Apr 2, 2009 | 1
Stargazers take note: Today marks the beginning of a four-day celestial celebration called 100 Hours of Astronomy, part of the International Astronomical Union's International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009). The IYA2009 marks the 400th anniversary of Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei turning his telescopes to the skies and beginning a new era of astronomical observation.
A kickoff event at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia today showcased one of Galileo's surviving telescopes. According to the institute, this marks the first time one of the two remaining instruments has left Italy.
An international "star party" is scheduled to take place during which telescopes will be made available to the public at different sites around the globe. Many are amateur telescopes set up in parks or on sidewalks; the 100 Hours of Astronomy Web site has details on many of the planned activities. Most star parties are scheduled to take place on Saturday, but some are planned for other times, such as one beginning this evening in New York City, where Columbia University will set up telescopes in Harlem's Powell Plaza for viewing the moon and Saturn.
Jan 21, 2009 | 5
The International Year of Astronomy (IYA), now under way, marks the 400th anniversary of the year that famed Italian astronomer Galileo began observing and documenting the heavens with increasingly powerful telescopes.
But in a paper in the current Astronomy & Geophysics, University of Oxford historian Allan Chapman argues that a less renowned astronomical pioneer deserves recognition as well. Thomas Harriot, an English mathematician, apparently turned a telescope to the sky even before Galileo did, producing a moon sketch that Chapman says is "the oldest known drawing of a telescopic body, made nearly four months before Galileo's first drawing."
Jan 13, 2009 | 1
For astronomy buffs, the arrival of 2009 brings more than just resolutions to eat better or live more frugally. The fledgling year has been designated the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Astronomical Union.
The IYA, intended to raise the public profile of astronomy, recognizes the 400th anniversary of the year Galileo, the Italian astronomer, began studying the heavens with telescopes of his own making. His observations of 1609 and 1610 showed the moon to be pockmarked rather than smoothly surfaced and unveiled four of Jupiter's moons, among other discoveries.
Now, as reported in the current issue of Physics World, Italian scientists have re-created one of Galileo's scopes in the hope of seeing the universe just as he saw it. (A macabre note to that end: the researchers are apparently seeking to disinter the legendary astronomer to study "the physiology of Galileo's eye.")
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