Opening Ceremony
of the International Year of Astronomy
(UNESCO Headquarters, Paris,
2009 January 15-16)


The evolution of humankind
has been a permanent flight
for which astronomy
has been the highest wing.

-Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-


-photographic poem by Valentin Grigore-


Every mega-event hides so many years of work and accumulations!
And only one day before,
astronomical forces were so enthusiastic:

Kala Perkins (U.S.A.) prepared, for the Art Exhibition of astronomical inspiration,
an artistic collage of paintings and a poem,
“The Healing - From Genocide to Universal Life”:

Other preparations for the Art Exhibition:


Did you imagine this
4 centuries ago?
With your telescope
you liberated Astronomy
from the sky of the fixed stars,
leaving her to fly
towards the infinite…

-Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-


Over 900 elite guests from over 100 countries participated at
the Opening Ceremony of the International Year of Astronomy
under the motto
“The Universe - Yours to Discover”,
most of them professional astronomers,
and also ministers, ambassadors, politicians, professors and teachers, artists,
Nobel laureates, about 100 eminent students,
science journalists, representatives of national astronomical societies, etc.

It was an extraordinary event
organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
and the International Astronomical Union
(for which the Chair of the Organizing Committee
was Francoise Combes from France),
with lectures in the UNESCO Salle I,
exhibitions, receptions, videoconferences, films, etc.,
based especially on speeches of contemporary heroes of astronomy
(George Saliba, Robert W. Wilson, Baruch S. Blumberg,
Jose-Francisco Salgado, Jonathan P. Gardner - all from USA -,
Francoise Balibar, Andre Brahic, Hubert Reeves, Andre Brack,
Jean-Claude Carriere - all from France -, Franco Pacini - Italy -,
Juan Antonio Belmonte - Spain -, Michel G. Mayor - Switzerland -,
Ken’ichi Nomoto - Japan -, Tim de Zeeuw - Holland -,
Reinhard Genzel - Germany -, Kevin Govender - South Africa -,
Martin Rees, David Southwood, Jocelyn Bell Burnell - all from UK -,
Julieta Fierro, Silvia Torres-Peimbert - both from Mexico -,
Gang Zhao - China -, etc.).

They presented various visions about the positive arguments
of astronomical research for humankind,
from old times to contemporary times,
and described global (cornerstone and special) projects
for this unique year.

the first speaker was
the famous French musician and UNESCO ambassador Jean-Michel Jarre:

“Astronomy is and can be an instrument
for peace and understanding among nations”
said the UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura (Japan):

“We are finally ready to embark on what is destined to be a
year full of discovery and wonder”
said the IAU President Catherine Cesarsky (France):

Sequences from top astronomers’ lectures:

Close to the Royal Astronomer, Lord Martin Rees:

An astro-invitation to humanity:

…And three Romanian witnesses:
-Mirel Birlan (astronomer at the Paris Observatory);
-Andrei Dorian Gheorghe (SARM Cultural Counsellor);
-Valentin Grigore (SARM President):


Astronomical super-trusts
(beginning with Thales Alenia Space)
decorated the central corridor of the UNESCO ground floor:

NASA’s contrivance for simulating the planets:


Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope:

Global e-VLBI:

European Space Agency:

European Southern Observatory:

Canarias institutions:

BAADER Planetarium GMBH:

BEDI Thomas Library:

From Earth to the Universe:


…And inter-racial friendship:


In order to complete the fascinating scenery,
the American “reincarnation” of Johannes Kepler
also came here
to celebrate the German discoverer of the laws of planetary motion:


Did you imagine this
4 centuries ago,
when you published
Astronomia Nova?
In January 2009
the UNESCO headquarters became
Astronomia… Super-Nova,
a magnificent book
in which the printed words
were replaced
by living astronomers.

-Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-


The Opening Ceremony and the Symposium 260 also presented
an Art Exhibition with works and video-presentations on astronomical themes
in the three rooms of the “Salle Miro”.
The first room was dominated
by the paintings for children by Guellen (France),
by the big paintings of Joan Vidal (Spain),
by the artwork-poem combination of Kala Perkins (U.S.A),
by the sculptures of Jean-Claude Bourdon (France),
by the subtle paintings of Lionel Bret (France),
along with other valuable works from
Mongolia, Hungary, USA, Scotland, England, Australia, Argentina and France.

From Genocide to Universal Life
UN International Year of Astronomy 2009)
-by Kala Perkins (U.S.A.)-

Our world is fire forged,
born of cosmic cataclysm;
in living fire semi-frozen
from the earliest acoustic flux
we dwell and create,
birth and pass on.

And yet some ethic of integrity sustains the whole,
where fire is creative in its symphonic orchestration of space-time artistry.
Balance needs to guide the thing lest it perish all together in denial of its mean.

