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IYA in Physics World

Physics World For a limited time the March issue of the journal “ Physics World ” is available for free download from IOP publishing. This issue is dedicated to the International Year of Astronomy and includes IYA related feature stories and articles of general interest from contributors including:  Catherine Cesarsky, President of the International Astronomical Union; Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal; Tim de Zeeuw, Director General of the European Southern Observatory; John Huchra, President of the American Astronomical Society; Andrew Fabian, President of the Royal Astronomical Society; and Seok Jae Park, President of the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute. Feature stories include:
  • The abundance of Earth-like planets will be determined in the next five years, with profound implications for the prevalence of life in the universe. Alan Boss, an astrophysicist at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, DC, describes the coming revolution in extrasolar planetology.
  • The Moon has been neglected by space scientists and astronomers alike since the Apollo days, but now we want to go back. Paul D Spudis, from the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, US, explains what motivates the new vision of lunar exploration.
  • Astronomers are planning a new generation of extra-large telescopes that will provide fascinating insights into the universe. But as Robert P Crease, historian at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, finds out, choosing where to locate these and other big facilities can require challenging interaction with the local communities involved.