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World Astronomy Day

April 21, 2007

Join us in our celebration of reaching more than 35,000 people worldwide!

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!

"Iran Astronomy Day was very successful. We had so many people attend in events all over Iran that we would guess there were many more than 5000 who participated around the country." -- Iran Astronomers

"We had over 350 in attendance during the 6 hours we had the event. There were 5 Planetarium programs, solar viewing, and many make and take activities." --Kansas City, MO

"The Irish Astronomical Association (IAA) held a public star party at Carnfunnock Country Park, near Larne, N. Ireland on 21 April to celebrate International Astronomy day. The plan was to observe Saturn, which is well positioned in Leo at the moment. Unfortunately it was clouded out that evening. We had about 30 attendees, including the park staff. The poor weather deterred the normally keen observers. Nevertheless, two of our members Derek Heatly (the “Ulsternaut”) and Dr Andy McCrea gave public lectures. Derek described his experiences of weightless flights at the Russian Space centre and his plans to be the first Ulster space tourist (hence the term “Ulsternaut”!). Andy did a talk on the wonders of the April night sky plus a mini tour of the solar system planets. Money raised by book/video sales etc. at the meeting will be donated to Northern Ireland Leukaemia Research charity." --Lame, Ireland

"We had over 250 people stop to view Saturn & our Moon. We will have a story in in the Trib in May about SWA in advance of ISAN." --Latin School & Chicago Sidewalk Astronomers, Chicago, IL

"The Tri-State Astronomers (TSA) based in Hagerstown, MD celebrated Astronomy Day on Friday and Saturday, April 20 & 21. We set up over 20 telescopes at the Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD. Both nights were exceptionally clear and mild. We had over 200 guests on Friday and over 300 on Saturday! One of our most successful Astronomy Day Public Star Parties ever! Guests started showing up around 7:30 and the last ones left around 11 pm each night. We had plenty of pamphlets and information sheets to hand out courtesy of Sky & Telescope and Astronomy Magazine. One long time TSA member said: "I've never had so many people waiting to look through my scope!" Views of the Moon and Saturn drew the most exciting remarks from our guests. Some asked to look at specific objects (i.e., M51, M65 & M66) Overall it was our best Astronomy Day ever for the TSA!" --Tri-State Astronomers, Hagerstown, MD

"We had a great day that centered around StarLab shows! --Custer Institute, New York

"This is Ireland and there was of course 100,000,000 clouds in the sky above Sandymount in Dublin. Most of these were laden with tons of water so there were few people out strolling for the good of their health that evening. Once again we arrived and set up some of our telescopes in the hope of a break in the weather. As I said in Friday’s report, people are fascinated with telescopes, they attract people and that’s basically the way the evening unfolded. John Murphy, Patricia Carroll Elizabeth Caird, Myself and Michael Murphy from SDAS were on hand to answer peoples questions. Connor and Ben Murphy manned the UNICEF buckets and did a great job collecting for children supported by UNICEF. They gave out our information and Global Parent leaflets also. “What’s going on”? “How far can you see with that”? “How much does something like that cost “? “Is it heavy”? “Can you really see Saturn”? “I used to be into astronomy how do I get involved”? “Great idea to do this for UNICEF” “Will you be here again and when”? “I came last year for Chernobyl and saw Jupiter; I was hoping to see Saturn and Venus” “I just love stars, what is that really bright one in the sky at the moment”? These were some of the comments made by people who stopped by for a chat about astronomy and to give to UNICEF. We talked Astronomy, Venus, Moon, Saturn and Telescopes for the evening. People wanted to look through the telescopes so (and not for the first time) I demonstrated the magnification of my scope by landing peoples eyes on the decks of ferries coming out of Dublin Port. J The rust on the Poolbeg towers was another target, also signs on building several miles away gave people some idea of what telescopes can do. We also explained how they worked and why objects are upside down in them. So there was a little edutainment going on in Sandymount for a few hours. Duncan Stewart from TV came down for a chat and a look, he was very interested in my telescope. We had a very long talk about astronomy in Ireland, light pollution, telescopes, astronomical sketching, UNICEF and the concept of Astronomy Day. We had no Moon, no Venus, no Saturn to share with people, but we shared our enthusiasm for astronomy. We shared our knowledge and we talked and talked and talked astronomy from 8:30pm till 10:00pm to around 35 people who came down to listen. We wound up early as it looked like rain, finished up with a little French coffee to warm us against the chilly breeze coming off the sea. Now if you have been entertained, amused, intrigued, or inspired by this thread then you can jump in and give a donation to UNICEF Ireland at this page and if you are doing this, write Look Up for UNICEF in the comment box at the end so UNICEF will know it came from this effort." --Sandymount, Dublin, Ireland

"Our first combined club Astronomy Day on April 7 was a bit unlucky... It snowed the whole time! Despite poor weather, we still had around 30 attendees. By April 21, we couldn't have asked for better weather or participation! Glorious sunny skies, more visitors than we have ever seen before, a crystal clear night and the Lyrid Meteors! We lost count at over 320 guests... It was our best Astronomy Day ever!" --Warren Rupp Observatory and Astronomy For Youth, Mansifeld, OH

"I had the opportunity to visit in Cincinnati for Astronomy Day on the Levee. It was great!" -- Cincinnati, OH

"Downeast Amateur Astronomers - Astronomy Day were at the Heritage Museum with telescope displays, solar viewing, handouts and more!" --Calais, Maine

"The weather on Saturday, April 21st was fantastic! Normally, the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society holds its activities whenever the Kalamazoo Nature Center holds Free Admission Day. This year, however, those two dates were the same. So, the KAS held its Astronomy Day bash on the "officially" recognized date. This years theme was NASA's Great Observatories. These include the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Spitzer Space Telescope, and the legendary Hubble Space Telescope. This year, our theme displays were the best ever. We had a full compliment of hands-on activities this year. To go along with our theme, we brought back the Hubble Space Telescope models. Kids made their own mini-HST out of a 6 ounce tomato paste can and a toilet paper roll all wrapped in aluminum foil. Our second hands-on activity allowed kids to cut out and decorate stars of different colors and shapes. We provided some whacky face stickers, star stickers, glitter pens, and other fun items so the kids could create a custom star pal. Perhaps not terribly educational, but the kids loved it! The third hands-on activity was the coloring table. We had six different works of art to choose from. The KAS again had two special attractions at this years Astronomy Day. The first was Astronomy Day Theater. The other special attraction was a big hit. I've been wanting to do an "Ask the Astronomer" feature for sometime, but I was trying to think of something more interesting than just someone answering questions at a boring table. One day it hit me - design a stand after Lucy's "Psychiatric Help 5¢" stand from The Peanuts cartoons. I'd be shocked if some club somewhere hasn't done the same thing. Seems only natural to me! Thanks to the spectacular conditions, we easily surpassed last years Astronomy Day observing attendance." --Kalamazoo, MI

"Held on the same day as Earth Day, Astronomy Day Activities in Evansville, Indiana attracted about 300 persons. Activities were organized by the Evansville Museum and executed by the Evansville Astronomical Society. The celebration included planetarium shows in a 10 meter fixed dome planetarium and a 6 meter portable planetarium, make-it-take it activities for children, comet making demonstrations using dry ice, a Mars Lander egg drop, an astrophotography display and solar and lunar observing. Neighborhood Star Watches (AL Best New Idea in 2004) took place clear skies at four sites. Z. Nagin Cox, from JPL presented the Museum's Adventures in Science lecture which described her personal experiences with the historic Gallileo Mission to Jupiter." --Evansville, IN

"Our presumption is that it will be around 200-300 people would come but we were overwhelmed by around 500 peoples, most of them from schools and kids with their parents. The activities include planetarium shows, sunspot observation, astronomy talks, try it yourself of planisphere and at night we had star and planet observation." --Sarawak Planetarium, Malaysia

"Astronomy Day was held successfully in Iran with cooperation of the astronomical society of Iran (amateur committee) and several astronomy groups from all over Iran in 2007. Astronomy day was held in over 53 cities .this report is regarding astronomy day in Tehran where the central programs were held. The reports of the other cite are still being collected & a complete report will be sent as soon as possible. Tehran is highly populated city therefore; we decided to host a splendid and grand event in the capital of Iran.

Astronomy day programs were held in various sites, how ever the main events were at Mellat Park which is one of the largest and most crowded parks in the city. Planning for the events began months in advance. The cultural department of district3 of the municipality of Tehran was very helpful to us in obtaining permission to use Mellat Park, to install large advertisement billboards throughout the city and to install very long tents in Mellat park .this year a lot of effort was put into extensive advertising about astronomy day as follows: 1. Several TV shows 2. Several articles in news papers 3. Install large advertisement billboards throughout the city 4. Putting up 2000 posters on city buses 5. Install large advertisement billboards and posters in the airports, train station and bus terminals

