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SPIE and IYA2009 invite astronomy buffs to share discovery of the universe in global event

18 September 2009

PARIS, France, and BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- Amateur and professional astronomers, science centers, schools, and other groups are invited to be part of Galilean Nights, an international public astronomical observing event replicating Galileo's observations 400 years ago.Sky viewing in San Diego

To participate, organizers offering public sky-viewing events 22-24 October register their events on the Galilean Nights website: www.galileannights.org.

Galilean Nights will focus on observations made by the Italian astronomer 400 years ago, including Jupiter and the Moon, which will be well-positioned in the night sky for observing during the event.

A Galilean Nights Astrophotography Competition is also offered. Entries may be made in two categories, "Earth and Sky" and "Beyond Earth." See the website for more information: www.galileannights.org/competition.html.

"Amateur observations have always played an important role in astronomy, a fact highlighted by one of the most exciting events of this year, when an amateur astronomer noticed that Jupiter had suffered a massive impact by an asteroid or comet," said IYA2009 Executive Committee Chair Catherine Cesarsky.

IYA2009 (www.astronomy2009.org) is a year-long project of UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the telescope.

SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (www.spie.org), organizes major conferences on astronomical instrumentation each year and is participating in IYA2009 as an Organizational Node.

SPIE presented an astrophotography demonstration, a sky-viewing social in conjunction with the San Diego Astronomy club, and other events celebrating the telescope anniversary at the recent SPIE Optics and Photonics symposium. See a brief video of the sky-viewing event at www.spie.org/sdstargazing.

SPIE is the International Society for Optics and Photonics, founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 188,000 constituents from 138 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world. For more information, visit SPIE.org.

Photo cutline:

Attendees at a sky-viewing social at SPIE Optics and Photonics in San Diego in August viewed the sky through telescopes provided by the San Diego Astronomy Club.

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Media contact:
Amy Nelson
SPIE Public Relations Manager
Tel: +1 360 685 5478
SPIE Press Room: SPIE.org/pr