Kathmandu, December 22:

The United Nations’ 62nd General Assembly has declared 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. It aims to stimulate worldwide interest, especially among young people, in astronomy and science under the central theme “The Universe, Yours to Discover”.

The proclamation was made on Thursday and was initiated by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO with an aim to celebrate the first astronomical use of the telescope by Galileo — a momentous event that initiated 400 years of astronomical discoveries and triggered a scientific revolution.

The year 2009 will highlight global cooperation for peaceful purposes, the search for our cosmic origin and our common heritage that connect all citizens of the earth.

Jayanta Acharya, Point of Contact in Nepal, said: “We are focusing on astronomy for all programmes by organising parties across Nepal and providing observation facility for school students. We are proud that Nepal is a collaborator in the celebration and realises the importance of science as one of the pillars of modern society”.

The UN has designated the UNESCO as the lead agency and the International Astronomical Union will function as the facilitating body. Its events and activities will promote a greater appreciation for the inspirational aspects of astronomy, embodying an invaluable shared resource for all nations.

Various activities to mark the ocassion will take place at the global and regional levels, and especially at the national and local levels. National Nodes have been formed to organise activities for 2009 in each country.