Romanian amateur astronomers win two international prizes

UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union, the organisers of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA 2009) have recently selected five winners of their prizes extended for the best events organised in the world under the last IYA 2009 cornerstone project called Galilean Nights, with two of them going to Romania.

The most impressive award event went to the Romanian society for Meteors and Astronomy (SARM) for its ‘Galilean Nights in Targoviste’.

The event comprised an Orionid meteor shower observational night prologue; activities in the Tricolorul (central) square: tents with astronomical products, projections of images, movies and planetarium programs, workshops, astroelectronic music, 3D images, remote observations, promotional materials, astroart exhibition made by children, telescopic observations of Galilean objects;

a special live broadcast about Galilean Nights, including an astropoetry and astrofolk music mini-show, and an original and innovative web page as both a unique homage for Galileo and an album-document, including comments and images on Galilean Nights-Targoviste and poetic writings dedicated to the Great Astronomer by important astronomers and writers from 4 continents: Galilean Poetry.

The event was attended by nearly 3,200 people. The Best Plan B prize for events in case of bad weather went to the Bucharest Astronomical Club (AB) and the Admiral Vasile Urseanu Astronomical Observatory of Bucharest for their „Galilean Nights with Tea and a Journey to Jupiter.”

Organised inside the building of the Astronomic Observatory, the event introduced the participants to Galileo Galilei and his importance to astronomy and offered a virtual journey to Jupiter using computer software. To combat the nippy weather outside, the participants were given tea and biscuits.

„Four hundred years after Galileo Galilei scrutinised the skies through a lunette and revolutionised the astronomy, more then 600,000 people answered the call of the starred firmament and attended the 1,300 events organised in 88 countries. This was a genuine outpouring of enthusiasm and creativity.

From the United States to Ghana, from Ukraine to Brazil, the spirit of Galileo made its presence felt, awakening the feeling of our common belongingness to only one world, the cosmic world. Romania took part in this world regale of astronomy, holding 31 events in the country that were officially registered.

The excellence prizes won by the events in Targoviste and Bucharest are once again confirming that there is another Romania besides the one we see daily. A Romania of recognised values and acknowledged competence, which, unfortunately, are many times rewarded abroad only,” says Galilean Nights Romania coordinator Valentin Grigore.

The Galilean Nights was held in October 2009 by hundreds of organisations that promote astronomy that spoke to the entire world about the heritage of Galileo Galilei. Galilean Nights was one of the IYA 2009 cornerstone projects that unfolded in Romania besides „100 Hours of Astronomy” and „She Is an Astronomer.”

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