The Royal Australian Mint joined with the Canberra Astronomical Society to create a night of star-gazing in celebration of the IYA2009 in commemoration of the International Year of Astronomy.
The coins were in fact issued prior to the IYA2009 itself, on 7 November 2008.
Janine Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Australian Mint was quoted saying "In 2009 the world celebrates the exploration of our universe. It marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first use of the telescope and recognizes his revolutionary discoveries that began modern astronomy"
The numismatic collection was really a boost for the IYA 2009 as it needs much reputation.
Other countries are encouraged to launch IYA 2009 stamps to promote astronomy and International Year of Astronomy in general.
Out of both coins, $ 1 coin features CSIRo's Parkes radio telescope known as "The Dish" whereas the 20-cent illustrates a star-gazing amateur astronomer, who is ina background, filled with stars and constellation.
Go here if you want to order the coins online.
The following image shows you the Astrophotographer David Malin and Director of the Anlgo-Australian Observatory, Professor Matthew Colless, at the launch of the IYA coins.
You can also browse more information from IYA2009 blog here.
Some Other Links :
About the Royal Australian MintHis Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the Royal Australian Mint, Canberra, on Monday 22nd February 1965. The Mint was commissioned to produce Australia’s decimal coinage, which was to be introduced into circulation on 14th February 1966. The Royal Australian Mint holds a place in history as the first mint in Australia not to be a branch of the Royal Mint, London.
Since opening in 1965 the Mint has produced over eleven billion circulating coins and has the capacity to produce over two million coins per day, or over six hundred million coins per year.
The Royal Australian Mint has struck coins for a number of South Pacific nations. Export coins were first struck in 1969 for New Zealand and, since then, coins have been produced for Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Western Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, Israel and Tokelau.
Here are some more photos of Australian IYA2009 coins.