International Year of Astronomy


Logo of the International Year of AstronomyThe International Astronomical Union (IAU) launched 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) under the theme The Universe, Yours to Discover. IYA2009 marked the 400th anniversary of the first astronomical observation through a telescope by Galileo Galilei.


It was a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, with a strong emphasis on education, public engagement and the involvement of young people, with events at national, regional and global levels throughout the whole of 2009. UNESCO endorsed the IYA2009 and the United Nations proclaimed the year 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy on 20 December 2007.


Poster for Weekend of the Stars, Amsterdam 4-5 April 2009Astronomy is one of the oldest fundamental sciences. It continues to make a profound impact on our culture and is a powerful expression of the human intellect. Huge progress has been made in the last few decades. One hundred years ago we barely knew of the existence of our own Milky Way. Today we know that many billions of galaxies make up our Universe and that it originated approximately 13.7 billion years ago.


One hundred years ago we had no means of knowing whether there were other solar systems in the Universe. Today we know of more than 200 planets around other stars in our galaxy and we are moving towards an understanding of how life might have first appeared. One hundred years ago we studied the sky using only optical telescopes and photographic plates. Today we observe the Universe from Earth and from space, from radio waves to gamma rays, using cutting edge technology. Media and public interest in astronomy have never been higher and major discoveries are front-page news throughout the world. The IYA2009 succeeded to meet public demand for both information and involvement.





The official website for the IYA 2009.

The website of IYA 2009 in the Netherlands.

All the International Years proclaimed by the General Assembly.





Austria                                               5 June 2009

Azores                                                8 May 2009

Bangladesh                                         19 July 2009

Belgium                                              6 April 2009

British Indian Ocean Territory               20 July 2009

Faroe Islands                                      25 May 2009

Jersey                                                10 February 2009

Liechtenstein                                       2 March 2009

Madeira                                              8 May 2009

Netherlands                                        7 April 2009

Republic of Moldova                            7 May 2009

Slovakia                                             28 May 2009









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last revised: 15 August 2010