The International Year of Astronomy

Thanks to the IAU's organizing efforts, there are many opportunities to join in the fun of IYA.

A visit to www.astronomy2009.org is a good place to start your 2009 voyage of discovery and see what's available to you, free, online. There will be links to ideas that will inspire you to turn your gaze heavenward.

If you're new to astronomy, this is the year to get started in a rewarding hobby that will challenge your intellect as well as your power of observation-to say nothing about the sense of awe at the vastness of the universe.

You'll find a list of worldwide astronomy clubs at www.astronomyclubs.com. Several Vermont-based clubs are listed on this website. You may discover like-minded enthusiasts down the road from you!

Science teachers can stimulate student interest in astronomy this year through various classroom activities; there are many resources to take advantage of. You can contact yours truly, the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador in Vermont, to bring fun-and free-presentations about astronomy and space travel to the classroom. You can also visit the IAU's IYA website mentioned earlier for more ideas about astronomy activities for yourself, school or community.

The universe is yours to discover in 2009. Ad astra!

Lou Varricchio, M.S.c., is a former NASA science writer. He is a member of the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador program in Vermont. You can e-mail him at lou.varricchio@myfairpoint.net.

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