EurAstro Report on the IYA2009 Closing Ceremony

Jean-Luc Dighaye

After a stopover in Verona (here the Arena with heavy rain and melting snow), Dr Giancarlo Tomezzoli and myself made for Padua, where he had studied astronomy ...and where the IYA2009 Closing Ceremony was to take place.

All kinds of SPoC's and distinguished astronomers gathered at the University's prestigious Aula Magna to hear about the major achievements of the IYA2009. One of the finest speakers was our EurAstro Overseas Chairman Cláudio Moisés Paulo, the SPoC of Mozambique.

Galileo Galilei, who had lectured at the very same place some four hundred years ago, kept staring at us. With maestria, Dr Leopoldo Benacchio and his team organised not only the scientific part of the ceremony (with an Epicurean buffet at breaks), but also a brilliant reception among - guess what - Galileo's exhibits, followed by a catchy concert.

Galileo's memories were seen everywhere in town - in bookstores, railway stations, observatories ...and even under pigeons!

Giancarlo's didactic tour of Padua of course started by a tribute to Galileo, followed by astronomical highlights such as the historical Observatory (see planet Jupiter in the left part of the picture taken at dusk; at the nearby Prato della Valle, amateur astronomers and crowds of passersby looked at setting Jupiter and other Galilean objects). We visited the famous Scrovegni Chapel with Giotto's depiction of what is presumably Halley's comet. One of us surreptitiously snapped it...

On Sunday, back at the Ceremony, at holy service time, not less than the Vatican's delegate preached up on Galileo, and eventually IAU President Robert Williams had a chat with the "father" of the IYA2009 Franco Pacini.

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