Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 - International Year of Astronomy

Happy New Year!
Still looks like the same soggy, dark, cloudy crud (no snow right now at least!) as it was last year. It's always kind of a letdown when you look outside the next day and realize that it's just a number in our little human heads that changes and not much else, and we put up a fresh new calendar with 12 more kitty photos. But then again, the big change of 2009 won't come until January 20 when Obama takes the helm and steers us away from doom. I'll finally take the wrapper off my nice new US flag and hang that on the house proudly after waiting 8 years!
A new thing this year is that 2009 has been called the "International Year of Astronomy". This year was chosen since it's the 400th anniversary of the year that Galileo first pointed his telescope at the sky. Galileo's telescope was a pretty crappy thing, worse then even the cheapest Tasco found at Goodwill for $5.99 or the "450x Zoom Superscope" from Wallmart. But somehow he managed to discover moons of Jupiter, rings of Saturn, and craters on the moon before the church caught him and locked him up.
I'm still reading the details of what all this means, but basically, it seems to be a big push to get more people aware and interested in the coolest and most accessible (maybe not here in Seattle) science there is. A few of the web features....
  • Cosmic Diary - a blog site featuring professional scientists.
  • 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast - got an iPod for Christmas? You can sign up for a daily Podcast on astronomy to listen to. Differnet stories up there every day, and these are all put together and recorded by people all over the world. Got something you want to say? You can submit an entry if you like.
  • Of course any organization can't be worth a darn unless they are on social networking sites - Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.
What can you do to participate? Easy, go out at night and look up! Well, seriously....look for a local astronomy club and check out a few of their meetings, hopefully they have star parties (unless you are in Seattle), and other activities. I'll suggest one fine club to start with.
Should be an interesting year!

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