Astronomy Current Affairs - 2020

May 2: International Astronomy Day

Every year, International Astronomy Day is celebrated twice a year. Once on September 26 and other on May 2. On this day, astronomical institutions, planetariums, museums organize fun filled activities and spread awareness about the world of astronomy.

Highlights

The first International Astronomy Day was celebrated in 1973. It was started by the then president of Astronomical Association of Northern California. He aimed at setting up telescope points in different urban locations. Initially the celebrations began in the United States and later it spread to other parts of the world.

National Astronomy Week

The Astronomy Day is also a part of the National Astronomy Week. The week is held in United Kingdom.

International Year of Astronomy

The International Year of Astronomy was celebrated in 2009. It was marked on 2009 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of observations of Galileo and also Kepler’s findings in 17th century. The year was coordinated by the International Astronomical Union.

In 1609, Galileo for the first time found craters and mountains on the moon that changes the perception of space.

International Astronomical Union

The IAU was founded in 1919. The main objective of the mission was to safeguard science. The IAU is a member of the International Science Council India is a member of the Union. The headquarters of the Union is located in France.

China constructing a huge Observatory to probe origins of Cosmic Rays

The Chinese scientists are constructing a huge cosmic ray observation station that is equivalent to 200 soccer fields in Sichuan province. The observatory is located 4,400 meters above sea level.

Key Facts

  • The rocks from Ice Age were blasted for the construction
  • Three huge underground pools more than triple the size of Aquatic centers are to hold the detectors. The detectors collect high energy photons generated by remote celestial bodies
  • Around 12 telescopes are to be erected to conduct high-precision measurement of cosmic rays
  • The observatory is named as “Large High-Altitude Air Shower Observatory” (LHAASO). The project is to be completed by 2020.
  • The main objective of the observatory is to study the origin of cosmic rays, their acceleration and transmission mechanism.
  • Research teams from Australia and Thailand are directly participating in the project.

Significance

Cosmic Rays are atom fragments that rain down on the surface of the earth from the outer space. The study on Cosmic rays are important as they carry source of information about the origin of the universe. The cosmic rays can also be used for applications outside astronomy. In 2017, a team of scientists found a void at the The Great Pyramid of Giza using cosmic rays.