UN declares 2009 as “International Year of Astronomy”
Paris, Dec 21: The United Nations has declared 2009 as the “International Year of Astronomy” in its 62nd General Assembly.
The resolution for this declaration, which is an initiative of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO, was submitted by Italy.
At the IAU General Assembly on 23 July 2003 in Sydney (Australia), the IAU unanimously approved a resolution in favour of the proclamation of 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy.
Based on Italy's initiative, UNESCO's General Conference at its 33rd session recommended that the UN General Assembly adopt a resolution to declare 2009 the International Year of Astronomy.
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) celebrates the first astronomical use of the telescope by Galileo - a momentous event that initiated 400 years of astronomical discoveries and triggered a scientific revolution that profoundly affected our worldview.
For several millennia, astronomers have worked together across all boundaries including geographic, gender, age, culture and race, in line with the principles of the UN Charter. In that sense, astronomy is a classic example of how science can contribute towards furthering international cooperation.
"The International Year of Astronomy 2009 gives all nations a chance to participate in this ongoing exciting scientific and technological revolution, " said Catherine Cesarsky, the President of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
The IYA2009 will highlight global cooperation for peaceful purposes - the search for our cosmic origin and our common heritage which connects all citizens of planet Earth.
According to a report from IAU, the vision of IYA2009 is to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day and night time sky - and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery. It also states that all humans should realize the impact of astronomy and basic sciences on our daily lives, and understand better how scientific knowledge can contribute to a more equitable and peaceful society.
The aim of the IYA2009 will be to also stimulate worldwide interest, especially among young people, in astronomy and science under the central theme "The Universe, Yours to Discover". It seeks to convey the excitement of personal discovery, the pleasure of sharing fundamental knowledge about the Universe and our place in it, and the merits of the scientific method.
IYA2009 events and activities will promote a greater appreciation of the inspirational aspects of astronomy that embody an invaluable shared resource for all nations.
The IYA2009 activities will take place at the global and regional levels, and especially at the national and local levels.
National Nodes in each country have been formed to prepare activities for 2009. These Nodes establish collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers, science centres, educators and science communicators in preparing activities for 2009. (ANI)