The International Year of Astronomy Travel

The International Year of Astronomy Travel

In case you somehow missed it, 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy. For me, that has translated into the International Year of Astronomy Travel. According to my American Advantage account, I’ve earned 71,616 qualifying miles for this year to date. Now admittedly, that included bonus miles, minimum mile increases, and two for one miles, so my actual miles traveled is somewhat less, but as I’ve visited Long Beach, Eastern Illinois, Oxford, Kansas City, New York, Ontario (California), Pasadena, Oxford (again), Minneapolis, Seattle, Shanghai, Cheju, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Rio de Janeiro, and Greenwich, well, let’s just say it’s time to buy a new suitcase. And the travel isn’t over! I have two more big trips this month, and...

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IYA@IAU: World Reports

(Can’t find internet access that will allow me to upload photos – they will come) As an IYA organizer, one of my greatest delights has been randomly finding IYA logos in random places. My first moment of glee was at the National Maritime Museum in London where their gates were govered in IYA logos, and then I had a thrill to find IYA in Japan at a Solar Eclipse festival. Here in the US, my sightings (outside of events I was part of), have been few and far between. Okay, here in the US, my sightings have actually been non-existent, but then I don’t get out much. Nonetheless, IYA has a cool logo and seeing all the places that people have grown giant programs bearing the logo has been really inspiring. In Mexico City, one well publicized public...

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Building a Portal to the Universe

Building a Portal to the Universe

As those of you who have been reading for a while probably know, I am one of the worker bees behind the International Year of Astronomy. While I’m going to continue to teach next year, I’m taking a reduced course load so I can focus on attacking the world with astronomy content one website at a time. One of the projects I’m involved in is the Portal to the Universe. This new website, slated to launch in beta on December 1, 2008, seeks to be a one stop shop for finding out what’s new and what’s being talked about in astronomy. It is not going to produce the content, however. It’s going to help distribute other people’s (your?) content in new (and hopefully more effective) ways. Specifically, we’re going to do 4...

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2008, The Year of the Potato

2008, The Year of the Potato

Up until a moment ago, my husband and I were laying in bed listening to the BBC. This all ended when they went into a story on the International Year of the Potato and he went into a laughing fit at the silliness of the Year of the Potato concept. (Image Credit: Ecuador, J-L.Gonterre) All I could think was, somewhere in the world, there is a team of people who worked to plan the International Year of the Potato just as hard as the team working to plan the 2009 Year of Astronomy. And somewhere in 2009, some husband is going to hear something about IYA2009 on the BBC and will die laughing. My husband was just clobbered with a pillow. May that future laughing man share my husband’s fate! Sure, potatoes don’t have the cool imagery and ability to inspire...

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AAS Day 2: Google Sky, Google Earth, and the International Year of Astronomy

I have been trying to find the time to learn how to use Google Sky for astronomy outreach for the last year. My time is limited, and I have to admit that my early attempts were met with very ugly implementations, and I’ve been dieing to see what others are doing and (more importantly) to learn how they are doing it. Today, Google is sponsoring workshop in the IYA meeting-within-a-meeting at the AAS meeting. The first thing I learned is Google actually has folks assigned to nurture non-profits to help them plug in. http://www.google.com/educators/geo . They have help, tutorials, ideas and more pre-prepared to help us build our content into virtual worlds. Their latest and greatet includes: weather, sunlight skins, 3D Buildinsg/SketchUp, a Swoop feature that...

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