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International Year of Astronomy wraps up

By Hamish Johnston

Last Friday the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) came to an end in a ceremony in Padua, Italy.

Organized by the International Astronomy Union (IAU) and UNESCO, IYA2009 marked the 400th anniversary of “modern astronomy” — 1609 was year that Galileo first peered into the heavens using a telescope.

According to the IAU, the year was celebrated in 148 countries by millions of people who did everything from building country-sized models of the Solar System to having their own “Galileo moment” by peering through a telescope for the first time.

Here at we did our bit by hosting the Cosmic Diary blog and boosting our coverage of all things astronomical. We also published a special astronomy issue of Physics World magazine in March, which you can download here

Speaking in Padua, IYA2009 chair Catherine Cesarsky said, “Over the past 12 months we have seen astronomy enter the public’s imagination and inspire people to ask the grandest questions. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 has been an unforgettable journey and I am pleased to see that many of the projects will continue.”

You can read more about the legacy of IYA2009 here.

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