Astronomy Day + International Observe the Moon Night = Weekend of Fun

This year Fall Astronomy Day and International Observe the Moon Night share a square on the calendar.

Grand Canyon Star Party

Scene from the 23rd Annual Grand Canyon Star Party with the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (South Rim) and the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix (North Rim), 2013
National Park Service / Michael Quinn

Twice a year — one day each spring and fall — Astronomy Day is celebrated worldwide. Amateur astronomy clubs, planetariums, science museums, and other institutions sponsor events to share the wonders and excitement of astronomy with their communities. The theme of Astronomy Day is “Bringing Astronomy to the People,” and that’s something many astronomy fans can hardly wait to do — share their enthusiasm and knowledge. Each Astronomy Day is a festival of fun, featuring star parties, workshops, planetarium shows, and similar programs aimed a general audience.

Originally a solo spring event, in 2007 the Astronomical League began promoting an autumn Astronomy Day, celebrated between mid-September and mid-October on a Saturday close to the first-quarter Moon. In 2015, Fall Astronomy Day is September 19th.

Moon at first quarter

First quarter Moon, taken with a Canon T4i at prime focus on a 90-mm Celestron C90 (1250-mm focal length), July 6, 2014
Neal Simpson

This year, Fall Astronomy Day coincides with International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN), an evening dedicated to the observations and study of our near neighbor. Like Astronomy Day, InOMN provides an opportunity for astronomy clubs, planetariums, and science museums to share the night sky with a local audience. Many clubs are using these as “warm up” events for the upcoming lunar eclipse (September 27-28th).

Below are just a few possibilities for Astronomy Day/InOMN activities. If you don't belong to an astronomy club and want to find a local club or planetarium that might be hosting an Astronomy Day/InOMN celebration, check out our directory of clubs, observatories, planetariums, and science museums from around the world. Many groups host events on other dates that better suit their needs, or to accommodate a special event like an eclipse, so be sure and check their calendars for alternate dates.

Events

International

Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi Astronomy Astronomy Day Celebration, Friday, September 18, 2015, 5:00–8:00 p.m., The Mall at World Trade Center

Canada H. R. MacMillan Space Centre International Observe the Moon Night, Saturday, September 19th, 7:30 p.m.–midnight, Vancouver

United States

Alabama Von Braun Astronomical Society Astronomy Day, Saturday, October 17, 2015, 1:00–10:00 p.m., Monte Sano State Park, Huntsville

Arizona Huachuca Astronomy Club Astronomy Day, Saturday, October 17, 2015, beginning 5:30 p.m., Kartchner Caverns State Park

California Community Observatory Astronomy Day / Family Space Day, Saturday, September 19th, 2015, 6:00-10:30 p.m., 6699 Campus Drive, Placerville

Florida Museum of Science and Industry Astronomy Day, Saturday, September 19th, 2105, 5:00 p.m. Space Talk, 7:00 p.m. Skywatch, MOSI, Tampa

Florida Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum Star Party, Saturday, September 19th, 2015, 8:00-10:00 p.m., Glen Harris Memorial Park at the Keystone Heights Airport, Starke

Kansas Ernie Miller Nature Center International Observe the Moon Night, Saturday, September 19th, 2015, 7:30–9:00 p.m., Olathe

Louisiana Shreveport-Bossier Astronomical Society National Astronomy Day, Saturday, September 19th, 2015, 7:30 p.m., Worley Observatory, Shreveport

Nevada Great Basin Astronomy Program International Observe the Moon Night, Saturday, September 19th, 2015, 7:00 p.m., Lehman Caves Visitor Center

Tennessee Pickett State Park Fall Astronomy Day, Saturday, September 19th, beginning 8:30 p.m., Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area parking lot

Tennessee Memphis Astronomical Society International Observe the Moon Night, Saturday, September 19th, 2015, 7:00–9:00 p.m., Shelby Farms Park, Mullins Station Road, Memphis

Minnesota Minnesota Astronomical Society Fall Astronomy Day, Saturday, September 19th, 2015, beginning 12:00 p.m. with solar/daytime observing, Eagle Lake Observatory at Baylor Regional Park

Pennsylvania Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh, Saturday, September 19th, 2015, beginning 5:30 p.m. with solar viewing at Mingo Observatory; 7:30 p.m. Wagman Observatory

Pennsylvania Penn State Erie, The Behrend College National Astronomy Day, 12:00 p.m. speaker Rm 21 Witkowski, 1:00, 2:30, 3:15 p.m. Yahn Planetarium, Erie

Texas Astronomy Day 2015 at The George Observatory/HMNS, Saturday, October 24th, 2015 3:00–10:00 p.m. at the George Observatory, satellite facility of the Houston Museum of Natural Science

Texas BASF Planetarium Fall Astronomy Day, Saturday, September 19, 2015, 4:00–10:00 p.m., Brazosport Center for the Arts and Sciences, Clute, TX

Washington The Museum of Flight Astronomy Day, Thursday, October 1, 2015, 5:00–9:00 p.m., Seattle

Wisconsin Racine Astronomical Society Fall Astronomy Day, Saturday, September 19th, 8:00–11:00 p.m.

Online

Virtual Telescope Project 2.0 International Observe the Moon Night 2015, Saturday, September 19th, 2015, 18:30 UT (2:30 p.m. EDT), web-based event

Need Help Planning an Event?

Telescopes at the ready

Preparing for the 23rd Annual Grand Canyon Star Party.
National Park Service / Michael Quinn

To help organizations and individuals plan Astronomy Day programs, the Astronomical League and Sky & Telescope have prepared a free, fact-filled Astronomy Day Handbook. Written by David H. Levy and updated by Gary Tomlinson, the 76-page guide offers time-tested suggestions for conducting large and small endeavors. 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, and given annually to the groups whose programs do the best job of "Bringing Astronomy to the People."

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. And don't forget our ever-popular Good Outdoor Neighbor Lighting flyer, a clear, simple info sheet on light pollution and how anyone can minimize it.

International Observe the Moon Night is co-sponsored by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), and the Lunar and Planetary Institute. Supplementary promotional and science materials are available for download on the InOMN website.


Looking at the Moon this weekend? Sky & Telescope Moon maps will help you find your way around the lunar surface!

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