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How to Host an IYA Star Party or Event

The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) will be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, marking the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first astronomical observations with a telescope. More than 135 countries will be participating, and we invite you to join in by planning a local event!

What can I do? Click here for ideas on what kind of event you might plan.  Some of the most important goals of IYA2009 are to encourage more people to look through a telescope, to enjoy and value dark skies, and to reach out to new audiences.

Pick a Date If you don’t already have a date in mind, click here for some suggested dates during 2009 and check out the Celestial Highlights of the IYA2009 . Host a Star Party If you would like to host a Star Party (where amateur astronomers set up their telescopes for viewing), visit these websites for information on how to get started:

These websites offer more background about stargazing:

See What Galileo Saw The year 2009 was chosen to commemorate 400 years since Galileo made his first observations through his telescope.  At your star party, you might want to look at some of the same celestial objects as Galileo.  Click here for a list of some of the objects Galileo studied

Plan an IYA Talk If you would like to give an IYA presentation, or even a short talk at your star party, you can find and download free PowerPoint presentations here for International presentations.  As a teaser at the beginning or end of your talk, you may want to play an IYA Video .

Publicize Your Event Once you have the details of your event planned — make sure the public hears about it.  Visit this website for great ideas on how to publicize your event.Here are a few more easy ways to get the word out:

  • Post your event to the public US IYA Grassroots Events Google calendar by filling out the.  Remember to include the location, date and time (and timezone too!).
  • Flyer – Create your own two-fold flyer in less than five minutes using this flyer template (MS Word) .  Simply type in your club or group information, plus the date and location of your event, then print and hand them out.
  • Press Release – Don’t be intimidated by your local media.  Begin with thispress release template (MS Word) .  Just fill in your club or group’s information and write a paragraph with the details of your event.  Then email it to your local newspaper, radio or other media outlet.
  • Articles – If your local newspaper or your club’s newsletter would like to run a supplemental article, you can direct them to this IYA newspaper article repository .
  • Participating in 100 Hours of Astronomy – If your club or group is planning an event to participate in the global 100 Hours of Astronomy celebration, register your event here and download a variety of additional resources (posters, fliers, etc) here .
  • More great ideas can be found here .

Handouts and Giveaways It is always nice to offer some kind of handout and it does not have to break your budget.  for “How to Get Involved” flyers and print and hand out to your audience.  If you have a modest budget you can find IYA2009 logos on stickers, buttons, magnets, shirts, mugs and other items at these online stores.  Proceeds will support IYA2009 educational programs!

Showtime! At your event you will want to announce any upcoming national or global IYA events that might interest your audience.  These events are listed in the Get Involved flyers .If you will have a computer at your event, you can show an IYA movie trailer . Please remember to count the number of adults and the number of kids attending your event.

Be Counted After your event, please log your event attendance here and give us your feedback. We will have online forms coming in December 2008!

Thank you for supporting the International Year of Astronomy 2009 by hosting an event!