PRADERIE (1938-2009), France, 28 January, 2009

Edmond M. REEVES (1935-2008), United States, 8 August, 2008

Sjur REFSDAL (1937-2009), Norway, 29 January, 2009

Claude RIVENQ (19..-2009), France, January 2009

Ludmila RUSU (1930-2003), Romania, 2003

Edwin E. SALPETER (1924-2008), United States, 2008

Leonid M. SHULMAN (1937-2007), Ukraine, 5 October 2007

Vyacheslav I. SLYSH (1936-2008), Russian Federation, 23 September, 2008

Philip M. SOLOMON (1941-2008), United States, 30 April 2008

Barry E. TURNER (1939-2008), United States, 10 May, 2008

Tom Van FLANDERN (1940-2009), United States, 9 January 2009

Leon P. Van SPEYBROECK (1935-2002), United States, 25 December 2002

John Archibald WHEELER (1911-2008), United States, 13 April, 2008

Gerald James WHITROW (1912-20..), United Kingdom, 20..

Tor WIEDLING (1922-2006), Sweden, 8 December, 2006

John Paul WILD (1923-2008), Australia, 10 May 2008

Andrew S. WILSON (1949-2008), United Kingdom, 24 May, 2008

James Ricker WILSON (1922-2007), United States, 14 August, 2007

Jörn Erhard WINK (1942-2000), Germany, 5 August, 2000


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