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International Astronomy Day

April 28, 2012 — Saturday, April 27th is International Astronomy Day. What better way to celebrate than heading to your local museum for a star party?

Try out a telescope and explore our beautiful universe
Try out a telescope and explore our beautiful universe

On Saturday, April 28th skywatchers worldwide celebrate 39th International Astronomy Day where museums, planetariums and local astronomy clubs set up their telescopes for public star parties. These free events offer a great opportunity to look through telescopes for the first time and get a chance to introduce children to the wonders of the universe.

Some of the highlights skywatchers can expect to see this weekend include Venus in the western sky after sunset. At 80-million kilometres from Earth it shines as the second brightest celestial object at night, after the moon.  Through high magnification through backyard telescopes Venus appears as a miniature version of the crescent moon. 

Meanwhile high in the south is the quarter Moon and the planet Mars. Joining the red planet is the 78 light year distant star Regulus, the lead member of the constellation Leo. Lower left of this cosmic pair is Saturn, whose majestic rings are easily resolved even through the smallest of backyard scopes. Joining the ringed planet is 264 light year distant Spica - the brightest member of the Virgo constellation.

Across Canada local chapters of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will be holding free public star parties on April 28th for International Astronomy Day. 

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