A word from the International Astronomical Union:

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has launched 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) under the theme “The Universe, Yours to Discover”. IYA2009 marks the four hundredth anniversary of the first astronomical observation through a telescope by Galileo Galilei. It will be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, with a strong emphasis on education, public engagement and involvement of young people, with events at national, regional, and global levels throughout the whole of 2009. IYA2009 has been endorsed by UNESCO, which recommended it for adoption by the United Nations. It is the intention to propose a resolution to the vote of the UN General Assembly at the end of 2007.

Astronomy is one of the oldest basic sciences. It continues to have a profound impact on our culture and is a powerful expression of the human intellect. Huge progress has been made in the last few decades. One hundred years ago we barely knew of the existence of our own Milky Way. Today we know that many billions of galaxies make up our Universe, and that it originated approximately 13.7 billion years ago. One hundred years ago we had no means to tell whether there were other solar systems in the Universe. Today we know of more than 200 planets around other stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, and we are moving towards an understanding of how life might have first appeared. One hundred years ago we studied the sky using only optical telescopes and photographic plates. Today we observe the Universe from Earth and from space, from radio waves to gamma rays, using cutting edge technology. Media and public interest in astronomy has never been higher, and major discoveries are front page news throughout the world. IYA2009 will meet the public demand for both information and involvement.

There are unique opportunities to participate in the IAU IYA2009 events. This brochure outlines some of the events planned at the global level – thousands of national and regional activities will be offered in addition.

Our Organisational Associates and I wish everyone a happy celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 rich in astronomical experiences!

Dr. Catherine Cesarsky, IAU President

Vision of IAY 2009:

The vision of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) is to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery. All humans should realize the impact of astronomy and basic sciences on our daily lives, and understand better how scientific knowledge can contribute to a more equitable and peaceful society.

The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) will be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, highlighted by the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei. The aim of the Year is to stimulate worldwide interest, especially among young people, in astronomy and science under the central theme “The Universe, Yours to Discover”. IYA2009 events and activities will promote a greater appreciation of the inspirational aspects of astronomy that embody an invaluable shared resource for all nations.

Our Vision for IAY 2009 at the United Arab Emirates:

Here, at the United Arab Emirates, our vision is to help this part of this world, that was once a leader in astronomical research and discoveries, to rediscover its astronomical heritage and to reinstate its place and engage in a new venue that encourages young minds to understand the role of science, in general, and astronomy, in particular, in their daily lives. Several activities will be planned through 2008 until the end of 2009. Please check the “Project List” for a list of planned activities. If you can help as an individual, a school, or an educational institution, please feel free to contact us so that we can work together to have a very successful “International Year of Astronomy 2009”.