IYA 2009 Trailer

By Phil Plait | April 25, 2008 8:02 am

The International Year of Astronomy is 2009. Much has been planned to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo turning his new telescope to the heavens, and many of the names planning the online community portion it will be familiar to you: Pamela Gay, Fraser Cain, Chris Lintott, and … me. I’ll be doing my part, but in the meantime, take a look at this fantastic trailer put together to build some excitement for IYA 2009.


Comments (17)

  1. Will the Catholic Church be doing anything special to commemorate its persecution of Galileo?

  2. madge

    The trailer made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end! Unfortunate that over here in the UK we choose NOW to slash £80 million from the science budget. Bad timing or what? : (
    PS @ Lugosi I believe the Vatican is erecting a statue to Galileo….so that’s alright then ; )

  3. DaveS

    I don’t care for the fact that they put realistic computer animations of rings and moving through dust clouds, and such. It’s a celebration of science, not imagination. Our *actual* accomplishments are so breathtaking, I just hate that felt they had to resort to artistic impression of what we can’t quite do yet, and mix it in with the real stuff.

    (Though the zoom from Syracuse to HST was pretty cool.)

  4. RL

    To answer Lugosi and madges comments, the Pontifical Academy of Scientists is erecting a statue in honor of Galileo. They still consider Galileo one of their own. (I suggest people read up more on this topic since the tribunal was less of a persecution than popularly thought. If Galileo could have provided proof to back his theory and answer the scientific arguments of his day against his theory, things would have gone differently. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the means then to do so). The Vatican Observatory is hosting a number of different events inconjunction with IYA 2009, too.

    I’m excited to hear that Pamela and Fraser are participating, too. Their podcast re-kindled my interest in astronomy and they led me to this website. I think 2009 will finally be the year that I get that telescope I always wanted.

  5. KC

    *This* is how to do a teaser. Notice how it grabbed your interest and held it. Note how the music and images fit together.

    And brace yourself for the onslaught of the el cheapo telescopes with Hubble images on the boxes . . .

  6. Nigel Depledge

    OK, Phil, that was one very cool trailer.

    Was the animation of shedloads of radio dishes supposed to represent the Square Kilometre Array, do you think?

  7. madge

    So is it ok for todays theoretical physicists to be placed under house arrest due to lack of proof? Just wondering ; )

  8. Douglas

    The radio dishes are a rendering of ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. See:
    and for example

  9. overstroming

    At least the Vatican aren’t exhuming Gallileo and putting the corpse on display as they are with the mad monk Padre Pio.
    What ghoulish behaviour.

    But never mind that, the video clip is fantastic, next year should be a good year for astronomy, and I’ve just bought my first reflector telescope so it should be good for me too!


  10. RL

    Madge: Nope. Didn’t say that. If Galileo could have proved his theories, the religious interpretation of scriptures (which he was also arguing about and this got him in trouble) would have been adjusted as they were when the proof did arrive after his time. My point was that there is more to the story that a simple “persecute him because we don’t like his findings” thing going on. What happened was wrong. I think Galileo’s story is also a lesson for scientists. Let the facts speak and stick to science. Don’t insult people who disagree with you, as if it will help your case with them or others.

    But on the bright side, they named a shuttlecraft after him on Star Trek.

    And I think theoretical physicists are cool.

  11. hale_bopp

    KC, one of the goals of IYA is to make a small (say 2″ diameter objective) inexpensive telescope that doesn’t bite. I have a small part in that project (and several commercially available cheap telescopes in my office we are testing to see what other people have designed).

    I will post more on this project as it progresses. A lot of work still needs to be done!

  12. @RL: If I recall correctly, the Galileo shuttlecraft burned up on re-entry in that particular episode…. No doubt to appease the Vatican.

  13. Calli Arcale

    To add a bit more to the story about Galileo, he was persecuted not so much because of his “heresies” but because he managed to piss off all the wrong people within the clerical establishment (and a few within the secular establishment as well). He had a tendency to speak his mind. While that’s normally a good thing, it can make powerful enemies.

  14. James

    “Yours to Discover”? That’s the motto of Ontario, Canada…

  15. Funkopolis


    Quite right. How about:

    “The Universe : Keep it Beautiful”


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