By Madison Mooney
National Astronomy Day was started in 1973 by Doug Berger, the president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California at the time. Originally, the day was celebrated locally by bringing telescopes to urban areas, where many people had never had the opportunity to look through a telescope before. Berger wanted to make the wonders of the cosmos accessible to everyone.
Today, National Astronomy Day has grown to include organizations and groups from all over the world. In 2006, the holiday was amended to include a second day of celebration in the fall, allowing stargazers to appreciate the planets, stars, and constellations visible at another point in the year.
Though many in-person events for National Astronomy Day have been canceled due to COVID-19, we’re continuing the tradition with a very special live stream on Saturday, May 2. Starting at 6pm AZ/Pacific, we will have live talks from Lowell astronomers and educators sharing their perspectives on astronomy as both a profession and a hobby that inspires us all. Topics include getting started in astronomy while everyone is at home practicing social distancing and doing at-home astronomy activities for kids. We’ll also look at the legacy of Robert Burnham, who authored the authoritative Burnham’s Celestial Handbook for both beginning and advanced amateur astronomers. The live stream will wrap up with a preview of the coming week’s celestial events, including a look at the dance of the planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
Be sure to set a reminder so you don’t miss out!