100 Hours of Astronomy – an event 400 years in the making

Issued by Sue Nelson, Quick Thinking Communications for IYA

One of the major cornerstone events of the UN-designated International Year of Astronomy, 100 Hours of Astronomy, will take place over 2-5 April.

This global event will see millions of people all over the world coming out onto the streets at night to participate in “star parties” or public viewings of the sky through telescopes – just as Galileo did for the first time 400 years ago. Amateur astronomy groups, observatories, arts and scientific institutions around Australia are organising public events for the 100 Hours.

During 2-5 April the Moon will be just over half full and a splendid sight in the early evenings. The planet Saturn will also be well placed for viewing.

As well as public star-watching events, Around the World in 80 Telescopes is one of the featured programs of the 100 Hours of Astronomy weekend. It’s a live webcast from almost 80 professional observatories from Arizona to Shanghai, the Hubble Space Telescope to the Vatican – during a 24-hour period. Astronomers all over the globe will take viewers inside their telescope domes and control rooms at some of the most advanced observatories on and off the planet.

Australian observatories participating in the webcast are the Anglo-Australian Observatory (Coonabarabran, NSW), the Australian Interferometric Gravitational Observatory (Gingin, WA), the Parkes Observatory (NSW), the Mount Pleasant Observatory 26-metre Radio telescope (Hobart, Tasmania) and the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) near Canberra. The schedule for the webcast is posted at www.100hoursofastronomy.org

To find out about other events happening in your area, go to the Australian International Year of Astronomy website www.astronomy2009.org.au and follow the Events Calendar link. The international site 100 Hours of Astronomy www.100hoursofastronomy.org also lists some Australian events.

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is the 400th anniversary of Galileo turning a telescope to the heavens. It is a celebration of the science, history and cultural impact of astronomy, and of humanity’s common heritage of the night sky. IYA is coordinated globally by the International Astronomical Union and endorsed by the United Nations.

Read about individual events at


And for a full event listing visit www.astronomy2009.org.au