Royal Observatory Star-gazers Launch Year of Astronomy

posted 25 Feb 2009, 04:20 by South Edinburgh Net Admin
Scientists, amateur astronomers, teachers and outdoor educators are gathering at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh this morning, to launch the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA 2009) in Scotland.

Universities, schools, astronomy societies and environmental groups are hosting a programme of events throughout the country - dark sky observing, public talks, and exhibitions - to celebrate 400 years since Galileo's first observations of the night sky with a telescope. Professor Ian Robson, Director of STFC's UK ATC and the UK Chair for IYA 2009, who is based at the Observatory, says, "The year is a global celebration of astronomy as one of humankind's greatest achievements."

Teachers and pupils from Galashiels Academy in the Scottish Borders and Liberton High School in Edinburgh will be awarded telescopes, as part of the Telescopes for Schools project, by Professor John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland. Suzanne Pritchard, a physics teacher at Galashiels Academy, says: "This is perfect timing for us. With the freedom of the new Curriculum for Excellence, the telescope gives our pupils a fantastic opportunity to have a go at real observing, guided by a real astronomer."

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