100 Hours of Astronomy Begins on April 2

by Tammy Plotner on March 30, 2009

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Have you heard the word? In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, there’s a worldwide event happening that will begin on April 2 and last through April 5, 2009. Public outreach activities, live science centers, research observatory webcasts and sidewalk astronomy events are only a small part of what you’ll discover when the “100 Hours of Astronomy Cornerstone Project” gets underway. Want to find out more about what’s happening? Then step inside…

What’s it all about? One of the goals of “100 Hours of Astronomy” is to get as many people as possible to look through a telescope – just as Galileo did 400 years ago. This four-day event will encompass astronomy clubs, groups, individuals, observatories, science centers and more around the world as they reach out to the public to achieve this common goal. During the opening ceremonies on April 2, Franklin Institute in Philadelphia will feature one of Galileo’s telescopes and the Director of the Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence, Italy, (home of the two remaining Galileo telescopes) will give a talk on the importance of Galileo’s telescopes and his discoveries. Also on April 2, select science centers will begin a live webcast featuring discussions on current topics in astronomy and remote telescope viewing. On April 3 another 24-hour webcast will begin when astronomers at professional research observatories around the world will take viewers inside their telescope domes and control rooms via camera.

One of the features of “100 Hours of Astronomy” will be a 24-hour Global Star Party on April 5, when telescopes – both solar and celestial) will be open for public viewing by astronomy clubs and observing groups around the world at no charge. And, beginning a dawn on April 5, we’ll celebrate “Sun Day” with more solar viewing! Just like our own IYA Live Telescope many observatories around the world are also offering access to their telescopes as well, where you can sign up for an opportunity to control a telescope in real time and take pictures, or have someone assist you.

poster_100hours_lWhere do you find a program near you? One of the best places to start is at the official website and the “100 Hours of Astronomy – Find An Event” page. Check your local newspapers, astronomy websites, radio broadcasts and libraries. If you can’t find anything nearby – then use what you have right in front of you! Thanks to Internet Magic “Around the World in 80 Telescopes” will begin at 9:00 UT on April 3 and last until 9:00 UT on April 4. Don’t miss you chance to take off to some of the most advanced ground- and space-based observatories around the world and off the planet!

One of the highlights of this project will be an opportunity to peek into ESA’s XMM-Newton and Integral satellite control rooms in Spain. Viewers will get an insight into two space observatories, XMM-Newton and Integral, an opportunity to meet astronomers working on these missions, a sneak preview at a pretty new XMM-Newton image of Messier 82, and a chance to participate in a student competition using data from the Integral satellite. This live 24-hour video webcast is organized by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) and was initiated by the International Astronomical Union and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Don’t miss this spectacular opportunity!

How can you participate? If you, or your astronomy group haven’t registered a program yet – do it! Even just a few hours of setting up a telescope is a great way to participate in this monumental global event celebrating the International Year of Astronomy. Drop a line to your local newspaper or phone your local radio station and ask them to promote your project. Even if you just set your telescope up on the sidewalk for a few hours and treat your neighbors to a view of the Moon or Saturn, you’ll be honoring Galileo and all that he stands for.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and list your “100 Hours of Astronomy” event here, too!

Wishing you clear skies….

The “100 Hours of Astronomy” Banner is courtesy of 100 Hours of Astronomy and the “80 Telescopes Logo” is courtesy of ESA IYA 2009. We thank you!

About 

Tammy is a professional astronomy author, President Emeritus of Warren Rupp Observatory and retired Astronomical League Executive Secretary. She’s received a vast number of astronomy achievement and observing awards, including the Great Lakes Astronomy Achievement Award, RG Wright Service Award and the first woman astronomer to achieve Comet Hunter's Gold Status.

Newt March 30, 2009 at 10:56 PM

Hm, My university (Tel-Aviv) is holding an event this Wednesday, I figured it was then.
Maybe they just like being first.

Feenixx March 31, 2009 at 6:29 AM

Cork, Ireland: Our local observatory at Blackrock Castle are running a Star Wars Movie Marathon from 10 on Friday night until 6 am on Saturday. I guess they are trying to get as many people as possible interested in the rest of their activities.

They also offer inflatable tent style planetariums for rent or hire – you’ll need a room 6 by 6 metres, with a ceiling height of 3.7 metres, they say.
It won’t fit in my apartment…. :(

Tammy Plotner March 31, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Mansfield, Ohio: Warren Rupp Observatory

Please join us beginning at noon on Friday, April 3 through “Sun Day” April 5 to celebrate 100 Hours of Astronomy!

The Observatory will be open continuosly during this time. No matter what the weather brings, we’ll have educational videos, hands-on activities, live demonstrations, meteor watching, lectures, slides shows, planetarium presentations, games, prize give-aways, kid’s activities, solar viewing in both h-alpha and white light – as well as celestial views in dozens of telescopes and the magnificent 31″ Blue Beast!

There is no fee for joining us at any time during our “100 Hours of Astronomy Celebration”. Because we want our visitors to enjoy themselves and get the most out of our astronomy programs, we’ve made arrangements with Hidden Hollow Camp, and you may stay in any of the rustic cabins or in the dormitory style lodges for only $5 per person per night. You must supply your own bedding, towels and food – but hot showers and modern restrooms are available and room for up to 300 guests. You are also welcome to bring your own tent or RV, but the same camping fees also apply. There are restaurants and shopping facilities reasonably nearby.

Why not join us for a weekend you’ll never forget? You can find more information on the observatory and directions at:

Warren Rupp Observatory

Clear skies to our friends around the world!

star-grazer March 31, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Quite a few of us in our Astronomy group will be making the drive up to Lick Observatory, Mt Hamilton -east of San Jose, California.
Besides able to use the 36 inch scope, the view at 4200feet (1280Meters) above near sea level Silicon Valley and Sacramento Valley, on a clear day, one can see to the Sierra Nevadas over 100miles (162KM) as the crow flies-there are fortunately more clear days than +30 years ago before autos had to use much less polluting fuel. Unfortunately, there are no lodging on the summit so the drive down at night can be harrowing as it is quite a winding drive, but worth it!!!!

Tammy Plotner April 1, 2009 at 6:48 AM

thank you, newt, feenixx and star-grazer! i hope te-aviv has clear skies today and i wish i could bring popcorn to ireland. star-grazer? i’ve done mt. hamilton road four times… twice up and twice down – petrified all the way. and between astronomy, altitude and adrenaline it was the most incredible experience of my life! may you also enjoy the magic…

Jon Hanford April 1, 2009 at 11:50 AM

Tammy, I truly would like to revisit the ole’ 31″ at Warren Rupp for this event. It’s been 20 years since I was honored to use the scope for long intervals on many clear, dark nights (this was in the mid-late 70′s). I hope you have an enthusiastic turnout and clear, dark skies if that’s still possible!

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