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January 2010: Looking back, looking forward

January 2010

It is the end of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. In the show we bring you some of our highlights of the year which celebrated 400 years of the astronomical telescope. We have an interview with Nancy Atkinson about the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast, Jen visits the infamous AstroBunker to talk to Newbury Astronomical Society, and we ask Carolina Ödman about Universe Awareness. As ever we have the latest astronomical news, and what you can see in the January night sky.

The News

In the news this month: come.

365 Days of Astronomy

Nancy Atkinson (Universe Today) gives us a round-up of the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast - the official podcast of the International Year of Astronomy. The podcast was unique in that it was a daily podcast and has been created by many different listeners from all around the world. Nancy tells us about some of her favourite episodes and tells us that it will continue into 2010. There are still over 100 days free in 2010 so if you have an idea for an episode, head over to the website and sign up.

Nancy also talks briefly about her work at Universe Today.

The AstroBunker

Jen went to Newbury to talk to Adrian West and Nicky and Richard Fleet from the Newbury Astronomical Society about how they helped to bring astronomy to Twitter in the International Year of Astronomy. Through Twitter, @NewburyAS helped to bring almost real-time images and videos of the Moon, planets and meteors into people's homes across the world in their MoonWatch and MeteorWatch events. We hear about how it all got started, why they think it was so successful and are reassured that they will be back in 2010 with bigger and better events!

Universe Awareness

Back in August 2006 we talked to Carolina Ödman about Universe Awareness whilst she was at the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union. Carolina tells us about the organisation's aims to use the beauty of astronomy and the Universe to stimulate young children in underprivileged environments. Universe Awareness has grown tremendously and now includes 38 participating countries. This year has even seen astronomy and universe awareness be included on the primary school curriculum in Uruguay.

Carolina tells us about her personal highlight of the year at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland where there was a huge public star party.

The Night Sky

Ian Morison tells us what we can see in the night sky during January 2010.

Northern Hemisphere

Looking to the south in the mid-evening we can see Orion the Hunter with three stars forming his belt. Just below the belt is the Orion Nebula - the sword of Orion. The three stars of the belt are good pointers. If you go up to the right you reach Taurus the Bull and the Hyades Cluster. Going beyond the Hyades you reach the Pleiades. Above Taurus is Auriga with Capella at its top. Up to the left of Orion is the giant star Betelgeuse. Carrying on up to the left you reach the constellation of Gemini with Procyon in Canis Minor down to the left.

The Planets


Southern Hemisphere

Close to the Small Magellanic Cloud is globular cluster 47 Tuc. It is normally regarded as the second brightest globular cluster in the sky, second to Omega Centauri. However there is some doubt that Omega Centauri may be the nucleus of a galaxy whose outer parts have been stripped off. 47 Tuc dates from the time our Galaxy formed. On the Jodrell Bank website you can hear sounds of pulsars found within 47 Tuc.

Show Credits

News:Megan Argo
Noticias en Español - Enero 2010:Lizette Ramirez
Interview:Nancy Atkinson and Stuart Lowe
Interview:Adrian West, Nicky Fleet, Richard Fleet and Jen Gupta
Interview:Carolina Ödman and Stuart Lowe
Night sky this month:Ian Morison
Presenters:David Ault, Megan Argo, Jen Gupta, and Stuart Lowe
Intro script:David Ault
Countdown:Deborah Adams
Wallace:Lee Sands
Segment voice:Kerry Hebden
Website:Stuart Lowe
Cover art:The IYA logo Credit: International Year of Astronomy 2009

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