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Enjoy the Starlight--The International Year of Astronomy 2009

The year 2009 marks the 400th anniversary of the first astronomical observation by Galileo Galilei, an Italian scientist. Celebrating this occasion, the United Nations, UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union have determined this year to be the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009).

The aim of the IYA2009 is to encourage people around the world to look up at the night-time sky and think of Earth as one planet in the universe. Think about the humans who live here and discover something new to them. Starlight tends to be obscured by artificial lighting. How about watching the starry sky on this special occasion of the IYA2009 during Candle Night week?

Take this opportunity to check out some of the many IYA2009 events held around the world.

For more information, please check the IYA2009 Japan Committee website
The Portal to the Universe / Astronomy 2009

A total solar eclipse will be observed in Japan on July 22, 2009, the first time in 46 years. The sun will be gradually covered by the new moon and replaced by the dark silhouette of the moon. Akusekijima, a small island in the Tokara Islands, south of Kyushu, will be the best spot in Japan to observe the solar eclipse. Many enthusiasts are expected to gather on this small island for the day.

Even if you can't get to Kagoshima in southern Kyushu, the solar eclipse will be observed throughout Japan to some degree. In Japan, the solar eclipse begins around 10 am and fully eclipses around 11 am. Times and phases of the eclipse vary depending on the region, so please check the website shown below for details. When observing the solar eclipse, please remember not to look at the sun directly.

Details are available from the Local Prediction of the Solar Eclipse on the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan website.

(Yuko Kishikami)

June 19, 2009