Media alert: a year of stars and 400,000 galaxies

Astronomy Year, Media releases

The Australian Launch of the International Year of Astronomy at Questacon in Canberra

Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Penny Sackett launched the 2009 International of Astronomy on 28 January at Questacon in Canberra.

Highlights of the launch include:

  • Win an hour on one of the world’s leading telescopes: the 8m Gemini telescope in Chile. This competition for Australian High School students will be launched with a live cross to Chile.
  • The search for dark energy – an Australian-driven study of 400,000 galaxies to precisely measure dark energy – introduced by Matthew Colless in a live cross to the Anglo Australian Telescope at Siding Spring.
  • Remarkable high resolution footage of Earthrise as seen from the Moon.
  • An outline of plans for the Year in Australia.

About the Year

2009 is the 400th anniversary of Galileo turning a telescope to the sky. This was the beginning of modern instrumental astronomy and a milestone in the history of evidence-based science. To mark this historical turning point, 2009 has been endorsed as the International Year of Astronomy by both UNESCO and the UN General Assembly.  IYA will be a year-long, community-based celebration of the science, history and cultural impact of astronomy for people throughout the world, and it will draw attention to the night sky as the common cultural heritage of all humanity.

IYA is coordinated globally by the International Astronomical Union, which represents the world’s professional astronomers. In Australia, the National Committee for Astronomy, a committee of the Academy of Science, is responsible for coordinating IYA activities.

International website:
Australian website:
The Gemini competition:< –>