The International Year of Astronomy (IYA) was declared by UNESCO for 2009, the 400th anniversary of the first telescopic observations of the sky by Galileo. The aim of the IYA was to stimulate worldwide interest, especially among young people, in astronomy and science under the central theme The Universe, Yours to Discover. In Canada, the Canadian Astronomical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Federation des Astronomes Amateurs du Quebec worked together to develop Canadian IYA activities.
The RASC Edmonton Centre and its astronomy partners delivered over 250 astronomy events in the Edmonton area. The events included star parties, public lectures, sidewalk astronomy, observing nights, raising public awareness, and helping science teachers teach astronomy. These events were attended by some 25,000 people over the year.