March 27, 2009
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) Cornerstone project, "100 Hours of Astronomy," is on track to be the largest single science public outreach event. More than 1,500 events have been registered in more than 130 countries, and this number is increasing every day. 100 Hours of Astronomy (100HA) is a truly global project - an event on a scale never attempted before - with more than one million people expected to participate.
100HA is a worldwide celebration composed of a range of activities aimed at involving the public. 100HA will take place over 4 days and nights, from April 2-5, 2009. During this period, people from around the globe will share the experience and wonders of observing the sky. For many, it will be their first glimpse of the marvels of the heavens through a telescope. For others, it is the perfect opportunity to impart their knowledge and excitement, helping unveil the cosmos to fresh and eager eyes.
A live 24-hour video webcast called "Around the World in 80 Telescopes" will take place from April 3 at 5:00 a.m. EDT to April 4 at 5:00 a.m. EDT, following day and night around the globe to some of the most advanced observatories on and off the planet. Viewers can find out what is happening at a research observatory in their home country or on the other side of the planet, send in questions and messages, see new images from the cosmos, and discover what astronomers are doing right now.
Participating telescopes include the Hawaii-based telescopes Gemini North and Keck, the Anglo-Australian Telescope, telescopes in the Canary Islands, the Southern African Large Telescope, Chilean observatories such as the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope, space-based telescopes such as the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, European Space Agency's XMM-Newton and Integral, and many more.
In fact, "Around the World in 80 Telescopes" will take viewers to every continent, including Antarctica. The webcast will be hosted at ESO's headquarters in Munich, Germany, with live streaming by Ustream.tv. Anyone with a web browser supporting Flash will be able to follow the show via the 100HA website
and be a part of the project. TV stations, web portals, and science centers can also use the high quality feed, and the video player can be embedded on websites.
The featured program "Global Star Party," commencing at sunset April 4, is set to be an all-encompassing event of extraordinary scope. Amateur astronomers, clubs, and other groups will be setting up telescopes in public places to allow as many people as possible to look at the heavens. Traditional star-party locations such as busy streets and shopping centers will be covered, as well as less conventional places including rest homes and military bases. Enthusiasts have been working hard to ensure that an incredible number of people will be able to look through a telescope during the Global Star Party.
These two headline initiatives are being supported by many more activities like the "Sun Day," April 5, and "100 Hour of Astronomy Junior" and several "100 Hours of Astronomy opening events" around the world.
All this is in addition to the thousands of local events being planned by science facilities and astronomy enthusiasts around the world, including telescope observing sessions, exhibitions, special shows and more.
100HA is a venture of breathtaking scope that will involve people from all walks of life around the globe. Get involved, and be part of a record-breaking worldwide event.