Humanity, this strange animal half sworn to hell, has now outgrown its justice,
murders its kin in genocidal pillage, slaughters animal and forest in meaningless chaos,
bringing on the largest mass extinction in global living history.
How is it possible now to waken the beast gone mad?

Is it possible that the visions of cosmic harmony and powerful integrity
will call back the crazed bull to the path of ethical existence on the planet of its birth?
It is this mighty willful vision that casts forth the cavalcade of flame ecstasies
garnered by astronomers as offerings to the
for humanity to recall its sane path in universal dance,
to end the exploitation of lives it owns not,
and return to living
in deep humility, integrity and justice
with all that Earth and cosmos have brought forth.

The second room was dominated by the art of Massimiliano Lattanzi (Italy),
whose “Selenika-Heliaka” works adorned an entire wall;
another wall had two oil paintings of Irene Richleacov-Marle (France),
and the third wall had works from France and UK.

The third room had three special works:
-sculptures by Istvan Csepeli (Hungary);
-Siderea - Homage to Galileo, by Margherita Abbozzo (Italy);
-Antikythera Mechanism, by Dionysios Kriaris (Greece):

The walls of the third room were adorned by artistic photographs,
the most numerous belonging to
the famous French photographer Laurent Laveder
(on the same wall with the works
of the famous American astronomer Jose-Francisco Salgado)
and the Romanian student (and member of SARM) Alexandru Tudorica.
There were many other superb astrophotographs from Greece, France, Spain,
Taiwan, Australia, Sweden, Hungary, Germany, South Korea, Finland,
England, Iran, Canada, Japan, Turkey, Russia, USA,
most of them from the exceptional team of
“The World at Night” project:

The Art Exhibition was watched by the old
“Wall of the Moon”,
painted in 1958 by the Spanish artist Juan Miro,
who this way became contemporary with these events:

…And the Chief-Organizer of the Art Exhibition,
David Valls-Gabaud (France, Paris Observatory):


At that moment, Alexandru Tudorica was probably
the most valuable student astronomer in Romania.
As a student in Physics at Bucharest University
and also a member of SARM,
he presented 12 astrophotographs in the Art Exhibition,
some of them taken in the south hemisphere
(on the occasion of the EURONEAR Project,
founded by two professional astronomers - born in Romania -,
Ovidiu Vaduvescu - also a counsellor of SARM - and Mirel Birlan).

Alexandru Tudorica during the IAU-UNESCO events:


Last preparations:

The group exhibition of the Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy-SARM
(conceived, selected and realized
by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe and Valentin Grigore)
represented a synthesis of 35 works of A4 dimensions
(most of them published before in
Cosmopoetry - SARM and Friends),
created over time
by some of the most important Romanian contemporary
astropoets, astrophotographers and astroartists, as follows:

-Line 1:
01 Rainbow Connection in Hawaii; photo by Simona Vaduvescu,
02 Annular Solar Eclipse, October 03, 2005, Madrid, Spain;
photo-collage by Cristina Tinta-Vass,
03 Comet Halle-Bopp, April 15, 1997; photo by Valentin Grigore,
04 SARM logo, by Danut Ionescu,
05 A -4.5 Geminid Fireball, December 12/13, 2006; photo by Valentin Grigore,
06 Total Solar Eclipse, March 29, 2006, Side/Colakli, Turkey;
photo-collage by Cristina Tinta-Vass,
07 Colored Moon; photo by Eugen Florin Marc.
-Line 2:
08 The Horsehead Nebula; photo by Alex Conu,
09 Universal Hypothesis; artwork - drawing - by Mircea Muresanu
and poem by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe,
10 Lightning Fallen in Town; photo by Valentin Grigore,
11 State of Sky; prose-poem by Valentin Grigore,
12 Flying in the Morning Sky; photo by Valentin Grigore,
13 Dragon-Radiant; sculpture-poem by Dan Mitrut,
14 Evening Sky; photo by Calin Niculae.
-Line 3:
15 Here to Heaven; artwork - drawing - by Cristina Tinta,
16 Comet 17P Holmes, November 2, 2007; photo by Catalin Fus,
17 Astrohaiku Mini-Anthology; texts by Diana Maria Ogescu, Boris Marian (Mehr),
Andrei Dorian Gheorghe, Iulian Olaru, Gelu-Claudiu Radu, Dominic Diamant,
18 Cosmopoetry; artwork - computerized - by Calin Niculae
and verses by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe,
19 Astrotipuritura Mini-Anthology; texts by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe,
Victor Chifelea, Florian Saioc, Irina Cristescu, Steliana Gheorghe,
Zigmund Tauberg, Ionut Moraru,
20 Sun Dogs - Parhelia; photo by Mihai Curtasu,
21 Dragon, Hero, and Solar Eclipse; artwork - drawing - by Dan Mitrut.
-Line 4:
22 Crescent Moon; photo by Maximilian Teodorescu,
23 Meteor Trialogue; astropoetic drama by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
with a motto by Arnold Leinweber,
24 Total Lunar Eclipse, February 21, 2008; photo by Eugen Florin Marc,
25 Astropoetry Mini-Anthology; texts by Dan Mitrut, Stefan Berinde,
Adrian Sima, Lucian Boboc,
26 Total Solar Eclipse, March 29, 2006, Side/Colakli, Turkey; photo by Alex Conu,
27 Astroproverbs by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe,
28 Total Solar Eclipse, August 11, 1999; photo by Valentin Grigore and Adrian Sima.
-Line 5:
29 Shadow of Mauna Kea, Hawaii; photo by Ovidiu Vaduvescu,
30 Interior Planets; artwork - painting - by Toma Hirth,
31 The Milky Way and a Meteor; photo by Alex Conu,
32 SARM Exhibition General Presentations,
33 Stars and Mountains; photo by Monica Butnaru,
34 Impossible Solar Memory; artwork - photo processing - by Calin Niculae,
35 Under the Starry Sky; photo by Diana Bodea.

