400 Years of the Telescope


400 Years of the Telescope

May 2008400 Years of the TelescopeA Journey of Science, Technology and ThoughtProduction Update400 Years of theTelescope welcomesNeil deGrasse Tysonas narratorAstrophysicist and public educator Neil de-Grasse Tyson, PhD, Director of the HaydenPlanetarium at the American Museum ofNatural History in New York City, will narratethe upcoming public television documentary400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey ofScience, Technology and Thought, scheduled forbroadcast in January 2009. Tyson will serveas a member of the advisory board. He is afamiliar face on PBS as the host of NOVAScience Now and several NOVA programs,including Origins, and a frequent guest onnational talk-shows and news programs. Lastyear Tyson was named in Time Magazine’s“Time 100” list as one of the 100 most influentialpeople in the world.The 400 Years of the Telescope project partnersare very pleased to welcome Dr. Tysonas narrator of theprogram. Tyson’svoice will add tothe scientific andhistoric authorityof the production,and his role as“America’s Scientist”will encouragethe public toview the documentary.Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised inNew York City where he was educated inthe public schools through his graduationfrom the Bronx High School of Science. Tysonwent on to earn his BA in Physics fromHarvard and his PhD in Astrophysics fromColumbia.Tyson’s professional research interests areContinued on page 7Celebrating 90 years of observational astronomyat the Dominion Astrophysical ObservatoryOn the evening of 6 May 1918,a remarkably short five daysafter the arrival of the alreadysilvered 1.83m (72”) primarymirror in Victoria, J.S. Plaskettand R.K. Young obtaineda spectrum of the bright starβ Canum Venaticorum, “firstlight” for the new reflectingtelescope on Little Saanich Mountain (now officially Observatory Hill) just north of thecity of Victoria, British Columbia. The telescope, briefly the largest operating telescopein the world, was the result of John Stanley Plaskett’s efforts to convince the Canadiangovernment to provide funding for a major facility to replace the primary astronomicalresearch instrument in Canada at the time, the modest 0.38m (15”) refracting telescope atthe Dominion Observatory in Ottawa. He envisioned a facility capable of doing frontierastrophysics through spectroscopy, rather than positional and time keeping astronomy.The new Dominion Astrophysical Observatory’s (DAO) telescope was equipped with (forContinued on page 4IYA UpdateOrganisational MattersNew Single Pointof Contacts: TheIYA2009 is growing;presently we have110 National Nodes(55 of which haveNational dedicatedweb site) and 19 OrganisationalNodes.A warm welcome toBahrain and to theEAAE - EuropeanContinued on page 6The Instituto Nacionalde Astrofísica, Ópticay Electrónica Preparesfor the IYA 2009By Alberto Carraminana, INAOEThe Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica,Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE), locatedin the small town Tonantzintla, in thesuburbs of the relatively large city ofPuebla, is planning for the IYA2009.During the second half of 2007 INAOEorganized four astronomical evenings:August 2007 four hundred people gottogether in Tonantzintla where fifty telescopeswere prepared for the star party;October 2007 ten telescopes were takento Tlaxcala where seven hundred personsshowed up for the stellar show; the samemonth, during the national week of sciencefive hundred participants enjoyedthe stars at the INAOE facilities; andin December 2007 INAOE organized asimilar show in the beautiful city of Oaxaca.Aside from the star parties, INAOEis seeking local companies interested inconstructing the Galileo-scope for theContinued on page 3

400 Years of the TelescopeMexico prepares to celebrate theInternational Year of AstronomySilvia Torres-PeimbertInstituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoOur country has a population of 110 million inhabitants and thenumber of professional astronomers is very limited, with onlyabout 140.Furthermore,the numberof amateurastronomers,and the numberof telescopes,althoughtheyhave beenincreasing inrecent years,is very limited.Therefore we have a great challenge ahead of us. Neverthelesswe are going forward organizing many IYA2009 activities. Most ofthese activities are planned for Mexico City, but some of them canbe extended to other areas.As in the rest of the world, there are several key projects that weplan to develop