The Cat's Eye Nebula: Dying Star Creates Fantasy-like Sculpture of Gas and Dust  
NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
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Welcome to week 3!

steve-p-galileoscope-unesco-sidewalk.jpg It’s hard to believe, but we’re already in week three of the IYA2009, and oh what a wild few weeks it’s been! On the heels of our US opening ceremony in Long Beach, California, the International festivities were launched on January 16th in Paris, France. Among those there from the US were Doug Isbell (our Single Point of Contact) and Steve Pompea (chair of Galileoscope and US Program Director – pictured at right with a Galileoscope). See this NewsCenter article to get the full scoop! Also check out all these other great IYA links: And don’t forget to follow our twitter.

IYA2009 on the Jeopardy Game Show

On Jan 8, 2009 the International Year of Astronomy was a question on the popular Jeopardy game show.  The category was “This Just In” and it was a $400 question: “Calling all stargazers: 2009 is the International Year of this science?” Answer: “Astronomy” (of course!) Check it out here .

Dark Energy, Dark Matter, Dark Jelly Beans?

After spending a few hours in the AAS Poster/Exhibitor Hall, you can get that glazed-over, zombie feeling that comes when you’re overwhelmed by the sheer intensity of the sights and sounds around you. At that point, it takes something really unusual to get your attention. This picture did it for me–the cover of a beautiful brochure from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory . I mean, who can resist jelly beans? And these are not only delicious, but scientific! As you may have noticed, there are more than a few black jelly beans in this jar. Well, this jar of jelly beans represents our universe–about 96% is dark (about 70% dark energy, about 26% dark matter), and about 4% is the more delicious familiar stuff…stars, planets, animals, plants, etc. Chandra is helping us learn more about the darker parts of our universe, including the darker parts of things like black holes, supernovae, and galaxies. Now, who can look at a jar of jelly beans without guessing how many are in the jar? (Hint: It’s a 1-liter container.)
Image Credit: Fermilab


International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA)