Astronomy Day Fact Sheet

Astronomy Day

Astronomy Day Headquarters: Astronomy Day Logo
Gary Tomlinson
Astronomy Day Headquarters
30 Stargazer Lane
Comstock Park MI 49321
(616) 784-9518

E-mail: gtomlins@sbcglobal.net


 

Fact Sheet 

Astronomy Day is a grass roots movement designed to share the joy of astronomy with the general population - "Bringing Astronomy to the People."  On Astronomy Day, thousands of people who have never looked through a telescope will have an opportunity to see first hand what has so many amateur and professional astronomers all excited.  Astronomy clubs, science museums, observatories, universities, planetariums, laboratories, libraries, and nature centers host special events and activities to acquaint their population with local astronomical resources and facilities.  Many of these events are located at non-astronomical sites; shopping malls, parks, urban centers—truly Bringing Astronomy to the People.  It is an astronomical PR event that helps highlight ways the general public can get involved with astronomy - or at least get some of their questions about astronomy answered.  Astronomy Week encompasses Astronomy Day starting on the previous Monday and ending on the following Sunday. 

When 

Dates of Astronomy Day are as follows: 

Year 1st quarter Moon Astronomy Day Days from New Moon Astronomy Week Theme**
20071 Tues 4/24

Tues 9/19

4/21

9/15

4

4

4/16-22

9/10-16

 
2008 Mon 5/12 5/10* 5 5/5-11  
2009 Fri 5/1 5/2 8 4/29-5/3 International Year of Astronomy
2010 Wed 4/21 4/24 10 4/19-25  
2011 Tues 5/10 5/7 4 5/2-8  
2012 Mon 4/30 4/28 5 4/23-29 Transit of Venus
2013 Thur 4/18 4/20 9 4/15-21  
2014 Wed 5/7 5/10* 10 5/5-11  

*Mother’s Day weekend in the US 

**The theme of Astronomy Day is “Bringing Astronomy to the People,” but on occasion there is an additional theme (but not always) when conditions warrant.  This additional theme is often decided just a few months prior to Astronomy Day so be sure to check this web site annually for any additional theme. 

Astronomy Day occurs sometime between mid April and mid May on a Saturday near or before the 1st quarter Moon.  Astronomy Week was created to give sponsoring organizations a longer period of time to host special events.  Some local Astronomy Week celebrations have actually been longer than just one week. 

Where 

Astronomy Day events take place at hundreds of sites across the United States.  Internationally England, Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, the Philippines, Argentina, Malaysia, New Guinea plus many other countries have hosted Astronomy Day activities.  Each location plans and executes events that work best for their local area.  To locate the nearest event or to list your event see: http://www.astroleague.org/al/astroday/astroday.html 

What 

Activities have included talks by astronauts, astronomers and NASA personnel, Moon rocks, a Moon gravity simulator, games, prizes, astronomical food, scale models of the solar system, space hardware, space ballets and poetry and, of course, actual outdoor observing (daytime and nighttime) with a telescope.  Daytime observations include SAFE ways to observe the Sun.  Many organizations host elaborate exhibits at shopping malls, museums, nature centers, libraries, etc.  Teachers have used Astronomy Day to promote the study of astronomy with their classes. 

History 

Astronomy Day was born in California in 1973.  Doug Berger, then president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California, decided that rather than try to entice people to travel long distances to visit observatory open houses, they would set up telescopes closer to where the people were - busy locations - urban locations like street corners, shopping malls, parks, etc.  

His strategy paid off.  Not only did Astronomy Day go over with a bang, not only did the public find out about the astronomy club, they found out about future observatory open houses.  Since the public got a chance to look through a portable telescope, they were hooked.  Then wanted to see what went on at the bigger telescopes, so they turned out in droves at the next observatory open house. 

Assistance 

The Astronomical League maintains an office to assist groups who want to host special Astronomy Day events.  This office attempts to gain publicity for the day in general and, in cooperation with Sky & Telescope magazine, the Astronomy Day Headquarters has a free handbook listing ideas, activities, resources and suggestions for groups wishing to host Astronomy Day events available for FREE downloading at: http://SkyTonight.com/astronomyday 
 

Also, in cooperation with Sky & Telescope, the League sponsors an award for the groups that hosts the best Astronomy Day event.  First prize is a $250.00 Sky Publishing gift certificate.  For rules and entry forms go to http://www.astroleague.org/al/astroday/astrodayform.html 

ASTRONOMY DAY COSPONSORS 

Astronomy Day is cosponsored by 14 astronomical and astronomy education originations.  They are: 

ASTRONOMICAL LEAGUE www.astroleague.org 

ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF THE PACIFIC http://www.astrosociety.org/ 

THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA http://www.rasc.ca/ 

AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY http://www.aas.org 

ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

http://www.aanc-astronomy.org/ 

WESTERN AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS http://www.waa.av.org/ 

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PHYSICS TEACHERS http://www.aapt.org/ 

ASSOCIATION OF LUNAR AND PLANETARY OBSERVERS http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/alpo/ 

AMERICAN METEOR SOCIETY  http://www.amsmeteors.org/ 

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF VARIABLE STAR OBSERVERS http://www.aavso.org/ 

THE PLANETARY SOCIETY http://planetary.org/index.html 

NATIONAL SPACE SOCIETY http://www.nss.org/ 

INTERNATIONAL PLANETARIUM SOCIETY http://www.ips-planetarium.org/ 

ASSOCIATION OF ASTRONOMY EDUCATORS http://solar.physics.montana.edu/aae/ 

In addition, the INTERNATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL UNION http://www.iau.org/, a world wide group of professional astronomers, has endorsed the concept of Astronomy Day 

For more information, contact:  Astronomy Day Headquarters:

Gary Tomlinson

Astronomy Day Coordinator

30 Stargazer Lane

Comstock Park MI 49321

gtomlins@sbcglobal.net

More Information...

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