International Year of Astronomy

This year has been declared as the International Year of Astronomy. It marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first astronomical observations using a telescope and the publication of Johannes Kepler’s Astronomia Nova (which described the fundamental laws of planetary motion). The year will be marked by events in many countries – including New Zealand.

As a science astronomy is part of a truly global culture. Much of astronomical research occurs within the context of cooperative international ventures. It also interests and inspires people from all countries. We can all be enthralled with the success of recent interplanetary probes to Mars and Saturn. And with the photographs of astronomical objects taken by the Hubble Telescope.

Modern cosmological theories on the origin and evolution of the universe also attract wide interest.

I think it is fitting that 2009 also sees the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary oif the first publication of his great work The origin of Species. Heightened interest in the ideas of biological  evolution and natural selection fits well with current interest in the possibilities of extra-terrestrial life. Recent findings from Mars and the ongoing discovery of extra-solar planets (now over 300) are highly relevant.

The International Year of Astronomy also fits well with current interest in particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider, which will (hopefully) become operational this year. Our understanding of cosmology and the origin of the universe is intimately connected to theoretical physics and the nature of matter. The LHC experiments should improve our knowledge in these areas.

See also:
International Year of Astronomy website
New Zealand activities

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3 responses to “International Year of Astronomy

  1. I should really write something about this. Very interesting convergence of dates…Galileo’s first use of the telescope in 1609, Darwin’s Origin in 1859 and his year of birth 50 years before that. The whole exobiology angle seems like a no brainer…

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  2. Pingback: Where is Galileo? « Open Parachute

  3. Why Stars Are Born
    New Star Coming

    A. From “Stay tuned: New star coming in 1 million years”

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/51454/title/Stay_tuned_New_star_coming_in_1_million_years

    Radio observations of a dark, dusty cloud in a nearby star-forming region have revealed one of the earliest phases of star formation and may reveal new insights on starbirth.

    “Gravity ultimately transforms many such starless, cold cores into protostars, stellar embryos that release tremendous amounts of heat as they pack on more and more material. Eventually, a protostar becomes dense enough to ignite nuclear reactions at its core, a sign that a bona fide star has been born.

    “How these objects condense out of the surrounding gas in the galaxy is something that we have not fully solved,” notes Bergin. “If you want to understand how stars are born, prestellar cores are the objects that will unlock those secrets,”

    B. How they condense is not yet fully solved, but what drives them to condense is suggested at the two following brief notes

    28Dec09 Implications Of E=Total[m(1 + D)]

    http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/184.page#4587

    Cosmic Evolution Simplified

    http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/240/122.page#4427

    Dov Henis
    (Comments From The 22nd Century)

    Like

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