400 years of the telescope celebrated

As a member of the IYA 2009 National Organizing Committee (NOC), NISMED, represented by its Director, managed the conduct of the regional and national levels IYA competition. With the support of the DepED national and regional offices, 11 regional competitions were conducted. The highest team scorers for secondary level and the highest individual scorer for tertiary level in each region participated in the national competition. The Regional Test was made up of multiple-choice questions while the National Test was a combination of multiple-choice items, open-ended questions and a practical exam using the telescope. The tests covered topics in astronomy and space science using three levels of cognitive domain: factual knowledge, conceptual understanding, and reasoning and analysis. Test administrators representing the NOC agencies administered the test and scored the papers with the DepED Regional IYA coordinators, using a common scoring guide.
For the secondary level, the team winners were: Philippine Science High School Camarines Sur Campus, Region V, (1st), Philippine Science High School Southern Mindanao Campus, Region X1 (2nd), and Pasig Science High School, NCR (3rd). For the tertiary level, the winners were from Siliman University, Region VII (1st), UP Diliman, NCR (2nd), and Mindanao State University General Santos Campus, Region XII (3rd). Cash prizes and plaques were given to the national winners while the regional winners received consolation prizes.
Two participants take their time in answering the practical portion of the Astronomy Olympiad.
The year-round IYA celebration was headed by PAGASA and funded by the DOST-GIA Philippine Participation in the 2009 IYA. The global celebration commemorated the 400th anniversary of the first use of a telescope for astronomical purposes by Galileo Galilei. It was aimed to stimulate worldwide interests, especially among young people, in astronomy and science. Launched in February 2009 at the SM Mall of Asia, the Philippine celebration started with an exhibit of images from the IYA organizers and a talk about Jupiter’s Red Spot by Christopher Go (a Filipino imager who discovered the feature), a tour of the science-based interactive exhibits, and a film show about space at the Science Discovery Center.
Other activities related to the celebration of IYA 2009 organized by varied groups included 100 hours of Astronomy on April 2 to 5, 2009 and Sidewalk Astronomy on April 4, 2009. Astronomy Olympiad at the Regional and National Levels and the National Astronomy Congress were postponed to February 2010 because of Typhoon Ondoy and other calamities that claimed lives and destroyed properties in the last quarter of 2009.