during 2009:• To celebrate Galileo and the breakthroughs he achieved• To display the influence that astronomy has had in science,culture and society• To strengthen a scientific perspective in society• To show that astronomy is very exciting• To explain that in Mexico there is also astronomical researchbeing carried out• To expose as many people as possible to observe the sky• To help protect the night sky from light pollution• To try to recover some of the pre-Columbian views of theworldTo accomplish our goals, we must attract the attention of the mediato these activities. To this end, we have organized a group ofactivities. They fall into different categories and each one is in variousstages of development.Inaugural event: Although our plans are not final, we will possiblyinitiate the International Year of Astronomy with a set of “starparties” to take place simultaneously at several archeological sites,as well as a formal ceremony with our local authorities in MexicoCity. The possible sites and dates are still under consideration. Weexpect that this activity will catch the attention of the public.Astronomy Fair: To close the celebrations in Mexico City therewill be an astronomy fair at a University location. The fair willinclude astronomical image exhibits, public talks, children activities,astronomicalvideos, portableplanetary, telescopestands and displaysof the winners ofthe photographyand art contests.This exhibit will bewell attended sincethere is keen interest among the young students to learn moreabout astronomy.In addition we have a set of assorted outreach activities that arebeing organized, many of them to be carried out throughout theyear 2009.Publications: Several books directed to young readers and teachershave been written in preparation for 2009 and are in the printingContinued on page 8Page 2A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought

400 Years of the TelescopeFeatured ObservatoryThe Cuxpala Observatory,University of GuadalajaraThe University of Guadalajara is one of the most prestigiousuniversities in Latin America and its Astronomy group is locatedin the Instituto de Astronomia y Meteorologia, in a pleasantlocation with gardens in the west of the city. The Institutowas founded in 1926 byFather Severo Diaz, andsince then has suppliedthe media and citizensof Guadalajara with informationabout astronomicalevents and dailyweather forecasts. Since1997 there has been astronger impulse towardsforming new researchgroups in the Physics Department, and the Astronomy grouphas been fortified by the hiring of five researchers, Peter Phillips,Simon Kemp, Luis Corral, Silvana Navarro and, this year,Eduardo de la Fuente.The areas of research interests include a strong program onplanetary nebulae, and studies of the structure of galaxies,groups and clusters of galaxies, luminous blue variables andhot stars, and compact regions of star formation. We regularlypublish in international journals and present results at internationalconferences. We have graduated two PhD students in2007 and three MSc students in 2006-2007, and about a dozenundergraduate students have written their Bachelors thesis onan astronomical topic.We have held four astronomical conferences in Guadalajaraduring the last 7 years; three regional meetings, also includingthe professional astronomers in the University of Guanajuatoand the Centro de Radioastronomia y Astrofisica in Morelia,the most recent of which took place in November 2007, and theannual National Astronomy Conference in 2002. We have beenawarded the latter again for 2010.Researchers and studentsof the group regularly carryout observations at theObservatorio AstronomicoNacional in the mountainsat San Pedro Martir,Baja California, on the 2.1and 1.5m telescopes. Wealso have a small observatoryat Cuxpala, an houroutside the city, in which a telescope of 62cm is being installed,while the site is currently used for student classes with a 30cmSchmidt-Cassegrain telescope, due to its relatively dark sky.Plans to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy in 2009include more outreach talks to the public and to schools, moreclasses and visits to the Observatory at Cuxpala and of coursethe planning of the National Astronomy Conference in Guadalajarafor early in 2010.Contact:Dr John Peter Phillipsjpp@astro.iam.udg.mxINAOE continued from page 1region.INAOE has been holding yearly educational and outreach activities,including science workshops for schoolteachers and youngsters.For the IYA2009 we are planning to