400 Years of Astronomical Telescopes:
A Review of History, Science and Technology
The United Nations Has declared 2009 the International Year of
Astronomy (IYA2009). IYA2009 is an initiative of the International
Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO, the United Nations Education,
Science and Culture organisation. The UN resolution was proposed by
Italy, the country where Galileo Galilei made the first astronomical
observations through a telescope 400 years ago.
The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) will be a global
celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture,
highlighted by the 400th anniversary of the first use of an
astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei.
The invention of the astronomical telescope took place in the
Netherlands the year before and is celebrated throughout 2008. The aim
of IYA2009 is to stimulate worldwide interest, especially among young
people, in astronomy and science under the central theme "The
Universe, Yours to Discover". IYA2009 events and activities will
promote a greater appreciation of the inspirational aspects of
astronomy that embody an invaluable shared resource for all nations.
The first astronomical observations with a telescope in 1609 unleashed
a scientific revolution that has profoundly changed our perception of
the universe and our place in it. 400 years later, modern telescopes
on Earth and in space explore the universe in all wavelengths.
Astronomy is a science that drives collaborations across all
boundaries: geographical, cultural, racial, gender and age, in line
with the vision of the United Nations. Astronomy is a formidable
example of how science can contribute to international cooperation
A National Working groups has been established in the Netherlands to
prepare for the IYA2009 activities for education and public outreach
in order to reach as many people as possible. Internationally over 100
countries are taking part in the global celebration of IYA2009, as
well as 14 international organisations.