International Year of Astronomy 2009 - Opening Events

Jean-Luc Dighaye
Picture credits: Giancarlo Tomezzoli

EurAstro is an
Organisational Node of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. As such, we were invited to the Opening Event at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, on 15-16 Jan 2009.

The EurAstro delegation comprised Giancarlo Tomezzoli, myself (doing the "SPoC") and Xavier Jubier.

The event comprised a series of talks by distinguished political leaders and scientists.

Several projects were competing to be declared the official Galileoscope. Here the Japanese "You are Galileo!" project.

Baader Planetarium had one of their new domes on exhibit...

...and one of the IYA2009 Official Products (guess which one!)

The week after, at UNESCO as well, the International Astronomical Union held Symposium 260 "The Rôle of Astronomy in Society and Culture".

The symposium comprised presentations of global activities such as the IYA2009 Cornerstone Projects - here Carolina Ödman (Universe Awareness) with co-organiser David Valls-Gabaud.

Specialised lectures were given in a multi-session fashion, such as mine on pro-am cooperation and Hamid Al-Naimiy's on Arab astronomy.

The symposium further comprised sociocultural events including a visit of historical sundials - here sundials galore at the Lycée Henri-IV.

Selected attendees could even enjoy a concert by organiser and organist Dominique Proust.

A number of national ceremonies took place around the Opening Event. For instance, we were kindly invited to the German Opening Ceremony in Berlin on 20 Jan 2009 by Daniel Fischer (here under the limelight).

Federico Avellán Borgmeyer came along with Giancarlo Tomezzoli as the EurAstro delegation to Berlin.

The event was well-attended. Similar events all across the world amplified the public's interest towards astronomy.