Beyond 2009

astronomy, IYA, travel
As I’m sure it hasn’t escaped you by now, unless perhaps you’re a TimeLord from Gallifrey and got the year wrong, it’s 2010. It means an end unfortunately to the ‘International Year of Astronomy‘, but now we are looking ‘Beyond 2009‘.I can’t quite believe that it’s been nearly a year since the opening ceremony I was fortunate to attend in Paris. I met so many wonderful people there and have so many fond memories of our time together; many which I still hold dear to in many, many photos and recollections in blogs such as those from Boba, Suresh, my Macedonian friends (Filip, Tanja and Martin). Some of us keep in touch in some form, sometimes quite regularly. It was very nice to meet some of these people in Krakow for the ‘International Conference of Young Astronomers‘, another great experience. I truly regard some of these people as ‘friends’ now, which I hope will continue for many years to come. We share a common interest amongst other things. I thank the Royal Astronomical Society for giving me this great experience with the invitation last year. 😀

Much has happened this past year for IYA. The list is too long to mention. “As the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) comes to a close, the true scope of the venture is becoming clear. The final count of countries involved stands at 148, a staggering number that confirms that the IYA2009 network is the largest ever in science. Activities and events from these participating nations paint a picture of professional and amateur astronomers bringing the Universe down to Earth through countless projects, opening the eyes of the public to the wonders above.”- I refer you to this news release:

For me, the involvement I have had with IYA has opened my eyes even further to the wonder of the Universe. I have been fortunate to make many contacts along the way, which I am sure will add to my options of employment come a few years time, when I will have to decide exactly what my next step will be. (I’m currently thinking a postdoc, but we’ll see how I feel after 3 years.) Anyone that knows me, knows I sometimes can’t shut up about astronomy. It’s a big part of my life! IYA has been a great mechanism to help inspire peope into the subject and realise their place in the Universe. The legacy of this great year I hope will remain for many, many years to come. Now we have a “Roadmap to IYA’s Living Heritage“. Let us continue our hard work and efforts to ensure we keep astronomy very much alive and active in much the same way we have done this past year.

In the UK various exhibitions and outreach projects are still continuing. ‘Cosmos & Culture’ is a major temporary exhibition at the Science Museum in London, running until January 2011. The exhibition will explore how people of many different cultures have studied the cosmos and how this has shaped our perceptions of the Universe – and of ourselves. ‘We Are Astronomers‘ is continuing to screen across the UK at the Armagh Planetarium, Centre For Life INTECH Science Centre & Planetarium , National Space Centre , Our Dynamic Earth , Royal Observatory Greenwich and Spaceport.

Where for me the past year has been an ever-changing one; completing my undergraduate degree, applying for a PhD and various positions, moving and now starting a PhD, I hope to become more active in an outreach sense. It was difficult to do as much as I’d have liked last year in an outreach sense, depite it being the International Year of Astronomy. I very much enjoyed helping out at Space School UK at Leicester in 2007 and over the years,giving various talks for Leicester Astronomy Society. Now I am starting a new life in Kent and now need to find my way here a little. Having undertaken the Astrodome training last term I hope to be active with that once I am more settled. The Kent SEPnet Astrodome is one of Kent’s most advanced mobile planetariums, enabling groups of all ages to learn about astronomy and space science in a fully immersive digital environment. I hope to start giving talks over the next few years to societies and various groups, particularly now I’m qualified as a Master of Physics with Astrophysics (Hons).


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