The End of IYA (Part 2)

The End of IYA (Part 2)

Sometimes it takes a bit longer than planned to get around to writing than expected. The second day of the IYA Closing ceremonies was filled with talks on history & vision – Who was Galileo and what was the real relationship between him and the Chrutch? How do we move forward to celebrate astronomy in years that aren’t 400 year anniversaries? How do we build on what we’ve done so that great new projects aren’t lost? And where does science go tomorrow?- Presented talks included talks from politicians, historians, and scientists. Want to see what we saw? Full video coverage is available here. In the past 400 years since Galileo turned a telescope toward the sky and reported what he was seeing, the technology has come a long ways. From...

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The End of IYA (Part 1)

The End of IYA (Part 1)

It is January 10, 2010, and IYA is coming to a close. I’m am currently sitting in the Palazzo Bo in Padau (Padova), Italy. I am here for the IYA2009 closing ceremony. It has been a long journey getting here. The idea of the IYA2009 originated form Franco Pacini in 2002, and in 2003, at the Sydney General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a resolution was adopted to make 2009 our year to share astronomy with the world. It was to be fit within the UN Millennium goals, and we were to help educate the world in science. In 2005, our UNESCO endorsed our cause, and at the 2006 Prague General Assembly meeting of the IAU, in between sessions stripping Pluto of its Planethood, a group of determined individuals set about defining what the IYA2009...

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Charlie Bolden’s NASA Policy Talk: First Coverage

Charlie Bolden’s NASA Policy Talk: First Coverage

NASA Director Charlie Bolden is a grandfather (he talks about his grand kids all the time), an astronaut, a communicator who brings laughter, and a person willing to admit with humility that he’s not the smartest person in the room, and to admit with pride that he likes working with all the smart -icists in the room. As he speaks, he is looking forward to a great year of new launches and new science. […]

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Kepler First Science

Kepler First Science

This is the morning of Kepler. I’m currently sitting in a the Marriot Ballroom watching the speaker, William J Borucki (NASA/Ames) gear up to announcing planets. This amazing mission has been imaging the same rich stellar field over and over looking for planetary transits: the slight dimming of light from a star that comes from an orbiting planet passing between us and that distance star. After 20 minutes of gearing up, he announced 5 new planets with orbital periods between 3.2 and 4.9 days orbiting stars larger than the sun at orbital distances 4.31 to 18.8 times the size of the Earth’s orbit. Because the stars are bigger than the Sun (by an amount not shown in the table), this is hard to quantify – they could be very near the stellar...

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