Tag: "international year of astronomy"

International Year of Astronomy

The IAU designated 2009 the year of astronomy. So this year I'll be trying to post more astronomy related goodness. With tools like the WorldWide Telescope the astronomical community can really try and spark people's curiosity about the universe around them. And hell maybe we could try and make a dent against the seemingly unstoppable encroachment of light pollution while we're at it, the skies should be for everyone to enjoy, regardless of if you live in a remote village in India or central London.

So let's start things off with a gorgeous image of an aurora (aka the northern lights) on Saturn.

International Year of Astronomy video

The International Astronomical Union recently released a trailer for the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Here's the YouTube version:

They've got higher quality versions on their website in a mix of MPEG formats. I've taken the liberty of re-encoding their 1080p video to VC1/WMV, so that people who don't like installing 3rd party software can still watch it (yes ideally WMP should support H.264).

I'll be hosting it here, for a while it weighs in at 86MB, if it gets too much traffic I'll have to pull the download and stick it somewhere else. Please download only (right-click and save as), I doubt the server will be able to stream it.

One last thing, which I am somewhat concerned about, in the trailer itself they show "preserving the world's dark skies", sure I guess its good they mention that issue. But I think if we want to preserve astronomy we need not only preserve the dark sites we already have, we need to wipe out light pollution, hundreds of millions, if not billions of people are missing out on the night sky because they happen to live in cities or towns, or have a poorly designed street light shining over their property. We need to do much more than just preserve the dark locations we have, the damage to the next generation of astronomers and the public judging on some predictions would be immense, some I've seen for the next 15-20 years would practically wipe out astronomy in western Europe, that's a brain drain you can't afford.

Anyway aside from that, enjoy.