Thousands of people attended the programs in Mellat park.óAs result of these attempts, In Iran the weekend is on Friday, therefore astronomy day was held on April 20 from 10Am to 9 Pm The programs included 3 parts: :1) Speeches & slide shows 2) Observing the sun, the moon, planets, etc 3) Exhibits of astronomical models, posters, instruments. * Speeches and slide shows: A temporary stage was setup in an open area of the park for speeches and slid shows about the night sky of Iran and a live performance of Galileo's trial *Observation: In observing the celestial objects we used 12 telescopes and 2 binoculars * Exhibits: There was a wide range of stalls that were mostly set up in tents:. The stalls included the following: 1. ten young men dressed as the most famous Iranian and international astronomers in the past such as, Ptolemy, Kepler, Copernicus, Abou Rayahan Beeroni, Khayam, Boo Ali Sina and personifying these characters 2. A collection of old astronomical instruments such as astrolabe, quarter & etc 3. Models and posters showing ancient believes about the cosmos .for example a model showing the Indian believe that the earth is on the tusks of 4 elephants that are standing on the back of a turtle ,atlas mythology ,Ptolemy model and Copernicus model of the world. 4. Explaining the relationship between different months and related ecliptic constellations by using 2 models of ecliptic. 5. information about all kinds of sundials , arranging an exhibition of different models of existing sundials , providing 4 paper model kits of sundials for visitors and assistant them how to make them on spot. Also models of a few famous ancient sundials from Egypt and Babylon. 6. Making a huge model of a 1.5 meter planesphere and providing the visitors information regarding how to work with it. 7. Intruducing constellations using different posters. Exhibiting a collection of small statutes symbolizing the Zodiac signs and exploring the mythological background of each sign. 8. Introducing radio astronomy, radio telescopes, arrays, Jupiter and meteor waves detectors. 9. Putting a collection of different telescopes on exhibition 10. Teaching the visitors how to make a Newtonian Telescope Mirror. 11. Introduction to professional astronomical instruments provided by Tehran University students. 12. Introdusing different calendars, their history and different methods of the creation of the calendars.13. Familiearization of the moon to the public and give them information about methods of observing the moon and new moons. 14. Air pollution and light pollution and introducing methods of reduction of these pollutions. 15. Astronomical articles in children encyclopedia 16. Exhibiting and selling books, CDs and other teaching aids related to astronomy 17. Introducing Nojum (astronomy) magazine. 18. Introdusing astronomical society of Iran and astronomical contests such as Messier marathon. 19. Exibiting the Iranian space association activities. 20. Space travel and space technology and its effects on human life 21. Several models of space shuttles, rockets and space crafts. 22. Introdusing aerospace provided by Khajenasir university students 23. Bad astronomy and UFO's 24. A replica of the surface of Mars and Esprit and Opportunity models on it in a tent 25. Providing two models of solar system, one showing the orbits and the other one showing the ratio of the real size of the planets together. 26. Modes and posters about meteors, meteor showers and exhibiting different meteorites. 27. Finding time in different time zones by using an instrument designed by a group of astronomy students of the Association and their tutor. 28. Calculating the visitors' weight and age in other planets of the solar system. 29. A question and answer boot 30. Stars and their evolution 31. Introducing different kinds of nebulas, galaxies and star clusters by using plenty of posters and a model of the Milky Way. 32. Providing information and giving advice about astronomical photography instruments and how to use them. 33. Exhibiting Copy of famous astronomical paintings 34. Introducing Photometer and Spectroscope and their usage in astronomy. 35. Explaining Astronomical terminology by a computer software and animation and posters. 36. Giving information about cosmology 37. Arranging Astronomical games for young visitors such as Astronomical Snake and Ladder and astronomical puzzles. 38. Creating Astronomical shapes such as planets, asteroids, aliens, etc by Paper Mache techniques. 39. Arranging a painting stall for young children. 40. Providing the young visitors with face painting 41. Theching astronomy using songs for children 42. The time line of history of astronomy was painted on fabric 30 meters long

Displayed on the ground, highlighting large 3d models of famous structures such as Stonehenge, Arecibo radio telescope.We included several other interesting events during the day: 2000 roses and 10000greeting cards were handed out. A man dressed in an alien costume was walking around the park. An astronomy contest was held in which the winner received A telescope. Several TV stations covered the programs partly life.A number of well known professional astronomers were present among the public to speak or answer questions. It was the corporation of the Iranian space association, Nojum (astronomy)magazine, Sharief University of Technology students, Research and Science department of Azad University students ,khaje nasir university students and groups of students from Hunan , Shokoofeh ,Noavar and Narges High schools and others that made this day possible.

During this week a large number of different special programs were held in schools universities and kindergartens with the corporation of the astronomical society of Iran: Other programs were provided for those who were unable to attend the astronomy day programs these programs included: 1. Observing the moon, planets and other celestial objects in juvenile detention facilities. 2. Programs fore children in orphanages and children with mental disabilities 3. Programs in elder homes (Due to weather a number of these programs were delayed to after astronomy week) Another interesting program in astronomy week was the festival of astronomy websites and web loges which was held whit the cooperation of the Iranian space association and the astronomical society of Iran. Using newspaper, TV shows and our website, we invited website and weblog hosts to participate in this festival. More than 90 people participated in this program and the best websites and webloges were introduced during a ceremony at Iranian space association amphitheater on astronomy day." --Iran Astronomers

"Iran Amateur of Astronomy Society (IAAS) celebrated the Astronomy Day and Week in Iran. There were lots of activities and programs that attract people in all range of ages specially Old People.

The main programs:

1. Astronomical Shows for students of schools and universities
2. Bringing astronomy among aged people

Also only group that celebrated astronomy day on Saturday 21st of April in Iran was Iran Amateur of astronomy society. The pictures show our wide activities during astronomy week and day." -- Iran Amateur Astronomy Society

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Related Links:

Find out more about Astronomy Day

Get the latest Astronomy Day Handbook from Sky and Telescope.

Read some tips for planning your Astronomy Day activities.

Find an Astronomy Day Activity in April or in September near you.

Send an Astronomy Day Activity update to the Astronomical League.

Return to Astronomical League Home Page.

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