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The International Year of Astronomy: The ASP's Role


Since its founding in 1889 (as the first truly national and international astronomy organization in the U.S.), the ASP has brought together scientists, educators, amateur astronomers, and the public in partnerships that bring the excitement of astronomy "down to earth." The ASP is devoted to the improvement of science education and literacy through engagement in astronomy, and has made this a primary mission of the organization.

Download the ASP's IYA Case Statement document (pdf)

ASP/IYA logoThe ASP has been designated an Organizational Node for IYA by the International Astronomical Union, and a key partner for IYA efforts in the U.S. by the American Astronomical Society. ASP's officers and staff are project leaders and partners on key programs and working groups for the international and national effort, planning projects that can take advantage of our long experience in astronomy outreach and our national networks to help IYA succeed. But if we are to have a truly national impact in the U.S., we must augment our current resources by engaging organizations, companies, and individuals who share our vision of the opportunity for increased science literacy that 2009 represents.

Signature IYA Projects for the ASP

The ASP invites you to join with us to offer formal and informal educators, amateur astronomers and all those with a passion for astronomy the resources and materials necessary to take full advantage of the International Year of Astronomy and the opportunities for the future that the year represents. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is pursuing the following signature projects, to be initiated in 2009 with plans to sustain these efforts beyond:

IYA logoCosmic Clearing-House: The development of a web site to serve as an educational clearing house for the best astronomy outreach resources, activities, images, materials, guides, facilities and events for a variety of target audiences from the casual enthusiast to the professional educator. Sections suitable for teachers, museum educators, amateur astronomers, after-school providers, family program leaders, and other groups will be included, with links to existing useful sites as well as directories of materials and information in areas in which resources are currently needed. The site will be developed for sustainability beyond 2009, as a permanent resource for anyone interested in astronomy, space science, education and outreach.

USA IYA logoGalileo Teacher Training Program: The establishment of regional centers around the country to train teachers in doing hands-on astronomy activities with an IYA focus, beginning with the ASP's Project ASTRO sites. The effort will emphasize subjects that Galileo observed, such as the moons of Jupiter and the phases of Venus, actively engaging teachers and students in the process of science. The program will send mentor teachers back to their own districts with experience and materials for training their colleagues. An additional element will link teachers with astronomers in their local areas.

ASP/IYA logoIYA 2009 Cosmic Companion: The publication of a suite of meaningful and accessible astronomy activities for IYA, both in print and online, linked to NASA's IYA calendar of monthly themes, featured objects and missions. The materials and activities will be adapted for use by a variety of users, including amateur astronomers engaged in public outreach, teachers meeting science curriculum goals in the classroom, informal educators at museums and other venues enhancing their "free choice" science learning opportunities for public audiences, and other groups. The materials will be made widely available with training modules for each version. Included in these materials is the set of IYA Discovery Guides, easy-to-use guides which feature monthly themes, hands-on activities to explore the theme, and a featured celestial object and how to find it in the sky. The NASA Science Mission Directorate, Space Telescope Science Institute, and Origins Forum are supporting our efforts to integrate NASA monthly themes into the Cosmic Companion effort.

ASP/IYA logoExpanding the Informal Universe: The expansion of the ASP's professional development program for informal educators at small and medium-sized museums, parks, and nature and environmental centers to include new distance-learning opportunities as well as tools and training to enable these educators to providing exciting IYA public and school programs.

You Can Make It Happen by Making a Gift Today

The International Year of Astronomy represents a singular opportunity for stimulating public awareness of the heavens, of astronomical discovery, and of the value of science as a tool for understanding the world and creating a better future for all. The year 2009 represents a unique opportunity to spark an interest in the next generation of scientists who will take our country and our society into the future. We extend a special invitation to join us today in support of ASP's initiatives to achieve these goals and establish a legacy for future generations. You can make a difference by making a gift today. By working together, we can improve science literacy through engagement in astronomy -- providing for the future as we celebrate the sky!

For additional information regarding the ASP, the International Year of Astronomy or how to support the ASP, please contact the ASP's Advancement Office at 415-715-1406 or at development {at}


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