Media Advisory

Jan. 17 talk kicks off Intl. Year of Astronomy series

Contact: Robert Sanders, Media Relations
(510) 643-6998

13 January 2009

ATTENTION: Science editors, producers


A lecture, "The Search for Habitable Planets and Life in the Universe," to kick off a monthly series of public talks by University of California, Berkeley, astronomers in celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009.


11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 17


Room 100, Genetics and Plant Biology Building, UC Berkeley. The building is located in the northwest corner of the campus:


Geoffrey Marcy, UC Berkeley professor of astronomy, director of the Center for Integrative Planetary Science, and the world's foremost planet hunter, will be this month's lecturer.


The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is a global celebration of astronomy and its contribution to society and culture, emphasizing education, public participation, and the involvement of young people. The grand opening ceremony will be held Jan. 15 and 16 in Paris at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

In addition to the Paris event, which hundreds of people, including members of royal families, ministers, Nobel Laureates, scientists and students, are expected to attend, many national and regional events around the world also are scheduled.

UC Berkeley's Department of Astronomy joins the international celebration with talks on the science and history of astronomy on the third Saturday of each month, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, including two talks and other activities on April 18, UC Berkeley's annual Cal Day open house. Next month's talk, scheduled for Feb. 21, is "Black Holes: Monsters Lurking at the Centers of Galaxies," by theoretician Eliot Quataert, professor of astronomy and physics. Other upcoming topics include dark matter, dark energy, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, star birth and their explosive deaths, the solar system, and Galileo Galilei, who first turned a telescope on the heavens 400 years ago.

For a complete list of the year's talks and other UC Berkeley activities planned to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, visit: For more information, visit: