Astronomy is still a leader in new discoveries. The 2011 Noble Prize in Physics went to Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmmidt and Adam G. Riess “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae.”
The year 2009 was established as the International Year of Astronomy by the United Nations with the aim to “help the citizens rediscover their place in the Universe”. This year was picked up as exactly 400 years passed since the first ever use of the telescope for astronomical observations, by Galileo Galilei. The action stirred a lot of activity coordinated through a special website accompanied by over 130 national nodes. Several global projects like “100 Hours of Astronomy” (2 – 5 April 2009) or Galileoscope (cheap telescope for everybody!) went along with the numerous local scale events like public lectures, opened nights at observatories, exhibitions like night sky photography, art and science competitions for children and many others. Some of this activity continues till now, for example in the form of the IAU project “Astronomy for a Better World“.