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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
II.7.2. UNESCO REPORT OPENING CEREMONY
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.
II.8. REPORTS OF IAU DIVISIONS, COMMISSIONS, WORKING
GROUPS & PROGRAM GROUPS
Recent triennial reports of the IAU Divisions, Commissions, Working Groups and Program Groups have been published in:
REPORTS ON ASTRONOMY 2006-2009
Transactions of the IAU, Volume XXVIIA
Ed. Karel A. van der Hucht
(Cambridge: CUP) ISBN: 978-0-521-85605-8, January 2009
II.8.1. DIVISION XII / COMMISSION 41. A NEW WORKING
GROUP ON ASTRONOMY AND WORLD HERITAGE
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
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
Clive L.N. Ruggles, WG Chair, 1 December 2008
II.9. IAU EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES
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)
II.9.2. COSPAR CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP 2009
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.
II.10. MEMBERSHIP OF THE IAU
II.10.1. DECEASED MEMBERS
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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