As part of the International Year of Astronomy, some people came up with the idea of the Galileoscope™, which would be a telescope cheap enough to provide for every child. And at $20 per scope, it really is quite affordable. If you had wanted a telescope but couldn't afford one, this might be a nice one to have. And even if you don't want or need one, you could donate $15 per scope for children around the world to help promote science education. In fact, I have just donated funds for a couple myself.
If you happen to be a fan of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Battlestar Galactica, or Ghost Hunters International, then you also have the chance to donate funds for a bunch of Galileoscopes and get a nice souvenir. Pamela Gay of Astronomy Cast tells us about an auction for two Galileoscopes until October 1st, with the boxes signed by Felicia Day, the casts of Battlestar Galactica, and the casts of Ghost Hunters International. Even if you're not interested in the auction, you know you want a Galileoscope for yourself and even want to donate some ...
From April 2 to April 5, there is going to be a worldwide event for astronomy, 100 Hours of Astronomy. Among them is a 24-hour livecast from 80 telescopes around the world (from speculating about going around the world in 80 days to live broadcasts from 80 telescopes around the world in a single day, we really have come far), which some might manage to watch it all in a single marathon session, although I'm only planning to watch a few live such as the livecast from Chandra. Of course, 100 Hours of Astronomy would also be a great excuse to go out and look through a live telescope.
It is now the year 2009, at least according to Coordinated Universal Time, the time against all other local time zones are measured against. The funny thing about Coordinated Universal Time, besides being abbreviated as UTC because of the French, is that even this is a compromise between an incredibly accurate clock and time keeping for practical use. Atomic clocks are the most accurate clocks of all, but a lot of us live according to the day-night cycle due to the Earth's rotation, and the Earth is slowing down by the tiniest bit every year because of tidal friction with the Moon. So leap seconds need to be added to Coordinated Universal Time every few years, and one was added right before the new year started.
The year 2009 is also the year that George W. Bush will no longer be president of the United States of America. This has got to be cause for a small celebration, although it would have been so much better if he didn't cause so much degradation in the United States' diplomatic and economic standing in the first place.
And this is also the International Year of Astronomy, which will launch a flurry of astronomical activity reaching to the public, among them 10-minute podcasts every single day of the year from 365 Days of Astronomy.
Oh, and before I forget: Happy New Year!
Next year is also the International Year of Astronomy, where a concerted effort will be made to promote astronomy and science education among the public. It will be pursuing projects both at an international and a national level, with participation from more than a hundred countries. This would be a great chance for astronomy lovers to help out spreading the astronomy.
If you have a blog or other web site that has astronomy as a major theme, then you might want to consider registering it with the Portal to the Universe that I previously blogged about. I wonder if there's anything else I could do besides registering my own blog and donating?
If you often talk about astronomy online, whether through your blog or something else, then Pamela Gay of Astronomy Cast and Star Stryder is looking for you. To support the International Year of Astronomy, she is involved with building the Portal to the Universe, which is going to be a clearinghouse for online astronomy content. If you have a blog about astronomy or something else with online astronomy content, then she wants to know.