Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union

Contributed Papers

SpS2-The International Year of Astronomy 2009

Pedro Russoa1, Catherine Cesarskya2 and Lars Lindberg Christensena1

a1 ESO, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany email:,

a2 CEA Saclay, Bâtiment Siège, 91191 Gif sur Yvette cedex, France email:

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) launched 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) under the theme, The Universe, Yours to Discover. IYA2009 marked the 400th anniversary of the first astronomical observation through a telescope by Galileo Galilei. It has been, and still is, a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, with a strong emphasis on education, public engagement and the involvement of young people, with events at national, regional and global levels throughout the whole of 2009. UNESCO endorsed IYA2009 and the United Nations proclaimed the year 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy on 20 December 2007. These proceedings aim to give a brief account of IYA2009, from its inception to the present and how its legacy will influence the future of astronomy communication on a planet-wide scale.