create a network ofteachers interested in astronomy that will extend the effort ofcommunicating astronomy. This effort is in parallel with the 2009FILEC, Feria Internacional de Lectura, visited at Tonantzintla bysome twenty thousand between the 14 and 17 of February 2008.The 2009 version will be devoted to IYA.Since 2005 INAOE has been organizing the Olimpiada de Astronomía(Mexican Astronomy Olympics), which will be extendedto Central America and the Carribean in 2008 and to the whole ofLatin America for IYA2009.Last, but not least, researchers from INAOE are promoting theexhibit El Universo para que lo Descubras, a joint initiative of IN-AOE with the Instituto Astrofísico de Andalucía. This exhibit,considered within the plans of the International AstronomicalUnion, is made of fifty astronomical images selected by their contentand with extremely large resolution, such that they can beprinted in large formats. These images will be accompanied with atitle, a reference scale indicating size and distance and an explanation,together with a quotation from the literature. The images aredivided in four large themes: Solar system, stars and the interstellarmedium; galaxies; and the structure of the Universe.The purpose of the exhibit is to have these images on display inpublic spaces within cities and towns of Mexico and Spain. A kitwill be produced and presented to local authorities of differenttowns and cities, together with potential sponsors.Contact Alberto Carraminana at alberto@inaoep.mx for more information.Page 3A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought

400 Years of the TelescopeDominion continued from page 1the time) an efficient spectrograph which Plaskett and his staff oftwo astronomers and an observing assistant used to begin an extensiveprogram tomeasure radial velocities(the speedsalong the line-ofsight)of hundredsof hot, massive stars.These were used tocompute orbits anddetermine massesfor hundreds ofbinary stars, confirmtheories aboutthe rotation of theMilky Way galaxyand measure thegalaxy’s size, mass,rotation period andthe location of thesun within it, andestablish general acceptanceof the existenceof the rarefiedinterstellar mediumbetween the stars.John Stanley Plaskett stands in front of the telescopepier while R. K. Young is on the elevatingobserving platform to access the Newtonian focus.Photo 1919, courtesy NRC-HIA.The 1.83m telescope quickly enabled Canadian astronomy toachieve worldwide recognition and made Victoria the focal pointof Canadian astronomical research until 1935 when the 1.88m(74”) telescope of the David Dunlap Observatory at the Universityof Toronto was completed. The latter was the first of manytelescopes built until the 1960’s patterned upon Plaskett’s designfor the DAO 1.83m telescope.Studies of stellar astrophysics and the interstellar medium dominatedthe research carried out in the first 50 years of the DAOand the desire for still higher spectral resolution culminated in theconstruction and first light of the DAO 1.2m (48”) telescope andhigh-resolution coudé spectrograph in March 1962. Until late inthe 1970’s both telescopes were used much of the time by residentstaff which made it possible to develop programs that requiredlarge amounts of observing time extending over years. Today thetelescopes are operated as national facilities open to all qualified researchersthrough a peer-review process. They are scheduled quarterlyand continue to welcome long-term and thesis projects.Upgrades to the telescopes over the last several decades have includedthe installation of a new all-reflective Cassegrain spectrographin 1967, a new low-expansion Cervit 1.83m primary mirrorin 1974, a photoelectric radial-velocity scanner for the 1.2m telescopein 1982, the addition of a modified f/5 Newtonian secondaryto permit imaging programs on the 1.83m telescope in 1991and new encoders and computerized control systems on bothtelescopes. The National Research Council of Canada’s HerzbergInstitute of Astrophysics’ (NRC-HIA) current world-renownedexpertise in astronomical instrument development owes much ofits heritage to such development for the DAO telescopes. Thesefacilities still act as test beds for novel instrument and technologydevelopment by NRC-HIA staff.The elevating observing platform on the domeshutter was removed to enable the telescope to beused safely under computer control. While the lattergreatly improved pointing accuracy and observingefficiency, it involved replacing the mechanicallyingenious and beautiful