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!
What Is Astronomy Day?
Astronomy Day is an event that takes place twice each year, once in late April or early May (known as “Spring Astronomy Day” – in 2021 it’s Saturday, May 15th), and once in September or October (known as “Fall Astronomy Day” – in 2021 it’s October 9th), 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.
This “holiday” was created in 1973 by California astronomer Doug Berger. During the first observance, 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.
How To Celebrate National Astronomy Day
Check with your local planetarium or museum to see if they have any programs planned, whether in person or online. Many are happy to simply take their first look through a telescope or set of high-powered binoculars right in their own backyards. Be sure to check out our guide to the visible planets!
Consider joining your local astronomy club. If you ever felt self-conscious about your lack of knowledge, fret not! They’re happy to introduce new astronomers to the hobby of stargazing.