International Year of Astronomy Reading Challenge 2009

International Year of Astronomy 2009

Your mission: Read one book from each of the categories of History & Astronomers, Cosmology & Astrophysics, and Sci-Fi, and complete the two “extra-vehicular activities” described below. Here are some suggested titles for the general reader:


The History of Astronomy: A Very Short Introduction
Cosmos: An Illustrated History of Astronomy and Cosmology
On The Shoulders Of Giants
The Sky Is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist
Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love


Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction
Galaxies: A Very Short Introduction
The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
A Brief History of Time
A Briefer History of Time
Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries
Cosmic Catastrophes: Exploding Stars, Black Holes, and Mapping the Universe
Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution
The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality
The Universe in a Nutshell
The Planets

SCI–FI (suggestions welcome!)

David Brin:

First Uplift Trilogy
Second Uplift Trilogy
Heart of the Comet

EVA 1: Do some stargazing with a field guide and blog about it. Here are some suggested titles:

Stars and Planets: The Most Complete Guide to the Stars, Planets, Galaxies, and the Solar System
Canada StarWatch: The Essential Guide to Our Night Sky
Yearbook of Astronomy 2009
A Field Guide to Stars and Planets
Hubble: Imaging Space and Time (for supplemental indoor stargazing)

The new Morrison Planetarium, San Francisco EVA 2: Visit your local planetarium or observatory and blog about it also. The International Planetarium Society has a good directory of planetaria (pdf), and the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere has a directory of both modern and ancient observatories with maps to help you get there. Planetaria and observatories sometimes host night-time stargazing events so you might be able to complete both EVAs in one evening. If you aren’t lucky enough to live near one of these institutions, you might be able to join a local amateur astronomical society for a “star party” and look through their telescopes. You can find clubs through Astronomy Clubs Worldwide or your national astronomical society. Newcomers are always welcome!

Helpful Links

International Year of Astronomy: Main website.

International Astronomical Union: IYA organizers.

Portal to the Universe: One-stop-shopping for astronomy news.

Cosmic Diary: Astronomers blogging for IYA.

365 Days of Astronomy: Daily podcast of the IYA.

Starlight Initiative: International declaration on the right to dark skies.

Dark Skies Awareness: International project to reduce light pollution.

Astronomy Picture of the Day: The beauty of the universe.

The World At Night: Uniting the world with the beauty of our shared sky.

Sky This Week: Video report on sky events for the coming week.

Sky and Telescope: Magazine for amateur astronomers.

SeaSky: Comprehensive guide to astronomy.

Spaceweather: Solar activity and other near-Earth news.

Stellarium: Free, easy-to-use planetarium software.

Google Sky: Observe the universe with your computer.

Badges for your blog:

Fox Fur, a Unicorn, and a Christmas Tree

Astronomy Reading Challenge at Classical Bookworm

Astronomy Reading Challenge at Classical Bookworm

Astronomy Reading Challenge at Classical Bookworm

NGC 281

Astronomy Reading Challenge at Classical Bookworm

Astronomy Reading Challenge at Classical Bookworm

Astronomy Reading Challenge at Classical Bookworm

Tarantula Nebula

Astronomy Reading Challenge at Classical Bookworm

Astronomy Reading Challenge at Classical Bookworm

Astronomy Reading Challenge at Classical Bookworm


Lynda—Lynda’s Book Blog (Wales)

Paula—Paulas Bokblogg (Sweden)

Stefanie—So Many Books (USA)

JudyIntergalactic Bookworm (a natural!) (USA)

Beata—Beata’s Blog (Slovakia)

Karie—allmyways (USA)

Alice—Alice’s Astro Info (USA)

Wil—Moyen Âge (USA)

Tokemise—By Hook or by Book (USA)

Jazz—Miss Danaidae (USA)



4 comments on “International Year of Astronomy Reading Challenge 2009

  1. tokemise says:

    I know I'm finding this challenge late in the year but I'm signing up anyway. It's a great way for me to expand my horizons. Here is my blog post and book list.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Welcome aboard, tokemise. Expanding horizons is right! Hope you enjoy the challenge!

  3. Jazz says:

    I just found this a few days ago. Even though it was a 2009 challenge, I am going to do it for 2010 because I find it very exciting.

  4. Sylvia says:

    Hi Jazz! That's great. Since time is relativistic I see no problem with continuing the challenge for another year. 😉 I plan to read more about astronomy next year as well as continuing to listen to the great 365 Days of Astronomy podcast. And of course watching the movie 2010!

Comments are closed.