IYA Calendar & Events

NASA is providing exciting opportunities for you to explore the universe and share your discoveries during 2009! You will find exhibits and shows, observing opportunities, and trainings for educators listed below. Participate in an existing program, or use NASA materials to create an IYA event for your community.

Community Events – Bringing the Cosmos to the Public.


You'll be able to discover the universe with NASA in YOUR community during IYA2009 through partnerships we're establishing with museums and planetariums, libraries, out-of-school organizations, and other organizations nationwide. Be on the lookout for NASA exhibits and family-science events at libraries across the country, and events and shows at the local museum or planetarium!

From Earth to the Universe: This collection of breath-taking images has been created for display in public venues such as gardens, art museums, shopping malls and more. Learn more about this IYA Global Cornerstone Project or create an exhibition in your local community!

Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery: This library exhibit vividly illustrates how our views and understanding of the universe and the objects within it have changed over the last four hundred years.

Great Observatories Image Unveiling: Science centers, museums, and planetaria all over the country will be celebrating Galileo’s birthday and the International Year of Astronomy by unveiling spectacular images from NASA’s Great Observatories — Hubble, Spitzer, and Chandra.


Events for Educators – Discover the Universe with NASA.


Throughout 2009, NASA-affiliated scientists and educators will be giving a wide variety of special IYA-related workshops, conference presentations, online courses, and other learning opportunities to help educators and students nationwide discover the universe with NASA. Whether you're a classroom teacher, a museum or planetarium educator, or an out-of-school time activity leader, you'll want to check for events in your region. Participating educators will become members of our NASA IYA Discovery Dialogue, an entry point to the global IYA2009 Galileo Teacher Training Program.

Galileo Teacher Training Program: The goal of the Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP) is to develop and present workshops using Galileo’s telescopic investigations to teach the process of science, problem-solving, and collaboration in an inquiry-based education framework. NASA workshops for educators will connect to this program through a partnership with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Afterschool Universe Trainings: Afterschool Universe explores basic astronomy concepts through engaging hands-on activities for middle-school aged youth, focusing on the Universe outside the solar system. Trainings provide resources for out-of-school-time activity leaders to run the program in their local communities.

Kepler Pre-Launch Workshops: Learn how to share our search for Earth-like planets with middle and high school students through standards-based, classroom ready Kepler activities. Launching in 2009, Kepler will be the first NASA mission capable of detecting Earth-sized planets.

Faculty Institutes in NASA Earth and Space Science: Discover, develop, and share inquiry-based tools about the Earth, our Solar System, and our Universe to engage future teachers in science at these participant-driven workshops for pre-service science education faculty.


Observing Opportunities – It’s Your Universe!


From simple guidance for backyard observing of the planets, stars, and beyond; to your own personal guest observer account to take images with NASA-funded online telescopes; to exciting ways to access and use real NASA image data from space science missions — we are providing a variety of tools and opportunities for you to follow in Galileo's footsteps.

Night Sky NetworkIYA Discovery Guides: Throughout 2009, NASA's partner, the Night Sky Network of amateur astronomy clubs, will be using special IYA Discovery Guides to provide engaging activities and observing sessions for local communities based on NASA’s monthly themes. Visit the Night Sky Network to find an amateur astronomy club near you!

MicroObservatory: Celebrate IYA by using the MicroObservatory online telescope network to observe the same objects that Galileo studied 400 years ago. Compare your images to Galileo’s images and sketches, and to observations obtained with modern telescopes. New for 2009, the “Observing with NASA” portal will help you compare images of a variety of celestial objects with data obtained by NASA missions.

Saturn Observing Campaign: The Saturn Observing Campaign gives sky enthusiasts of all abilities the opportunity to share the splendor of Saturn with their local community. The program offers a variety of program elements for local community leaders, classroom educators, youth group leaders, and sky enthusiasts.

Sun-Earth Day 2009: Sun-Earth Day 2009 — Our Sun: Yours to Discover — celebrates Galileo’s first telescopic observations of sunspots. This event will provide opportunities for people around the world to safely observe the Sun, classroom activities, multimedia resources, and more.


Calendar of NASA Events – Subscribe to our calendar feed (RSS).

Ongoing Events

Title: The Sunday Experiment (from the Solar Dynamics Observatory)
When: The third Sunday of every month, September - May
Where: NASA GSFC Visitor Center, Greenbelt, MD
Who: Kids, families, teachers, everyone really

Description: The Sunday Experiment program is held at the Goddard Visitor Center for families with elementary aged children and younger. Participants have the opportunity to learn about all the work being done at Goddard through exploration of the visitor center, try their hands at various hands-on activities and meet real life scientists and engineers.

For more international events, please check the IYA 2009 International site.

Frequently Asked Questions


Looking for NASA’s science themes and celestial object of the month? Visit our Hot Topics and Go Observe! sections!

Need tips on hosting an IYA star party or event? The “how to” section of the U.S. IYA website has suggestions and resources for you.



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Visit our Hot Topics and Go Observe! sections to find NASA’s monthly themes – each month we will have an article for you on the science topic and celestial object of the month!

Galaxy NGC 300

Galaxy NGC 300

Located about seven million light-years away, NGC 300 is a spiral galaxy with open arms and vigorous star formation throughout. Ultraviolet light from the hot newborn stars is shown in blue in this image from NASA’s GALEX space telescope.