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New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics
FIGURE 4.5 President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama take part in the “star party” on the White House lawn in October 2009. SOURCE: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images.
The recently concluded International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009, initiated by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO, and endorsed by the United Nations and the U.S. Congress, was a global effort involving nearly 150 countries participating in astronomy activities on all scales, from local to international. The U.S. effort involved tens of thousands of people. The year-long enterprise had several focus projects, including the production and distribution of well over 100,000 telescopes designed to reproduce the seeing power that Galileo had when he first turned his telescope skyward;3 more than 1,000 public observing events in 70 countries; and the generation of special IYA websites by NASA and similar international organizations. The U.S. effort culminated on October 7, 2009, when President Obama hosted a star party for local school children on the White House lawn (Figure 4.5).
of similar citizen science projects to analyze imaging from space missions to the Moon and Mars, and the model is being duplicated in other fields of science.
These telescopes are known as Galileoscopes; 110,000 were produced and delivered in 2009, and 70,000 more were ordered for delivery scheduled in the first quarter of 2010.