At the same time, on this occasion
Valentin Grigore and Andrei Dorian Gheorghe sent an inter-dimensional salute
to the astropoet Arnold Leinweber (1920-2006)
and the astroartist Toma Hirth (1939-2009),
who could see their works in this exhibition only from the heavens.

An exhibition
which was placed in the UNESCO Salle des Actes
(next to a Celestron poster):


If astronomy studies the UniVerse,
then astropoetry is more than a romantic postulate
and people are creative creations
in the never-ending exhibition of the Cosmos.

-Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-

Other visitors:

Smiling with the Venezuelan astronomer Nelson Falcon
(between Valentin Grigore and Andrei Dorian Gheorghe),
who had given names of stars to his children:

Even “Johannes Kepler”
studied the SARM Astro-Photo-Art-Poetry exhibition:

Valentin Grigore among the three Romanian eminent students
(Alexandru Tudorica, Ania Titei, Victor Carbune),
who were selected to participate at the Opening Ceremony
of the International Year of Astronomy 2009:

SARM continued its unique tradition of astro-photo-art-poetry exhibitions
at important international events,
which began in 1997 at the International Meteor (Organization) Conference
in Petnica (Yugoslavia),
culminated with EuRoEclipse Perseids 1999 in Targoviste, Romania,
(when SARM organized
an International Showroom of Astronomical Arts, Photos and Publications
with exhibits from 30 countries from all continents),
and which also included a poster in the same spirit,
displayed by Stefan Berinde at the International Astronomical Union Congress 2000
in Manchester (UK).



Such things do not happen all the time.
We should be happy
that we have caught
an International Year of Astronomy
in our lives …

-Valentin Grigore-


Did you see
Copernicus, Bruno, Tycho,
Newton, Einstein and the Others?
Today we feel so universal!
No, we didn’t see them,
but they certainly are here…

-Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-


Valentin Grigore and Catherine Cesarsky (France,
President of the International Astronomical Union,
keeping in her hands Valentin’s astrophotographic album
“Targovistea Cosmica”,
which is pigmented with astropoetical quotations by SARM members):

In the left, Francoise Combes (France,
Chair of the Organizing Committee of the Opening Ceremony,
also keeping in hands Valentin Grigore’s album “Targovistea Cosmica”):

Valentin Grigore and Pedro Russo (Portugal,
IAU Coordinator for the International Year of Astronomy):

Valentin Grigore and Mike Simmons (USA,
Founder and President of “Astronomers without Borders”,
co-chair and co-leader of two of the most impressive global projects
of the International Year of Astronomy,
“100 Hours of Astronomy” and “The World at Night”)
in front of SARM Astro-Photo-Art-Poetry Exhibition:

Valentin Grigore:
What is your impression about the SARM Astro-Photo-Art-Poetry Exhibition?

Mike Simmons:
Astronomy is more than just a science
because everybody has feelings about the night sky,
so I like these pictures and the feelings expressed though poetry.
Altogether there are so many ways we can express ourselves,
and astronomy is a science,
but it is more than it,
astronomy is a part of our history,
a part of our culture,
a part of ourselves,
so I think this is a great presentation.

(Excerpt from an interview)

Valentin Grigore and… “Johannes Kepler”:


In the end of the Opening Ceremony,
the American group of violinists Kronos Quartet gave a concerto,
“Sun Rings”,
accompanied by the UNESCO Choir
and using images and sounds collected from space by NASA:



This is your legacy,
in order to become richer,
we always want more Universe…

-Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
(chronicler of this web project)-


The International Year of Astronomy
is a celebration for all the people.
It is the time to demonstrate that
the Sky
truly unites us,
truly ennobles us,
truly calls us to give ourselves to the others
as it gives itself to everybody…

-Valentin Grigore
(photographer of this web project)-