UnescoInternational Year of Astronomy IAU



The year 2009 is announced by UNESCO as an International Year of Astronomy (IYA-2009). It is the 400th anniversary of creation and use of the first astronomical telescopes by Galileo in 1609 followed with a number of great discoveries. 137 countries have created national committees (nodes) for IYA-2009 and have made up programs for their activities in 2009. 97 have websites. IYA-2009 really is a world-wide event.



The Opening ceremony of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA-2009) was held in Paris, January 15-16, 2009, under the aegis of the UN, the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the IAU (International Astronomical Union). It was also supported by a number of sponsors including French and international organizations and institutions. About 800 persons participated, among them eminent scientists (including Nobel Prize winners), and also about 100 young students from over 100 countries, participating to the International Year IYA2009.






Single Point of Contact (SPoC):

Dr. Areg Mickaelian, Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO), Phone: +374-10-580656, E-mail: aregmick@aras.am



We plan a number of events in Armenia, both related to an increase of activity of the professional astronomy and the popular astronomy. The program includes:


·         Creation of the Armenian website of the IYA-2009 and regular updates

·         On the initiative of the Byurakan Observatory, creation of an Astronomical Council in Armenia, which will unify all scientific, educational, and popular institutions and organizations related to astronomy (BAO; ArAS; YSU Department of Physics: Chair of General Physics and Astrophysics, Chair of Theoretical Physics, the Yerevan Observatory; specialists related to astrophysics at the YSU Department of Radiophysics; groups working on astrophysical problems at YerPhI; Yerevan Pedagogical University Chair of Astronomy; people related to astronomical Olympiads, amateur astronomers, etc.) and which will coordinate questions of astronomical development, education, and popularization in Armenia

·         French-Armenian astronomical workshop in Byurakan (Sep, 2009)

·         Series of seminars “Astronomy and other fields of science” for students in Byurakan: for philosophers, biologists, chemists, geographers, historians, archaeologists, journalists, and others

·         Astronomical Summer School for YSU students in Byurakan (July, 2009); for 1st and 2nd year students of the YSU Department of Physics aimed at selection of specialty in the future

·         Publication of a DVD “Encyclopaedia of the Armenian astronomy”

·         School program: visits to schools by professional astronomers for popular lectures and visits of pupils in Byurakan

·         Mass media program: newspapers, radio, TV, Internet. An Internet series “Outstanding Armenian astronomers” organized jointly by the ArAS and Armenpress news agency (the official information sponsor of the IYA-2009 in Armenia) is already open at http://www.armenpress.am. At the end of  February, professional and student journalists will gather in Byurakan and the IYA-2009 tasks and details will be presented. One of the intensions is to prepare specialists for the scientific journalism in Armenia

·         Publication program. Publication of astronomical materials, including booklets, sky maps, calendars, postcards, DVDs, etc.

·         Meetings with representatives of science and art and other intellectuals in Byurakan

·         Show programs devoted to astronomy

·         Professional aid to amateur astronomers and creation of an Association of amateur astronomers in Armenia. A gathering of amateur astronomers in Byurakan for observations and lectures

·         Other related activities



  Armenia started its IYA-2009 activities in December 2008, when the
  Armenian program and national committee were created.