06Apr2012

World Celebrates Global Astronomy Month 2012

Global Astronomy Month returns this April with its month-long celebration of astronomy. This third edition of the annual Astronomers Without Borders event has over 30 programs scheduled with something for just about everybody: public skywatching parties with telescopes large and small, their proud owners showing the Moon and planet to crowds at night; Sun-viewing gatherings around filtered telescopes during the day; public talks about astronomy; hands-on telescope demonstrations; and much more. See a sampling of programs offered across the globe in this trailer.

Global Astronomy Month is a direct descendant of 100 Hours of Astronomy, the historic Cornerstone Project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 that captured the world’s attention in early April of that year. The first Global Astronomy Month in 2010 sought to reignite the spirit of that unprecedented event. In 2011, enthusiasts in more than 140 countries took part, coming together in the spirit of Astronomy Without Border’s slogan, One People, One Sky.

Public star parties are always the most popular way to share our sky with others, and there are plenty of programs encouraging them. The month begins on Sunday with SunDay, putting our closest star in focus, and Lunar Week, watching the waxing Moon as it grows to full on Saturday the 7th.

The Global Star Party on April 28th is the granddaddy of them all, with amateur astronomers coming out worldwide as darkness sweeps around the Earth. Everyone is invited to share their observations through blogs and social media and see what their international compatriots are doing.

Thirty Nights of StarPeace takes connectivity even further, bringing together star parties in similar longitudes. Every 3 nights, countries in one of 10 longitude segments will have the chance to organize observing events that transcend their borders. This moving slice of star parties will travel westward from the International Dateline throughout the month until it circles the globe.

A family getting ready to enjoy the wonders of the night sky.

Global Astronomy Month 2012 also includes six online observing events hosted by Dr. Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope project, run by the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy.

The online Messier Marathon again opens the month, and a search for new asteroids and the chance to name a new object closes it with “Write Your Name in the Sky.” All sessions include a chat box for Q&A with Masi, and participants from around the world share their thoughts as well. There are more online programs of various types, both live and recorded.

Global Astronomy Month 2012 is an important time to teach the public about the importance of preserving our night sky, and several programs promote dark skies awareness. Some efforts seek to get out information, such as the 365 Days of Astronomy podcasts, and others focus on hands-on activities like Globe at Night. The International Earth and Sky Photo Contest organized by The World at Night returns, too, looking for the best wide-field photographs of Earth and sky that show either the beauty of a dark sky or the problem of light pollution.

Last year’s programs highlighting astronomy and the arts were very popular, so this year boasts an expanded offering. The planned live performances include the Cosmic Concert, featuring original music by composer and performer Giovanni Renzo against a backdrop of images from The World at Night. OPTICKS also returns with images reflected off the Moon and retrieved by radio dishes. There are video presentations with Q&A, as well as an astropoetry contest and various classroom activities.

Setting up the telescopes

Setting up the telescopes (Photo credit: nudenut)

Don’t forget to check out the Global Astronomy Month Blog, which will present 30 different perspectives on astronomy from around the world with a new blogger each day throughout April.

From amateurs to astronauts, from local activists to famous bloggers, from countries and cultures around the world, the blog will cover topics as diverse as the world of astronomers who take part.

Whether you take an active role in organizing an event or just join in the fun, Global Astronomy Month 2012 has a program you’ll want to be a part of. Connecting us all through our common passion for astronomy — the mission of Astronomers Without Borders — is the ultimate goal.

Astronomy is something we can share across all cultures, even at a distance, and learn about each other in the process. Wherever we are, we share the same sky.  Source: Sky and Telescope

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Beyond IYA2009 News and Events

1. GAM is for Everyone: Astronomy Resources for People with Disabilities: The sky belongs to everyone. The GAM 2012 People with Disabilities Working Group has created a list of resources to help you share the sky with the sight impaired. You’ll be surprised how much can be done. There are materials to get you started with your own star party for the sight impaired as others have been doing. www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/gam2012-resources/links.html#People%20With%20Disabilities

2. Get Ready for the Global Star Party: April 28 sees GAM’s ultimate observing event: the Global Star Party.  Plan a star party to share the sky with the public and register it on the GAM 2012 website. Or find a star party to attend. Clubs will be holding events in countries around the world, showing how religious, national, cultural and political barriers fade into the darkness when we observe together, even at a distance. We are One People, One Sky. www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/gam2012-programs/program-schedule/939.html

