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Happy New Year of Astronomy!

The International Year of Astronomy is almost over. And so is the first year of writing about my (mostly) astronomical adventures on this website. Today it was exactly a year ago since this site was born (i.e. visible for the rest of the world) and since I kept a calendar page on it, it’s easy to look back on some happenings in 2009.


For IYA2009 I was asked to participate in a big event, which took place on the ‘100 hours of astronomy’ weekend in April. I was also interviewed for the ‘365 days of astronomy’ podcast, which appeared in May. The German Playboy issue with me in it appeared the month after that and I met minister Timmermans, to tell him about my discovery.


I also told a lot of other people about Hanny’s Voorwerp, Galaxy Zoo and Citizen Science during a couple of lectures, of which I did two in wonderful Ireland. (Absolutely a personal highlight!). Furthermore, there were a couple of Galaxy Zoo meet-ups: a formal conference in London, the making of a documentary in Oxford and a lot of less official get-togethers, of which one was at ASTRON!


I’m sure it’ll be great to see the outcome of the documentary in the new year. And yes, after the Hubble Space Telescope had its service mission this year, I am too looking forward to it finally taking a picture of my Voorwerp, which is planned in the first half of 2010! (I get this asked a lot and I also gather ‘Hanny’s Voorwerp Hubble’ is an often used search term). There are also already two papers available, revealing some of the Voorwerp’s mysteries and I’m sure 2010 will be an exciting year for more on that too! (*Zips mouth* for now though).


2009, and with that the official International Year of Astronomy, may be almost over, I have a feeling it was just a beginning for a lot of ‘us’. Lots of good ideas started and it would be silly to end them, because the year changes number. The She Is An Astronomer forum, which I moderate, will certainly still be there the first quarter of 2010 and I hope lots more nice project will continue as well.


So, before I’m going to thank everyone for visiting me here this past exciting year and for leaving nice messages so far, and before I’m going to wish you all the very best for the new year to come, I’d like to ask you to take part in my own little survey here. It’s inspired by the UK version of IYA, who asked on Twitter what your highlights of this (astronomical) year were for a competition.


You just read about mine. What was yours? I’m sure I haven’t heard of all events – whether big or small – yet, so tell me too please! Leave a comment below, contact me via e-mail or tweet me. And a Happy New Year indeed; keep looking up!

Happy New Year 09-10 

(As I explained last year, the font consists of real – not Photoshoped – galaxies. This nebula is called HH 573 – yes really, it stands for ‘Herbig Haro’ Objects! – and its SDSS number is: 75888490762017193).