gravity drive that hadoperated flawlessly for more than 70 years withstepper motors and encoders, some of which arevisible in the colour image. Operational safetywas also greatly improved both because observersno longer need to use of the tall ladders to accessthe eyepiece for manual guiding, and the softwareprotects against crashing into the pier. The historicUT and Sidereal clocks in the 1919 image are nowon display in our visitor centre, The Centre of theUniverse, where with other examples they compriseone of the largest, most valuable collections ofhistoric clocks in Canada. The black covering onthe tube today mitigates against stray light in theera of CCD imaging and spectroscopy. Principlesand experiences gained in designing and operatingthe ultra-stable Cassegrain spectrograph have beensuccessfully carried into instruments designed andbuilt by the Observatory for the Canada-France-Hawaii and Gemini Observatories.Today competitionfor observing timeon both DAO telescopescontinues toexceed the numberof nights available.This is largely aresult of the continuedefforts bya small number ofdedicated NRC-HIA staff membersto enhance the observingcapabilitiesof both telescopes.I m p r o v e m e n t smade to the venerable1.83m over thelast few years haveincluded commissioningof a larger2048 × 4096 pixelCCD camera atthe Newtonian imagingfocus, highreflectivitycoatingson the secondaryand spectrographmirrors, upgradesto the observingcontrol system, installationof muchmore sensitive acquisitionand guidecameras at bothtelescope foci andthe developmentof a new polarimetermodule for theCassegrain spectrograph.Spectra cannow be obtained ofobjects 10,000 times fainter than was possible in Plaskett’s time.Development efforts for the 1.2m telescope have been focused onthe implementation of fully automated observing capabilities forthe telescope. This has been so successful that 50% of the observingtime scheduled on this telescope has been performed in an automatedfashion in recent observing quarters.While observers on both telescopes continue to carry out the 90-Continued on page 6Page 4A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought

400 Years of the Telescope400 Years ofthe Telescopewelcomescomposer MarkSlaterMark Slater was born inReigate, England into a musicalfamily. His father, ChristopherSlater, a professionalconductor and organist, wasa professor at Royal Collegeof Music in London. Markstarted playing the cello and piano at the age of five. His early musicalgifts earned him a scholarship as a chorister in Christ ChurchCathedral, Oxford, followed by a scholarship to one of the oldestschools in the UK, Oakham School. After Oakham School hestudied composition at London College of Music and techniquesfor composing for film at the Ealing Studios (1998), and studiedwith Nick Ingman and Rodney Newton.Mark had his debut as concert pianist in 1998 at the DorkingHalls performing Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Sergei Rachmaninoff.He has worked on several films, documentaries, plays,and concert commissions over the last several years since 1998, includingFlatland the Film (2007, Flatland Productions Inc., LaddEhlinger). He worked briefly with David Arnold on The Musketeer(2001). In 2007 he composed music for the Philips Aurea website.It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with members of theLondon Symphony Orchestra. In 2005 Mark competed and was arunner up in the Gary Garritan Competition.Mark is looking forward to composing the music for the 400 Yearsof the Telescope production. Astrophysics is one of his favoritetopics and, having studied engineering at university, he appreciatesthe achievements in this field over the past 400 years. He will becomposing in his own facility, and visiting one of the major studiosin London to record with some of the UK’s premier musicians, andthen finally at a dubbing session in the US.Mark Andrew Slater (born April 1, 1969) is a British film composer,conductor, cellist and pianist. http://www.markslater.netThe world turns out forWorld Wildlife Fund’sEarth HourOver 400 cities participate in historicglobal event to turn off lights andsupport action on climate changeBy Meg Pearce, World Wildlife FundMillions of people in cities across the U.S.and around the globe turned their lights offfor one hour on Saturday, March 29, 2008to make an unprecedented and highly visibleglobal statement in support for actionon climate change.The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), theworld’s largest conservation organization,which organized and coordinated the inauguralglobal event, reports that an estimated36 million Americans took part in EarthHour. According to a survey by Zogby International,approximately 16 percent of theU.S. adult population reported taking partin Earth Hour and 78 percent were awareof the event, which took place globally inmore than 400 cities in 35 countries acrossall seven continents. During the week leadingup to the event, there were more than6.2 million unique visitors to the www.EarthHourUS.org website.