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. National Astronomy Day celebrates the wonderful world of stargazing.
Astronomy Day is a movable holiday that takes place twice each year, once in late April or early May, and once in October, during the week of the first quarter Moon. The first quarter Moon is a good time to view the stars, because the sky is relatively dark then.
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, and malls, as a way to bring astronomy “to the people.” Since then, the event has grown to international proportions, with amateur astronomy clubs, planetariums, observatories, and other science organizations throughout the world hosting special events twice each year in honor of Astronomy Day.
To celebrate the day, 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 Day 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 your area, or check the events listings in your local paper.
Happy sky watching!