The United Nations have declared 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009). It will be implemented by the International Astronomical Union under the auspices of UNESCO, under the theme "The Universe, Yours to Discover". It will mark the four hundredth anniversary of the first astronomical observation through a telescope by Galileo Galilei.

IYA2009 will be a global celebration of astronomy, aiming to stimulate and engage worldwide interest in astronomy and science. To facilitate achieving this goal, especially with the young, several cornerstone projects have been adopted. One of these is the image exhibition, "From Earth to the Universe".

The concept is to exploit the natural fascination the lay viewer has for images of the Universe, to take some of the very best and most compelling images to them in the form of a travelling exhibition. The intention is that each participating country will find non-traditional venues to reach as many people as possible - open air venues such as public parks, gardens and squares, or enclosed venues such as art museums, shopping malls or metro stations. IYA2009 has an unprecedented opportunity to take astronomy and science to the global community, and the image exhibition is its most visible and powerful tool.

Invitations to submit images were sent to the world’s research centres and space agencies, individual astronomers and local societies, and to a large number of amateur astrophotographers. The images that were selected formed the basis of a prototype exhibition held in Athens in early 2008.

In this paper, we will report the results of a follow-up study from the Athens prototype exhibition, and how it has influenced final plans for taking the exhibition to a global audience during IYA2009.

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From Earth to the Universe - an image exhibition for the World

Gary Evans   Science Photo Library

Lars Christensen   ESA/ST-ECF

Kimberly Arcand   Chandra X-ray Center

Megan Watzke   Chandra X-ray Center

Manolis Zoulias   National Observatory of Athens

The United Nations have declared 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009). It will be implemented by the International Astronomical Union under the auspices of UNESCO, under the theme "The Universe, Yours to Discover". It will mark the four hundredth anniversary of the first astronomical observation through a telescope by Galileo Galilei.

IYA2009 will be a global celebration of astronomy, aiming to stimulate and engage worldwide interest in astronomy and science. To facilitate achieving this goal, especially with the young, several cornerstone projects have been adopted. One of these is the image exhibition, "From Earth to the Universe".

The concept is to exploit the natural fascination the lay viewer has for images of the Universe, to take some of the very best and most compelling images to them in the form of a travelling exhibition. The intention is that each participating country will find non-traditional venues to reach as many people as possible - open air venues such as public parks, gardens and squares, or enclosed venues such as art museums, shopping malls or metro stations. IYA2009 has an unprecedented opportunity to take astronomy and science to the global community, and the image exhibition is its most visible and powerful tool.

Invitations to submit images were sent to the world’s research centres and space agencies, individual astronomers and local societies, and to a large number of amateur astrophotographers. The images that were selected formed the basis of a prototype exhibition held in Athens in early 2008.

In this paper, we will report the results of a follow-up study from the Athens prototype exhibition, and how it has influenced final plans for taking the exhibition to a global audience during IYA2009.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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