Search form

International Year of Astronomy Activities Update

Mailed 16 March 2009


More than one-fifth of the world population, two-thirds of the United States population and one half of the European Union population are unable to see the stars in our Milky Way galaxy arch across a pristinely dark sky. With half the world's population now living in cities, this problem is only getting worse. Yet you can easily be part of a local solution to a global problem.

Shed light on light pollution! Take a few minutes to monitor your local night sky brightness, place your measurement on-line noting your location, date and time and within a few weeks see a map of light pollution levels worldwide.

Be part of the "GLOBE at Night" citizen-science campaign and make a world of difference! The GLOBE at Night campaign runs March 16-28, 2009. Help preserve our natural heritage for generations to come. Find out more information at the GLOBE at Night web site ( GLOBE at Night is an official International Year of Astronomy Dark Skies Awareness cornerstone project.

To learn more about other IYA2009 Dark Skies Awareness cornerstone projects and the effects of light pollution, visit the links on


The University of Hawaii Institution for Astronomy and Interstellar Studios will be facilitating the exciting new International Year of Astronomy (IYA) educational program, Astronomer in the Classroom, starting next month. We are seeking astronomers that are interested in volunteering 3 hours to this worthy activity.

The Astronomer in the Classroom Program will provide astronomers with the opportunity to interface with school children across North America during the IYA2009. Using Abode Connect, a web conferencing solution, Interstellar Studios will host three 20-minute webcasts every school day in 2009 starting in mid-April.

The webcasts will be conducted at the same time each day, to accommodate national time zone differences and grade levels (3-5, 7-8, 9-12) allowing educators to drop-in when their curriculum and testing schedules allow it. This flexible scheduling will afford convenience to the teachers while avoiding bandwidth congestion.

A schedule of participating astronomers will be posted at with brief descriptions of the lectures allowing both the student and teacher a chance to plan for webcasts that they would like to participate in.

The Adobe Connect web-based interface will allow the astronomer to be viewed and heard over the web, as well as run a PowerPoint presentation live. Students can interact by typing questions to the conference. A Moderator will be provided to help facilitate the follow-up Q & A period.

Graduate students, post docs and active researchers who can give three hours to this worthy cause are invited to volunteer. The program should only require one hour of prep to create the presentation, ½-hour to upload and test the provided webcam and 1 ½-hours to do the three webcasts.

IfA has donated the cost of the Abobe licensing and Interstellar Studios is managing this free program. Volunteers need only provide a PC/Mac with a webcam and microphone. An Internet connection rated DSL or better is required

No special training is needed. Astronomers who are passionate about their research, and enjoy sharing their discoveries and news of their institution, have already met the most important criteria for participation. Participating astronomers are simply asked to keep in mind the grade levels' attention capacity, and to describe the subject matter with grade appropriate vocabulary.

For astronomers whose institutions are expected to perform outreach, and /or participate in the IYA2009, the Astronomer in the Classroom Program offers a convenient, high-impact means to meet those objectives.

Make a difference during the IYA 2009! Inspire a child to look up and ask why!

Contact Information:

Interstellar Studios
11 Ilahee Lane
Chico, CA 95973
Telephone - (530) 343-5635


To unsubscribe visit or email unsubscribe at
To change your address email address at