Belated Happy New Year and Happy International Year of Astronomy to you all! That’s right, people all over the world are celebrating the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s observations of the universe with a telescope this year, with the US kickoff happening this week in Long Beach, CA.
How can you celebrate? Well there are many ways to do so, starting from just looking up a the night sky or attending a public night at your local observatory. Some of my favorite IYA projects are those that you don’t even need a telescope for. Subscribe to the 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast! Every day, you will be treated to a new host and a new 10-minute show talking about some cool aspect of astronomy. You can even sign up to produce you’re own! Tune in on April 2nd to hear all about my research project from myself and my team members. If you are on Facebook, check out She’s an Astronomer, a group that is letting girls know that there are lots of female astronomers! (Did I mention that we are all gorgeous and fabulous, too?) And, if you were ever curious about the daily lives of professional astronomers, read Cosmic Diaries, a blog about the inner workings of those in the field. A really great bit of outreach is going on with the GalileoScope which will make astronomical observing available to kids all over the world for the low, low price of $10. Give kids the gift of the sky and donate!
So who’s celebrating the IYA? Party on at Space Disco, SarahAskew, Simostronomy, The Space Writer, Professor Astronomy, and Bad Astronomy for each blogger’s take of the astrofestivities. I’m sure there are more I forgot, sorry! A bunch of astro-bloggers are at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach, so *waves* to you guys and have a beer for me!
And to kick off the New Year, check out the first Carnival of Space of 2009 (#85) at Cheap Astro.
At the moment, I am writing from Boulder, where I am presenting at the URSI meeting at the University of Colorado. This is the meeting of the International Union of Radio Sciences, and includes all kinds of topics, or commissions, such as fields and waves, signals and systems, electromagnetic noise and interference, and, of course, radio astronomy. This, as you may know, is my game ever since I got hooked doing a VLBI project back in 2003. Tomorrow afternoon, my friend and I are presenting on our work with PAPER, the low-frequency array (prototype, so far) to detect hydrogen from the early universe. All throughout the meeting, and certainly once my nerves calm down after presenting, I’ll be taking notes on the cool radio astronomy topics being talked about. Look for summaries and updates here!
Speaking of radio astronomy, check out a great post by the Spacewriter on Radio Pollution, a problem that is just as real to us as spotlights are to optical astronomers.