“Earth Hour provided millions of Americanswith a way to demonstrate their commitmentto combating climate change,”said Carter Roberts, President and CEO ofWorld Wildlife Fund. “This strong publicsupport for Earth Hour should serve as acall to action to governments around theworld that it is time to take serious stepsto reduce energy consumption and globalCO2 emissions.”Beyond the four official US flagship citiesof Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and SanFrancisco, WWF estimates that more than100 cities and towns across the nation tookpart in the event, including Miami, Denver,Honolulu, Charlotte, Minneapolis,Pittsburgh and St. Louis and many others.Iconic landmarks in the US going darkincluded the Golden Gate Bridge, SearsTower, Empire State Building, Coca-Colabillboard in Times Square, Bank of AmericaPlaza (Atlanta), US Airways Arena(Phoenix), Alcatraz and others turned offtheir lights to symbolize the need to takeaction on climate change.“Climate change is the most urgent environmentalissue facing our planet today,”said WWF’s Carter Roberts. “To achievethe greenhouse gas reductions necessary toslow the effects of climate change, it willtake a concerted effort from all levels ofsociety—including individuals, businesses,and governments throughout the world.Earth Hour inspires people all around theworld to show their commitment and concern.”World Wildlife Fundis already gearing upto bring even morepeople, cities, and organizationsfor nextyear’s Earth Hour onMarch 28, 2009 from8:30-9:30 pm.More information about Earth Hour canbe found at www.EarthHour.org.Have questions? Contact Earth Hour athttp://www.earthhour.org/contactFor further information on Dark SkiesCornerstone Project events during the InternationalYear of Astronomy 2009, visithttp://astronomy2009.us/darkskies/ forU.S.-based activities and http://www.darkskiesawareness.org for internationally-basedactivities.Page 5A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought

400 Years of the TelescopeIYA continued from page 1 Dominion continued from page 4Association for Astronomy Education.More to come in the following weeks!New IYA2009 Task Groups: Two newIYA2009 Task Groups were established tosupport the IYA2009 programme:Philately: This Special Task Group willcreate and maintain a global philatelicchecklist of postal authority releases generatedin celebration of the IYA2009 and/orastronomy in general. Co-chairs: MichaelHowell (mhowell@mail.accd.edu) & JohnBudd (jwgbudd@earthlink.net)Evaluation: IYA2009 is an excellent opportunityto increase public understandingand awareness of astronomy. All over theworld, people will work to bring the publicall sorts of activities promoting sciencein general and astronomy in particular. Butwill they achieve their objectives? Whatlessons will we learn? Co-Chairs: PedroRusso (prusso@eso.org) & Mariana Barrosa(mbarrosa@eso.org)ResourcesIYA2009 Trailer: The IYA2009 MovieTrailer is now available in several formats.It is an exceptional resource that you canuse for your own national communication,press communication, communication withlay-people, science centres and planetariums.IYA2009 Trailer in different formats:http://www.astronomy2009.org/index.php/?option=com_content&view=article&id=378PowerPoint presentation: “Astronomy”:What is Astronomy? What does Astronomystudy? Why do we need Astronomy?Find out the answers to these questions andmore in the Power Point presentation thatwe prepared for you: http://www.astronomy2009.org/resources-mainmenu-47/power-point-mainmenu-97.htmlNew IYA2009 BrochureWe are polishing the new IYA2009 Brochure.This brochure is much more than asimple popularisation product; it is also aunique resource for your own internal communication,press communication, communicationwith lay-people, project definitionand fund-raising, etc.IYA2009 MeetingsNAM2008This year the UK’s National AstronomicalMeeting had a session dedicated to Educationand Public Outreach in astronomyand space science, both