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Gearing Up for 100 Hours

If you look at a calendar, it seems like every day is a holiday somewhere in the world. Today is Flag Day in Aruba. It’s also celebrated as the Pillsbury Doughboy’s birthday. And tomorrow is National Chocolate Caramel Day… I’m not kidding. It also seems like every year is the “year of” something. Some of these have cultural or mythological significance. Others are decreed by national or international governments. 2009 has been chosen as the International Year of Astronomy by the International Astronomical Union and endorsed by the United Nations. So it’s official, but what does it mean? Why should we care?

2009 was picked for the International Year of Astronomy because it marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s momentous telescope observations in 1609 (the first ever recorded). Those observations significantly advanced the field of astronomy, so I think they’re worth celebrating! (I’m also going to celebrate National Chocolate Caramel Day.) The entire year will be filled with global projects and events, getting people looking through telescopes and learning more about the Universe around them.

In a few short weeks, I’ll be working a long weekend… a 100-hour weekend, to be exact. Here at NASA Goddard, we’ll be taking part in a worldwide IYA event called the 100 Hours of Astronomy. This is an official event for IYA, and the goal is to get people to come out and participate in astronomy activities during a 100-hour period that’s synchronized in every time zone around the world. We’ve filled our 100 hours with a wide variety of fun stuff to do, and hopefully I’ll find enough time in between to get some sleep!

In the midst of all of the invitations, press releases, spreadsheets, and countless meetings about the 100 Hours of Astronomy, Maggie Masetti and I found time to put together an episode about… the 100 Hours of Astronomy! It took us a while to decide on an interview subject. But we realized the perfect person to talk to about this momentous occasion, Galileo Galilei himself. I don’t know what else to say about that! But listen, enjoy, and check out the episode info for information about 100 Hours of Astronomy events around the world (and right here at Goddard).

Check out 400 Years, 100 Hours, released today!

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