3. GAM 2012 Partners with NASA and Astronomical Society of the Pacific: AWB is partnering with NASA’s Night Sky Network and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for GAM 2012 to promote and facilitate observing programs among more than 350 astronomy clubs across the United States. The Night Sky Network is a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing the science, technology, and inspiration of NASA’s missions to the general public.  Its members share their time and telescopes to provide unique astronomy experiences at science museums, observatories, classrooms, and under the real night sky.

www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/gam2012-news/latest-news/1080-awb-partners-with-nasa-nsn-a-asp.html

4. Save the Night Sky! Join the worldwide dark skies awareness programs and activities during GAM and help preserve the night sky. Events include podcasts, day-long activities for children and adults, campaigns that measure light pollution, a photo contest, and a year-round program to preserve dark-sky observing sites. Partners include the US National Optical Astronomical Observatory, Globe at Night, the International Dark-sky Association, International Dark Sky Week, Starlight Initiative, and OneStar at a Time.

www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/gam2012-programs/dark-skies-awareness.html

5. The Classroom Astronomer Magazine presents a To Teach The Stars Workshop and Annular Eclipse Tour, May 18-21, 2012

Workshop On The Edge – A Ring of Fire at the Valley of Fire

 Date: May 18-21, 2012.  Location: La Quinta North Airport Hotel and Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV, the Planetarium at the College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, and near the Valley of Fire, NV.  Saturday workshop topics will include observing the Sun, astronomy pedagogy, and eclipse observing, aimed at teachers, informal or formal, any age level.  Sunday will include a bus tour thru the Valley of Fire geological zone at the southern limit of annularity, the eclipse viewing itself, a BBQ and night sky workshops.  Why on the edge of annularity?  Because we hope to view some eclipse effects longer, using observations to answer such questions as “Do shadow bands change direction as the solar crescent moves around the Moon’s edge?” Workshop leaders will include:  Dr. Larry Krumenaker, Publisher, The Classroom Astronomer magazine, Dr. Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State University. and others.

For more info and registration, go to http://workshops.toteachthestars.net/VFTour.html .

6. Submit your Astropoetry to Olympicosmopoetriada - The Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy (SARM) brings us a new mulitimensional program of astropoetry. Learn how to become part of this new initiative. www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/gam2012-programs/program-schedule/1030.html

7. Do you work with children or school students? 

Here’s an excellent opportunity — We are partnering with NASA MicroObservatory for the second consecutive year to bring an astrophotography contest for Global Astronomy Month 2012 (GAM2012). Participants get to use the MicroObservatory telescopes, process the images and submit to win!

More info: http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/gam2012-programs/program-schedule/1054.html

GAM 2012: http://www.gam-awb.org Spread the word!

8. Purchase and donate safe solar viewing glasses for the Venus transit and eclipses: Astronomers Without Borders is selling safe solar viewing glasses to support its global astronomy programs.  Glasses can also be purchased for donation to clubs and schools in developing countries.  The Venus transit will be seen by millions.  You can help other astronomers and educators while supporting year-round global astronomy programs through your purchases and donations. http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/support-awb/awb-merchandise.html If you don’t see the donation option on the order page, just mention your intention in the Note field.  Or contact us directly, as well as for questions, at http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/general-inquiries.html

 

9.  JOIN THE 2012 HUBBLE’S HIDDEN TREASURES COMPETITION

Over two decades in orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope has made a huge number of observations.  Every week, we publish new images on the ESA/Hubble website.
But hidden in Hubble’s huge data archives are still some truly breathtaking images that have never been seen in public.  We call them Hubble’s Hidden Treasures — and we’re looking for your help to bring them to light.

We’re inviting the public into Hubble’s vast science archive to dig out the best unseen Hubble images.  Find a great dataset in the Hubble Legacy Archive (http://hla.stsci.edu/), adjust the contrast and colors using the simple online tools and submit to our Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Contest Flickr group (http://www.flickr.com/groups/hubblehiddentreasures), and you could win an iPod Touch in our Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Competition.

For an extra challenge, why not try using the same software that the professionals use to turn the Hubble data into breath-taking images? Download the data from the Hubble Legacy Archive (http://hla.stsci.edu/), process using powerful open-source software such as the ESO/ESA/NASA FITS Liberator (http://www.spacetelescope.org/projects/fits_liberator/) and make a beautiful image for our Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Image Processing Contest Flickr group ( http://www.flickr.com/groups/hubblehiddentreasures_advanced).  And you’ll be in with a chance to win an iPad. Both parts of the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures competition close on 31 May 2012.

The best datasets that you identify will also be featured as future pictures of the week and photo releases on spacetelescope.org. More information, watch Hubblecast 53, and visit the Hidden Treasures webpage: