If you’ve been thinking about taking up sky watching as a hobby, but don’t know where to begin, there’s no time like the present to learn. Astronomy Week, celebrated twice a year, is a weeklong celebration of stargazing and learning about the celestial world.
Astronomy week is a movable holiday, and takes place each year in late April or early May, during the week of the first quarter Moon. National Astronomy Day was created in 1973 by California astronomer Doug Berger. During the first observance of Astronomy Day, Berger set up telescopes in busy urban locations, such as street corners, parks, malls, etc., as a way to bring astronomy “to the people.” Since then, the event has grown to national proportions, with amateur astronomy clubs, planetariums, observatories and other science organizations throughout the country hosting special events each year in honor of Astronomy Day.
While National Astronomy Day is a holiday specific to the United States, the celebration has grown over the years. This year marks the first year that the entire month of April is recognized as Global Astronomy Month.
Throughout the coming week, millions of people will enjoy taking their first look through a telescope or set of high-powered binoculars. If you’ve ever considered joining your local astronomy club, but felt self-conscious about your lack of knowledge, now is the time to reach out and visit. Astronomy Week programs are geared towards novices, in a friendly, non-intimidating atmosphere. Contact your local amateur astronomy club, science center, or observatory for a list of programs in you area, or check the events listings in your local paper.
Happy sky watching!