within the UK andoverseas, in the run-up to InternationalYear of Astronomy in 2009. The authorsand abstracts of the talks may be foundon: http://nam2008.qub.ac.uk/abstracts/P29.shtmlMEARIM2008The MEARIM2008 session dedicated toIYA2009 programme, with special emphasison Middle East and Africa, was asuccess. Several countries from the regionreported about their plans, ideas and projectsfor IYA2009. It was extremely usefuldiscussing projects and hearing input, comments,and ideas from the community. TheIYA2009 Developing Astronomy GloballyCornerstone Project will prepare a documentwith the necessary steps to establish aIYA2009 programme that can last beyond2009. Thank you very much to all of you(or representatives) who participated in thisfruitful meeting.Upcoming IYA2009 meetingsAAS 212th & ASP MeetingSt. Louis, USAMay 31-June 5, 2008http://www.astrosociety.org/events/meeting.htmlAPRIM2008Kunming, ChinaAugust 3-6, 2008http://aprim.ynao.ac.cn/JENAM2008Wien, AustriaSeptember 8-12, 2008http://www.univie.ac.at/jenam2008/year tradition of radial velocity and interstellarmedium studies at the DAO, recentobserving programs include research bymany NRC-HIA staff and visiting astronomersin such areas as comets and asteroids,variable stars, spectroscopy and polarimetryof peculiar stars, supernovae, post-asymptoticgiant stars, globular clusters and activegalactic nuclei. More than 40 papers,including 20 refereed manuscripts, basedon data acquired with the telescopes werepublished in 2007.The DAO telescopes clearly still serve animportant and productive role in Canadianastronomy, and continue to provide the opportunityfor astronomers to obtain largeblocks of observing time for major surveys,long-term monitoring programs, and thesisprojects. As was the case in Plaskett’s day,the 1.83m telescope also still serves a veryprominent role in public outreach activities.Recognizing that it is the centerpiece of theNRC-HIA’s Centre of the Universe (CU)it is made available for very popular publictours until 23:00 five nights a week duringthe spring and summer months.In 1993, the Canadian Astronomical Society(CASCA) commemorated the 75thanniversary of first light of the 1.83m telescope,officially renaming it the PlaskettTelescope. During 20-23 May 2008, theUniversity of Victoria and NRC-HIA areagain hosting CASCA’s annual generalmeeting. Approximately 250 astronomerswill attend the conference and many ofthese will enjoy the 90th anniversary of the1.83m telescope during a special tour of theCU and the DAO at the conclusion of themeeting.In 1975 in his review of the DAO from1918-1975, K.O. Wright predicted “theVictoria telescopes will be useful for researchpurposes for twenty years or more.”We have already exceeded these expectationsby almost 15 years and the staff atNRC-HIA look forward to celebrating 100years of original astronomical research withthe Plaskett 1.83m telescope (and morethan 50 with the 1.2m) in 2018!David A. BohlenderNRC-HIAPage 6A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought

400 Years of the Telescope400 Years of theTelescope welcomeseditor KimberlyGenerous WhiteKimberly’s passionfor editing beganin her Connecticuthigh school’s televisionproductiondepartment. Shewent on to earn aBachelor of FineArts in Film andAnimation Productionfrom RochesterInstitute of Technology in upstate New Yorkwith a concentration in advanced Avid editingtechniques. Since moving to Los Angeles,she has edited four independent feature filmsfeaturing talents such as Andy Griffith, PaulSorvino, and Tony Curtis. In addition she hasedited show content for various programs airingon PBS’s NOVA, The History Channel,NBC, G4 and promotional material for FOXSearchlight.Planetarium NewsThe International Planetarium Societywill hold its 19th conference in Chicagofrom 27 June to 2 July 2008 with thetheme of Explore the Edge!The conference will bring together morethan 500 planetarium professionals fromaround the world to explore the newesttechnology and content for the dome environment.Astronomy education techniquesand planetarium production arejust some of the subjects to be coveredat the conference. This year the keynotespeaker is Dr. Edward Kolb of Fermilab.The conference venues are the Hyatt RegencyMcCormick Place and the historicAdler Planetarium.A special session on Astronomy of IndigenousPeoples will discuss issues surroundingindigenous sky knowledge, includinghow it is recovered and preserved,and how indigenous groups would likeAs one of the youngest members of the MotionPicture