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Pale Blue Dot Symposium

30 Years of Pale Blue Dot - 14 February 2020, Kaiserzaal, Old Observatory - The Pale Blue Dot Symposium is an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic picture showing the Earth as a tiny speck in the vastness of space and to discuss its impact on humankind. At the end of the symposium, the brand new exhibition, 'Living in the shadow of radio telescopes and the Drake Equation', will be officially opened.

Pale Blue Dot

On 14 February 1990, a photo of our planet was taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from the outer region of our Solar System. This "Pale Blue Dot" image was followed in 2006 by another spectacular photograph of our planet, taken from a location close to Saturn by the NASA-ESA-ASI Cassini-Huygens mission. These Pale Blue Dot photos give a unique perspective of our home and its place in the Universe and convey an important message about our planet that is relevant to the present state of our species and an inspiration for future generations. Perspective and awe about our place in the Universe is an inspirational tool that Leiden Observatory uses to reach out to young children globally with projects such as Universe Awareness and Pale Blue Dot. The aim is to use astronomy to stimulate tolerance and internationalism and thereby to further the UN Sustainable Development Goals that involve peace, education and climate action.

The symposium will include talks about the search for life on extrasolar planets, how the pale blue dot perspective can be used to stimulate a sense of global citizenship and its cultural implications.

The Pale Blue Dot symposium and related activities will conclude the series of international events that have been held during the past year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Astronomical Union. After the symposium, a new photo exhibition "Living in the shadow of radio telescopes and the Drake Equation" will be opened, followed by a reception. 

Upcoming Photo Exhibition "Living in the shadow of radio telescopes and the Drake Equation"

Photo exhibition about the Radio Quiet Zone, Green Bank, West Virginia, USA
By Paul Kranzler & Andrew Phelps 

The US National Radio Quiet Zone is a 30,000 square kilometre region in West Virginia that houses some of the world's largest radio telescopes, owned and operated by the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory. The "Radio Quiet Zone" was created in the 1950s around the small, remote community of Green Bank, because of its sparse population and lack of industry. During recent years many people have moved into the area around Green Bank because of the lack of radio noise and wireless wifi Internet. It was at the Green Bank Observatory in the 1950s that the radio astronomer Frank Drake first estimated the probability of finding intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.

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