The International Year of Astronomy 2009 Secretariat to Close at the End of the Year

20 December 2010

The closure of the IYA2009 Secretariat marks the end of the largest project that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has ever embarked upon.

In July 2007, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) established the IYA2009 Secretariat at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Headquarters in Garching, Germany. The Secretariat’s role was to act as a hub for IYA2009 activities. It coordinated projects from the planning stages through to evaluation, and was a central contact and resource centre for the hundreds of national nodes, international organisations, global projects, the media and the general public. The Secretariat was embedded in ESO’s education and Public Outreach Department, which provided invaluable support and expertise for IYA2009.

The IYA2009 was a huge success, involving 148 countries around the world organising hundreds of thousands of individual activities reaching hundreds of millions of people. Feedback has been extremely positive. The impact of IYA2009 on the scientific literacy of the general public will take time to be assessed, but the first positive results are emerging. In Sweden, a recent public poll demonstrated a noticeable change in the appreciation for astronomy: interest in astronomy increased from 53% in 2008 to 67% in 2009. The IAU believes that the communication of astronomy research throughout 2009 contributed significantly to this.

During 2010, the IYA2009 Secretariat has been supporting the continuation of projects —under the umbrella title, Beyond International Year of Astronomy — and communicating the impact of the Year in publications and at conferences. Recently, the IYA2009 Secretariat has released a 1450-page IYA2009 Final Report and a 24-page Final Report Summary. Links to PDF versions of both of these documents can be found below.

Both the IAU and ESO remain committed to promoting education and public outreach throughout Europe and the world.



Pedro Russo
IYA2009 Global Coordinator
Garching, Germany
Tel.: +49 89 3200 6195
Cellular: +4917661100211

Lars Lindberg Christensen
Head of ESO ePOD/IYA2009 Secretariat Manager/IAU Press Officer
ESO ePOD, Garching, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6761
Cellular: +49-173-3872-621

About the Announcement



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