International Year of Astronomy 2009 in Victoria

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The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada took a leadership role to promote International Year of Astronomy (IYA) to all Canadians.  Victoria Centre members actively reached out to the public here in Victoria. IYA gave us an opportunity to offer many special events throughout the Victoria area, and to highlight many other IYA celebrations being staged by other groups.

Setting up telescopes where the public can easily make use of them is something Victoria Centre has done for decades.  We staged many public events during 2009 so everyone could see the rings of Saturn, the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, craters on the Moon, and comets, asteroids, galaxies, star clusters, and so many more celestial objects.

The Galileo Moment was a key goal of IYA internationally - bringing as many people as possible to telescope eyepieces to observe a celestial object...possibly for the first time.  Victoria Centre's volunteers brought the wonders of the night sky to the people of Victoria. We were pleased to help you achieve your own personal Galileo Moment!

Victoria residents experienced 23,272 Galileo Moments during 2009

What is IYA?

bulletIYA 2009 Canada - AMA 2009 Canada - the Canadian website
bullet International Year of Astronomy 2009 - the international website
bullet400 Years of the Telescope A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought - putting the IYA celebrations in historical context

How did people participate?

bulletSome people joined the International Year of Astronomy 2009 - Canada group on Facebook
bulletSome people built their own real telescope - the GalileoScope - a $25 kit. RASC Victoria Centre donates Galileoscopes to area schools
bulletCanada issued special ham radio call signs to commemorate IYA -   Activities for Amateur Radio Operators during IYA 2009
bulletVictoria has two centres of excellence for astronomy, and both offered public outreach throughout the year: Centre of the Universe on Observatory Hill and University of Victoria - Physics and Astronomy


bulletMembers of the public & press: Sid Sidhu at (250) 391-0540  Email
bulletOur volunteers: Sherry Buttnor at (250) 474-0554  Email

IYA Events Archive - IYA events which happened in the Greater Victoria area - many have online photo albums to browse.

RASC Victoria Centre Events - IYA 2009 - our online photo gallery highlighting our IYA events as they happenned.


There were many local events here in Victoria.  All events were open to the public.

More Info

bulletCoolCosmos - cool stories about our cosmos - U of T
bulletStar-Finder - we gave away lots of Star Finders - here's the website to go along with them!
bulletMary Lou's New Telescope - print out this full colour children's book and read it to your child who is in Grades 1-6.  Those who attended local IYA events often received free copes to take home.
bullet Astro-Cards Registration - register your Astro-Card and your name will be sent into space by the Canadian Space Agency in 2010!
bullet 2009 Year of Astronomy in Victoria (219k pdf) - The City of Victoria proclaimed 2009 as the Year of Astronomy within the City.
bullet Thanks from Victoria Mayor (264k pdf) - Letter thanking our volunteers for their IYA outreach efforts during 2009.
bullet 2009 Year of Astronomy in Saanich (195k pdf) - The District of Saanich proclaimed 2009 as the Year of Astronomy within the District.
bullet 2009 Year of Astronomy in Oak Bay (333k pdf) - The District of Oak Bay proclaimed 2009 as the Year of Astronomy within the District.

IYA2009 Report #4 - Dec 30, 2009

What a YEAR and what a JOURNEY it has been! Not fully comprehending the difficulties we might face along the way, the Victoria Centre embraced the challenge of IYA2009 celebrations with the impressive goal of providing an experience of discovery to 20,000 greater Victorians. After the last formal IYA2009 public viewing session at The Butchart Gardens on December 26th, we can proudly proclaim that 23,272 Victorians experienced their moment of discovery.

This milestone achievement in the history of our Centre would not have been possible without all the hard working and passionate volunteers, a contribution of 2,370 hours engaging with the public at 114 venues, big and small, throughout Greater Victoria.

The journey was worth taking. We are a group of volunteers with a passion to share. It showed what can be achieved if we all work together.

Here are a few of the IYA events/venues, where the Victoria Centre volunteers gave freely of their time:

bulletClassroom visits and the Night Sky Viewing as a part of our School Telescopes Program
bulletFETTU exhibits at the Bay Centre, Mayfair Shopping Centre and Victoria Airport
bulletEarth Day celebrations
bullet100 Hour Sidewalk Astronomy
bulletInternational Astronomy Day
bulletNight Sky Viewing at the Fairfield Community Centre
bulletSidney Day celebrations
bulletBucanneer Days
bulletThe Butchart Gardens
bulletSaanich Fair
bulletSymphony Splash
bulletMetchosin Day
bulletStrawberry Festival
bulletLuminara at Beacon Hill Park
bulletConcerts by the Early Music Society of the Islands, Music of the Spheres, and The Planets by Gustav Holst concerts by the Victoria Symphony
bulletSee details of these and many more: IYA Events Archive

I would have liked to mention here the names of all the 75 volunteers who contributed their time and effort in this landmark achievement. However there is not enough space so I will mention only two names; John McDonald, who early in his presidential mandate, singled out IYA2009 events as one of the key 2009 projects for the Centre and Jim Hesser for his continuing encouragement throughout the year.

There were so many memorable moments for me and I am sure each of you has your own. At the risk of boring you with my memorable events, let each and every one of us reflect on our own special moment.

To all the volunteers I would like to express my deep appreciation with a simple THANKS to you All. You were just SUPER.

In closing, The Irish Rovers song comes to my mind "WASN'T THAT A PARTY". It certainly was. WE DID IT.




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Last updated: January 29, 2014

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