2009, International Year of Astronomy - The Montréal Planetarium invites Everyone to Celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Galileo's First Observation, All Year Long

    MONTREAL, Jan. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - The Montréal Planetarium will be
celebrating the International Year of Astronomy in great style. Its team will
be welcoming visitors of all ages at green spaces all over Montréal Island,
for a chance to discover or rediscover the countless marvels of the starry
sky. Special events, lectures and shows at the Planetarium will also mark the
400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of a telescope.
    "Throughout 2009, the Planetarium's astronomers will be sharing their
know-how both inside, under the Planetarium's starry sky, and outside, in
parks. We hope that over one million Canadians will have a chance to admire
the heavens in 2009, and above all that they'll take the opportunity to talk
about astronomy with our experts. Who knows? It may spark an interest in some
future scientists!", exclaimed Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Director of
Montréal's Nature Museums.

    The sky is putting on a show!

    "Four centuries after Galileo's discovery, the Planetarium is inviting
everyone to repeat the great astronomer's observations. By looking at the sky
through a telescope, binoculars or even with the naked eye, people can
experience a "Galileo moment." And there will be plenty of opportunities -
almost 70 events during the year!" explained Pierre Chastenay, Astronomer at
the Planetarium and spokesman for the International Year of Astronomy.
    Starting on January 31, the Planetarium's astronomers will be visiting
parks all over Greater Montréal and even farther afield, from
Rivière-des-Prairies to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, the Iles-de-Boucherville park
and Ile-de-la-Visitation, to mention only a few. Members of the public can
share the enthusiasm of these astronomy experts and learn to appreciate and
better understand the sky's delights, both day and night.
    Observation sessions, contests, workshops and discussions are also
planned as part of many events including the Fête des neiges (January31,
February1), the Montréal All-Nighter during the Montreal High Lights Festival
(February 28), the Eureka! Festival (June 12, 13, 14), the Fête des enfants
(August 15 and 16), The Magic of Lanterns show at the Botanical Garden
(September 11 to November 1), the Salon des métiers d'art (December 4 to22)
and so on.
    The activities being offered by the Montreal Planetarium, as part of the
International Year of Astronomy, are made possible thanks to its official
partner, Rio Tinto Alcan. "Our involvement in these activities falls naturally
within the framework of our partnership, which includes creation of the new
Montreal Planetarium and a commitment to support its educational mission for
the next five years," said Jacynthe Côté, President and CEO, Primary Metal,
Rio Tinto Alcan.

    The detailed program is available on the Montréal Planetarium Website, at

    The International Year of Astronomy

    The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and professional
and amateur astronomy associations around the world have declared 2009 the
International Year of Astronomy, to celebrate the life and work of the great
Galileo and hail his discoveries. The official site of the International Year
of Astronomy in Canada is astronomy2009.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Nadine Fortin, Communications Co-ordinator,
(514) 868-3053, nadine.fortin@ville.montreal.qc.ca; Evelyne Girard,
Communications Assistant, (514) 868-3123, evelynegirard@ville.montreal.qc.ca;
N.B.: Visual available on request.

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Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan

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