Call for Proposals for Official Endorsement for Astronomical Cornerstone Programs for the International Year of Light

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) Executive Committee Working Group on the International Year of Light (IYL) solicits your proposals for astronomy programs in support of IYL themes. The IYL was initiated by the European Physical Society with strong support from the Optics and Photonics industries. It has received the endorsement of UNESCO and the UN (as was the case for the International Year of Astronomy, IYA2009), with events being planned throughout 2015. The astronomy community has been invited to participate through the IAU with a highlighted topic ‘Cosmic Light’; the IAU has authority to endorse astronomy-related programs as official components of the IYL. Further information can be found at the IYL website,

The officially stated themes of the IYL are:

  1. Science of Light
  2. Light Technology
  3. Light in Nature
  4. Light and Culture

Of course, we can build on the heritage and infrastructure of the IYA2009 to provide astronomy activities for many of their themes. At the same time, our strongest contributions are likely to be crosscutting for more than one of the IYL main themes. We know that astronomy topics naturally involve the nature and origin of light, the function of astronomical optics, as well as the cultural and scientific value of dark sky preservation. Given the relatively short lead-time of less than a year, we assume that we will be building on existing programs, particularly ones that have been successful legacy projects from IYA2009. We note the paradigm from the IYA that the successful programs were built by the dedication and enthusiasm of their proponents in a bottom-up fashion.

With this call, the WG solicits on behalf of the IAU for endorsement of a local, regional, or national programs to becomeas an official parts of the IYL. A ‘Cosmic Light’ program is an astronomy-oriented activity of the IYL with local, national, or regional impact. It may also be an adaptation of an ongoing worldwide activity to explicit support of IYL themes. It must be effective within the local culture and language to enhance knowledge of and appreciation for the role of light in observation and measurement of atmospheric and cosmic phenomena and/or for the need for quality lighting to protect the beauty and content of natural light from the sky. The proposal template and submission instructions are found at the bottom of the page. Proposals may be submitted at any time and will be periodically reviewed by the WG.

Criteria for endorsement of an official IYL astronomy program include:

  • Clear connection to one or more cornerstone themes of the IYL.
  • Clear objective for educating, training, and/or informing the defined target audience
  • Clear definition of scope on any scale from local to global.
  • Well-defined project for development through deployment.
  • Plausible plan for obtaining or clear description of already contributed support adequate to execute the project. This may include or even be limited to volunteer labor.
  • Anticipated project impact.

Process for grant proposal review and for IYL endorsement for an astronomy program:

  • Project organizers fill out the template application, describing the project and addressing the criteria.
  • WG members will review the grant applications on a short timescale, and periodically evaluate the program endorsement applications. The lead reviewer writes some comments to the applicants and a recommendation to the WG. The WG endorses, or returns the application for modifications to the project plan and reapplication.
  • Project organizers are instructed how to provide the information for their events to the IAU-supported project planning website that provides supporting materials and contact information for projects in work.

The IAU Working Group on the International Year of Light is chaired by Richard Green (University of Arizona, USA).

Its members and Associates are:
Kim Arcand (FETTU) (USA)
Piero Benvenuti (IAU Asst. General Secretary) (Europe)
Peter Blattner (CIE, Director Division 2) (Europe)
Sze Leung Cheung (IAU OAO) (Global)
Rick Fienberg (AAS/IAU C55/Galileoscope) (USA)
Steve Fotios (CIE, Chair TC 4-48) (UK/Europe)
Beatriz Garcia (IAU C46) (S. America)
Kevin Govender (IAU OAD) (Global)
John Hearnshaw (IAU C46, World Heritage WG) (Pacific)
Lucia Marchetti (IYL UK) (Europe)
Chris Monrad (Professional Lighting Engineer, IDA Board) (USA)
Steve Pompea (Galileoscope Project Organizer/US Program Director for IYA) (USA)
Thomas Posch (IDA) (Europe)
Pedro Russo (IAU C55 VP/UNAWE/IYA2009) (Europe)
Mike Simmons (Astronomers Without Borders) (USA)
Malcolm Smith (IAU C50 former President) (S. America)
Connie Walker (IAU C50, Globe at Night, IDA Board, International & National Chair for IYA DSA Cornerstone) (USA)
Xiaohua Wang (IDA Beijing & Starry Sky Project of China) (Asia)



Sze-leung Cheung
IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach
Tel: +81-(0)422-34-3896

Richard F. Green
University of Arizona
Steward Observatory
Tucson AZ 85721-0065 (USA)

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