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Celebrate Global Citizenship with the Closing of IAU100

12 February 2020


The iconic Pale Blue Dot is an image of Earth taken from approximately 6 billion kilometers away by NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft on 14 February 1990. The Earth can be seen as a tiny pale-blue bright dot within deep space. 

The Pale Blue Dot global project is the final worldwide initiative conducted as part of the IAU100 celebrations. To date activities are registered in 44 countries worldwide that will collectively celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic Pale Blue Dot image and how astronomy shows us the place of our home planet in the universe and can help us address global challenges during and around 13-20 February 2020.

As the final IAU100 Global Project, this initiative aims to foster discussions and considerations about global citizenship and climate change. 


Around the world, various activities are being organized for this global celebration, collectively uniting people from all cultures and backgrounds. In Palestine, a variety of awareness-raising workshops for the general public and students will be conducted to highlight the importance of preserving the Earth and the important role of astronomy. In Tunisia, the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Pale Blue Dot image will be presented through an awareness workshop and a presentation about the Voyager-1 mission. In the United-Kingdom, 9 year-old Tilly will showcase electronic artwork by using the light that is reflected off our planet Earth into Space. This light will then trigger her Arduino microprocessor to play the song ‘Earthshine’ by the band Rush. She will collect the Earthshine from the Moon using a telescope pointing at the unlit part of the crescent Moon. In Australia on 14 February, a special supper under the stars will be organized for Valentine's Day to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Pale Blue Dot image and the love for our planet. In China Nanjing, a roadside astronomy activity will be held that will future music and movies for the public to emphasize the the role of astronomy and our small place in the greater Universe. 


A key event being organized will take place on 14 February 2020 at the Old Observatory in Leiden, the Netherlands. Organised by the IAU European Regional Office of Astronomy for Development, the Pale Blue Dot Symposium is an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic picture of Earth and will include talks about the search for life on extrasolar planets, how the pale blue dot perspective can be used to stimulate a sense of global citizenship and its cultural implications. The Pale Blue Dot activities will conclude the series of international events that have been held during the past year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Astronomical Union. 


Furthermore, the IAU European Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (E-ROAD) is setting up an astronomy education initiative called Pale Blue Dot that will be part of a global flagship project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development in Cape Town. The flagship will encourage social cohesion and celebrate our common humanity through astronomy. Pale Blue Dot will use astronomy to inspire children aged 6 to 8 and broaden their perspective to stimulate a sense of global citizenship. The project will serve as a research platform to study the effectiveness of such an astronomy education programme for children at a formative age and how it varies across cultures and regions. 


Throughout the IAU100 celebrations, over 5000 astronomy outreach activities have been conducted in 143 countries globally. The complete events list can be explored here. We invite everyone to celebrate the success of the IAU100 celebrations and the theme of global citizenship as part of the final global project, the Pale Blue Dot! Event organizers and participants are encouraged to share updates and photos of their activities on social media using the hashtags #IAU100 and #PaleBlueDot to engage with the celebrations worldwide.


Registrations for the IAU100 Pale Blue Dot: Astronomy for Global Citizenship and Environmental Awareness event are welcomed during and around 13-20 February 2020.



Bethany Downer

Pale Blue Dot Event Coordinator, IAU100 Secretariat


Jorge Rivero González

IAU100 Coordinator

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