Editor’s Guild under the PictureEditor classification, she eagerly continues towork on a variety of new projects.Kimberly’s current project, the 400 Years of theTelescope documentary, provides her with theopportunity to contribute her editing talentsto a production that will be viewed both nationallyand internationally in twelve foreignlanguages during the International Year ofAstronomy 2009. With a personal interest inscience, Kimberly is excited to be a part of thefast approaching 2009 global celebration ofastronomy. Especially appealing to her is theopportunity to reach and inspire a new audienceto take an interest in astronomy throughthe production. She believes that 400 Years ofthe Telescope is a timely project, and that it isappropriate for humanity to pause and examinewhere they have come from with telescopetechnology, and also consider where they aregoing with advances in telescope technology.Kimberly Generous White brings excellentediting skills, combined with a young, freshapproach to her work, and the productionteam is glad to have her aboard.their astronomy history to be acknowledged.New and innovative public educationthat utilizes planetariums will beexplored, along with methods to insurequality in planetarium programming.The IPS 2008 Conference will addressissues related to identifying, developing,and implementing the practices that willenable the planetarium of tomorrow tostrengthen its role as an important scientificand cultural medium. The finaleto the conference will be a special banquetcruise aboard the Spirit of Chicago,which will showcase the magnificentChicago skyline.The 400 Years of the Telescope team willbe in attendance at the 19th IPS Conference,and they look forward to seeingyou there! Visit www.ips-planetarium.com for more information.Shawn LaatschPlanetarium Manager & IPS TreasurerImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiiwww.imiloahawaii.orgTyson continued from page 1broad, but include star formation, explodingstars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of ourMilky Way. In 2001, Tyson was appointedby President Bush to serve on a 12-membercommission that studied the Future of the USAerospace Industry. In 2004, Tyson was onceagain appointed by President Bush to serveon a 9-member commission on the Implementationof the United States Space ExplorationPolicy, dubbed the Moon, Mars, andBeyond commission. And in 2006, the headof NASA appointed Tyson to serve on itsprestigious Advisory Council, which will helpguide NASA through its perennial need to fitits ambitious vision into its restricted budget.In addition to dozens of professional publications,Dr. Tyson has written, and continues towrite for the public. He is a monthly essayistfor Natural History magazine under the titleUniverse. And among Tyson’s eight books ishis memoir The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventuresof an Urban Astrophysicist; and Origins:Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, cowrittenwith 400 Years of the Telescope writer,Donald Goldsmith. Origins is the companionbook to the PBS-NOVA 4-part mini-seriesOrigins, in which Tyson serves as on-camerahost.Tyson appears as the on-camera host of PBS-NOVA’s spinofff program NOVA ScienceNow,which is an accessible look at the frontier ofall the science that shapes the understandingof our place in the universe. Tyson’s latest bookis the playful and informative Death By BlackHole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, which wasa New York Times bestseller.Tyson is the recipient of nine honorary doctoratesand the NASA Distinguished PublicService Medal. His contributions to thepublic appreciation of the cosmos have beenrecognized by the International AstronomicalUnion in their official naming of asteroid“13123 Tyson”.Neil deGrasse Tyson is the first occupant of theFrederick P. Rose Directorship of the HaydenPlanetarium. He lives in New York City withhis wife and two children.http://research.amnh.org/~tyson/Page 7A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought

