Astronomy for all
Using his rudimentary instrument, he discovered that the Moon’s surface was dotted with mountains similar to those on Earth, that Venus orbited the Sun and that Jupiter had its own satellites.
400 years after Galileo’s discoveries, 2009 has been declared the International Year of Astronomy (IYA09) on the initiative of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
“More than 130 nations are taking part in this event,”enthuses Anny Chantal Levasseur-Regourd, who chairs the French steering committee for IYA09.. “Nations with a rich astronomical heritage as well as smaller countries like Cape Verde and Mali, which have no astronomy communities.”
“We want to bring astronomy to all and especially to the visually impaired, people in hospital and all those it doesn’t normally reach,” stresses Anny Chantal Levasseur-Regourd.
“Some lectures will be interpreted in sign language, for example.”
100 hours of observations, 100 lectures
IYA09 video. Credits: UNESCO.
Another flagship IYA09 project in France will be “100 key lectures”.
The lectures will cover a wide range of topics from the History of the Universe by Hubert Reeves to the Latest from Mars by Francis Rocard and Major space astronomy projects by Fabienne Casoli.
There will also be a packed programme of exhibitions, including Journey to the centre of the galaxy at the Palais de la Découverte, Paris, offering visitors a far-reaching tour from Earth to black holes.