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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Galileoscopes are Coming! Galileoscopes are Coming!

The first Galileoscope orders have begun to ship! The first 60,000 scopes are ready to leave the factory. And the next 60,000… ? Well, to get those flowing we need you to order yours today.


Smithsonian Photography Initiative Celebrates the International Year of Astronomy in May and June

Annie Jump Cannon During May and June, the Smithsonian Photography Initiative offers three ways to celebrate both the International Year of Astronomy and the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observation with a telescope by Galileo Galilei. [image at left from the SI collection is of Annie Jump Cannon ] Call for Entries The Smithsonian Photography Initiative invites the public to contribute images and stories to “ click! photography changes everything ” ( ), an online exhibit that explores how photography influences every aspect of people’s lives. This month’s focus is “Seeing Other Worlds”


Raise a Wing to Hubble and the Servicing Team

If all goes well, next week a team of well trained astronauts will be working to refurbish the first of the Great Observatories. Astronomers all across the world will be holding their breath in anticipation of the word that all is A-OK and a first glimpse of the first downloaded images. In Tuscaloosa, AL, a few of these astronomers and members of the public will be waiting with BBQ baited breath.

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IYA2009 Boosts GLOBE at Night to Record Number of Dark-Skies Observations

GLOBE at Night The global citizen-science campaign GLOBE at Night 2009 recorded 80 percent more observations of the world’s dark skies than the program’s previous record—including double the number of digital measurements—thanks in large part to active participation and publicity from the network of 140 countries currently celebrating the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009).

Now in its fourth year, GLOBE at Night encourages people everywhere to observe the prominent constellation Orion at least once over a two-week period and compare the number of stars that are visible using their unaided eyes with a series of charts that show how Orion would appear in skies ranging from very dark to very bright skies. The program is designed to aid teaching about the impact of excessive artificial lighting on local environments, and the ongoing loss of a dark night sky as a shared natural resource for much of the world’s population.

The 2009 campaign, held from March 16-28, garnered 15,300 geographically “mappable” measurements of Orion, nearly 7,000 more than the previous record of 8,491 that were contributed in 2007.


International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA)