The Universe, Yours to Discover

The University of Washington Department of Astronomy is a proud partner in the 2009 International Year of Astronomy (IYA). Starting in January 2009, we will commemorate the 400th year since Galileo Galilei made the first astronomical observation through a telescope. The goal of the IYA is to help people all over the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the sky. Here in Washington State, the University of Washington Astronomy Department is organizing and participating in a number of astronomy events for the general community. Check back through the course of the year for event details.

Drawing of the Moon

Galileo Galilei, sometimes known as the "father of modern observational astronomy", was born in 1564 in Pisa Italy. He was a physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher and a major leader in the Scientific Revolution. In 1608, Galileo made his first telescope based on only rough descriptions. With this and similar telescopes, Galileo discovered three of Jupiter's moons, the rings of Saturn, and lunar craters. He also observed, the changes in phases of Venus and the movement of sunspots across the Sun. Observations such as these led to him advocating of heliocentrism. His work, along with that of Descartes and Kepler became the precursor to Newtonian classical mechanics.

An image of the Moon's craters by Galileo Galilei from the Sidereus Nuncius

Upcoming Events


Open House Observing

Photo by Kathy Sauber
University Week

Do you have a passion for Pluto? An urge to observe? Perhaps you want to hear about Hubble. If so, you should look through our calendar of upcoming events because there will certainly be something there to suit your fancy.

This fall, the UW Astrobiology department hosts a series of public lectures. Then, on November 17th, take an evening to watch the Leonids Meteor Shower where ever skies are clear. There are also open houses at the Theodor Jacobson Observatory and public observing nights offered by the Tacoma Astronomical Society.

News and Reviews


The IYA here at the University of Washington and Dava Sobel's Visit were recently featured in U Week. You can read all about it here.

Portrait of Galileo

Design by Ken Fine
University Week

Planetarium Show

Photo by Adien Duffy
UW Weekly

Our Wednesday Evening Planetarium Shows were also recently featured in the UW student run newspaper, The Daily.

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