Looking for something to do on Saturday? Make plans to celebrate Spring Astronomy Day on April 21st!
Astronomy Day, a day of outreach and education for amateur astronomers, comes twice a year — once in the spring and once in the autumn. Astronomy Day dates back to 1973, when Doug Berger, then president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California, decided to take advantage of local resources to "bring astronomy to the people." The idea was to bring as many of your friends, family, and fellow citizens into the amateur astronomy community as possible, and that’s still the impetus behind the holiday today.
Today, many types of institutions across the U.S. and Canada, as well as in many countries around the world, participate in the celebration: Observatories often hold open houses, astronomy clubs host solar and night-time observing events, and planetariums schedule special shows aimed at a general audience. You don’t have to be an expert to participate, and most programs are aimed at all ages.
This year, Spring Astronomy Day falls on Saturday, April 21st. Most celebrations will occur on that day, but some groups host events on other dates that better suit their needs; be sure to check their calendars for alternate dates. Below are just a few possibilities for astronomy and observing fun. If you don't belong to an astronomy club and want to find a local group or planetarium that's hosting an event, check out our directory of clubs, observatories, planetariums, and science museums from around the world.
British Columbia Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Royal BC Museum Internationl Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Victoria
British Columbia Simon Fraser University’s Rendezvous and International Astronomy Day, Saturday, May 12, 2018, 11:00 a.m.–:00 p.m., SFU’s Burnaby Mountain Campus, Burnaby
Ontario Peterborough Astronomical Association Astronomy Day, Saturday, May 26, 2018, 12:00.–4:00 p.m.; 8:30 p.m.–12:00 a.m., Riverview Park and Zoo (daytime) / Armour Hill (evening observing), Peterborough
Ontario Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Toronto Centre International Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 10:00 a.m. –10:00 p.m., Ontario Science Centre, Toronto
Quebec Club d’Astronomie de Dorval/Astronomy Club of Dorval International Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21 (Samedi 21 avril) 2018, 3:00 p.m. .–11:00 p.m. approximately (de 15h-23h environ), Dorval
Alaska International Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m., Anchorage Museum, 625 C Street, Anchorage
Arizona, Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association Astronomy Festival, Sunday, April 22, 2018, 3:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m., 3482 E River Road, Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, Tucson
Arkansas Central Arkansas Astronomical Society National Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 2:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m., Visitor Center, Pinnacle Mountain State Park
California California Academy of Sciences Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Golden Gate Park, CalAcademy Piazza
Connecticut The Children’s Museum Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, events all day, solar observing 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m., The Children's Museum, West Hartford
Illinois Northwest Suburban Astronomers Club & Harper College Departmetn of Physcial Sciences Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, beginning 5:30 p.m., Building Z, Harper College, Des Plaines
Kentucky West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12:00–4:00 p.m, Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory, Land Between The Lakes
Louisiana Highland Road Park Observatory, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 3:00–11:00 p.m., Baton Rouge (binoculars recommended after 7:30 p.m.)
Louisiana Louisiana Art & Science Museum National Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 10:00–2:00 p.m., 100 River Road South, Baton Rouge
Massachusetts, Springfield Museums Annual Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., 21 Edwards Street, Springfield
Michigan Cranbrook Institute of Science Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 1:00–4:00 p.m., Bloomfield Hills
Michigan Kalamazoo Astronomical Society, Saturday, May 14, 2016, 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Portage District Library, beginning 7:00 p.m., Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo
New York Buffalo Astronomical Society Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 28, 2018, 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Parkway, Buffalo
Oregon OMSI Star Party: Astronomy Day Celebration, Saturday, April 21, 2018, beginning 7:00 p.m., Rooster Rock State Park (22 miles east of Portland) and L.L. "Stub" Stewart State Park, (34 miles west of Portland)
Tennessee West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12:00–4:00 p.m, Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory, Land Between The Lakes
Wisconsin, Barlow Planetarium Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12:00–5:00 p.m., University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, Menasha
Need Help Planning Astronomy Day?
To help organizations and individuals plan Astronomy Day programs, the Astronomical League and Sky & Telescope partnered to write the Astronomy Day Handbook. Written by David H. Levy and updated by Gary Tomlinson, the guide offers suggestions for conducting large and small programs. It also includes the rules and entry forms for the Astronomy Day Award, a prize co-sponsored by Sky & Telescope, the American Astronomical Society, and the Astronomical League. The award is given annually to the groups whose programs do the best job of "Bringing Astronomy to the People." The 2018 deadline for submissions is June 13th.
Also available for printing and handing out is the Astronomical League's The ABCs of Stargazing sheet, which can help you explain the basics of our hobby to newcomers. Consider distributing the Good Outdoor Neighbor Lighting flyer, an information sheet on light pollution and how we can work together to minimize it, at your event as well.