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astronomy_02ITS–The United Nations officially declared 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy on December 20th, 2007. Initiated by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO, this resolution was aimed at commemorating the 400 years of telescope usage in the field of astronomy pioneered by Galileo Galilei. Around 137 countries celebrate this event with the theme of “the Universe, yours to discover”.
The major goals of International Year of Astronomy were to increase scientific awareness; promote widespread access to new knowledge and observing experiences; empower astronomical communities in developing countries; support and improve formal and informal science education; provide a modern image of science and scientists; facilitate new networks and strengthen existing ones; improve the gender-balanced representation of scientist at all levels and promote greater involvement by underrepresented minorities in scientific and engineering careers; facilitate the preservation and protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage of dark skies in places such as urban oases, national parks and astronomical sites.
One of the main agendas of the event in Indonesia was the stamp series “The Year of International Astronomy 2009”, issued on May 2nd, 2009. The stamp design depicted the image of Galileo Galilei, the Galilean telescope, as well as the official event logo. As a background, the sheet shows Omega Centauri galaxy portrayed by Denny Mandey using the telescope from the Observatorium-Boscha ITB in Lembang.
Galileo Galilei (February 15th, 1564 – January 8th, 1642) was an Italian physician, mathematician as well as philosopher known as the “father of modern science”. His observations have brought fundamental discoveries in the field of astronomy that revolutionarily shifted the paradigm of viewing the universe. The Jupiter moons discovery challenged previously accepted concept of the geometric solar system. From which the planet movement theory grew and became a crucial milestone for Isaac Newton’s mechanical theory.
The original telescope was designed by Galileo in 1609 and was commonly called as Galilean telescope. It used a convex objective lens and a concave eyepiece lens. This telescope produced upright images and could magnify objects about 30 times. Outside of its main flaw, the shape of the lens, the Galilean telescope could view the phases of Venus, craters on the moon and the moons orbiting Jupiter.
Omega Centauri is a ball shaped cluster of stars located in the Centaurus constellation. Edmond Halley considered it as a nebula in 1677. Yet in 1830, John William Herschel, a British astronomer, regarded it as a ball shaped cluster of stars. Omega Centauri can be seen through naked eyes. This bright and large cluster of stars in our Galaxy consists of approximately 10 million stars 17,000 light years (1 light year = ~ 9.5 x 1012 kilometers) from Earth.


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