400 Years of the TelescopeMexico continued from page 2stage. Also there are a suite of local scientificjournals where we have already securedspace for dedicated astronomical issues.Webpage: We have already set up ourhomepage (http://www.astronomia2009.org.mx) to promote our activities throughoutthe year. Among other items we willinclude book reviews for youngsters andschoolteachers on astronomy and Galileo.Radio capsules: Our plan is to tape a setof 2 minute spots on astronomy to be aireddaily during 2009. Some segments will describeinteresting objects in each constellation.TV programs: We are seeking to producea set of 12 astronomy programs one-hourlong, each one to be broadcast every month.This project is in its initial stages, and itscompletion is dependent upon securingfunding.Public conferences: In collaboration withthe Mexican Academy of Science we willinvite several distinguished foreign astronomersto deliver public talks throughout2009 (with simultaneous translation). Inaddition, there will be a calendar of astronomicaltalks that will cover all topics. Allwill be webcast for extended viewing.Astronomical film festivals: A series ofastronomical films will be shown at variousuniversities and cultural movie houses. Aselect few showings will be followed by aneducator or astronomer-led discussion ofthe scientific issue under consideration.Contests: (a) Astronomical photographywith several themes of interest. The winnerimages will be displayed at the fair. (b)Science fiction stories. This is directed toyoungsters. The winner stories will be publishedin the university science popularizationjournals. (c) Art. This is directed tochildren and youngsters. The winner pieceswill be displayed at the fair.Star parties: Several “astronomical nights”are planned with the collaboration of amateurastronomers.Astronomical exhibits: We plan to presentthe set of astronomical images, whichare being collected by G. Tenorio-Tagleand E. Pérez. These are beautiful pictures,and will be displayed with the astronomicaldescription of the object, and a related literaryquote. The set of images will be printedin large format and displayed in city parks.This is quite possible in Mexico City, andwill probably also take place in other citiesin the country.Postal stamp and lottery ticket: We are inthe process of establishing contact with thecorresponding authority to print out an astronomicaltheme.Some of these planned IYA2009 activitiesform part of our existing outreach programs.However, the plan is to increase theintensity and scope of activities, as well asto diversify our programs.In preparation for this outburst of 2009activity, we have started to generate excitementand anticipation through our astronomicalphotography contest and a wellpublicizedstar party during the February20 lunar eclipse.Lunar eclipse – February 20, 2008The setting was magnificent: the mainsquare in Mexico City. Astronomical institutions,museums and amateur astronomersjoined forces to prepare for this event. Onehundred telescopes were set up, each onewith two expert observers to show a longqueue of people the sights through theirinstrument. Although the lines were long,those in the queue were patient, and wereentertained by hosts, who were mingledwith the crowd and sharing sky observations,while handing out a leaflet with informationabout the eclipse and the constellations.Earlier in the afternoon, a public conferenceon Galileo was delivered and a groupof artists performed on the band stand.There were large screens for the people tosee the performances and astronomical images.Booths were installed for activitieswith the children, workshops on telescopesand conversations with astronomers. A setof posters with explanations of the lunareclipse and Saturn were placed in the fashionof a science exhibit. The attendance atmaximum was estimated to be 20,000, andaltogether the total attendance was about50,000. We estimate that 5,000 peopleviewed the eclipse through a telescope atthe Main Square! In order to organize suchan event, teamwork was essential. The participationof amateurs was fundamental;they contributed not only with their telescopes,but also with their enthusiasm. Thiswas our first experience with such a largescaleevent, and we are happy to report thatit was a great success.400 Years of theTelescope NewsletterVolume 1 Issue 4May 2008400 Years of the Telescope newsletteris a production of Interstellar Studios, adigital media production company witha focus on astronomical, educationaland cultural programming. All contentsare copyright of Interstellar Studios.Editorial TeamExecutive ProducerKris KoenigEditorsJennifer OmanAnita IngraoDesign & ProductionMichael MorettiContactjennifer@interstellarstudios.comInterstellar Studios11 Ilahee LaneChico, California 95973(530) 343 5635Current Production“400 Years of the Telescope: A journeyof science, technology and thought”www.400years.orgPlease click here to subscribe.Page 8A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines