Six great years of 365 Days of Astronomy

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The United Nations has recognized 2015 as the International Year of Light. You'll find all the details on the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast.

Longtime readers of Astronomy will recognize the name Pamela Gay. A former associate editor here at the magazine, she now teaches at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Gay is a well-known astronomy popularizer and podcaster. She recently sent me the following information about a pretty cool event that stretches through the whole year:

In 2009, the world celebrated the United Nations-endorsed International Year of Astronomy. One enduring legacy of that special year is the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast. This community-contributed show brings together the voices of the astronomy — professionals, amateurs, and enthusiasts — in a daily audio program available at 365daysofastronomy.org.

In 2015, the world celebrates a new UN-endorsed year, the International Year of Light (IYL), and the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast is pleased to be part of this new celebration through the Cosmic Awareness IYL cornerstone. This addition to the IYL lineup means that anyone in the world can add his or her voice to this celebration of light. You can share your personal astronomy adventure, an interview, or even a review of the science in the latest science fiction movie. To become involved, head here, or email info@365daysofastronomy.org. All voices and all accents are welcome.

“Astronomy is always engaging,” says program director Avivah Yamani. “The beauty of the universe and the excitement to look up to the night sky has inspired people for many decades. Sharing astronomy is not only a privilege for the astronomer, but it can be done by all who love astronomy no matter their background or age. Podcasting gives the feeling of personal engagement.”

Since its launch, this show has hosted roughly 1,000 voices from every continent except Antarctica. From Nobel laureates to noble naked-eye observers, 365 Days of Astronomy has worked to encapsulate the different ways people make astronomy part of their lives. Each episode is five to 50 minutes in length and is centrally produced by Núcleo Interactivo de Astronomia, a Portuguese nonprofit group that is part of overseeing the Cosmic Awareness cornerstone for IYL.

From episode 1 on January 1, 2009, to today’s episode, donations have funded 365 Days of Astronomy, making it not just a community-recorded project, but also a community-funded one. In modern jargon, this is crowd-sourced project that just happened to launch five months before Kickstarter.

To keep this project going, the 365 Days of Astronomy team is looking for individuals and businesses to financially support the show. If you’d like to donate, head here. Donations cover media editing, website maintenance, equipment and software costs, and a part-time project director who schedules shows and maintains the website content. Donations go through PayPal, and you don’t need an account.

The 365 Days of Astronomy podcast is heard by 5,000 listeners each day. In 2009, the project was awarded a Parsec Award for “The Best Infotainment” podcast. It was also nominated in 2010, 2011, and 2012, for the “Best Fact Behind the Fiction” Parsec award. The show is directed by Avivah Yamani and produced by Richard Drumm. It is part of the CosmoQuest virtual research facility, which invites you to learn and do science at its website at cosmoquest.org.

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