How would you like to see one of the oldest telescopes in the U.S. in person this weekend? That's just one of the many ways you can celebrate the International Year of Astronomy this weekend.
IYA 2009 is a celebration of Galileo's first use of a telescope, which he invented 400 years ago.
Here are some links to help you find places to go, things to see and ways to get involved.
The U.S. Naval Observatory on Massachusetts Avenue, NW will be open to the public this weekend. This is a very rare occurrence and anyone who likes science should consider a visit. Once you open this link, just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the section where the open house information is contained. http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/tours-events/other-events
For those who want to stay at home and browse some Web sites, here are some other great places to start:
The main page for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 is here: http://www.astronomy2009.org/
Are telescopes right up your alley? You can go around the world in 80 telescopes and watch live streaming video with detailed and expert explanations of what you are looking at. Here is where to start thanks to the European Space Agency: http://www.eso.org/public/events/special-evt/100ha/index.html
Ever wanted to know more about the sun? Part of the 100 hours of Astronomy is dedicated to SUN day. Here is the main starting point for all the solar info you could ever want to know: http://www.solarastronomy2009.org/100-hours-sunday/
If you prefer to do your skywatching at night, we have you covered. Here is a great starting point to learn more about all the things we can, and more importantly all the things we can't, see at night: http://www.darkskiesawareness.org/
All of us in the weather office are big fans of skywatching -- both night and day. We hope you use these sites to get you, your kids or even your parents excited about science.
We, as a global population, have learned so much about the universe around us, but there is so much more out there. Take a look at these sites and the next time you gaze up at the sky you will better appreciate all that you can, and cannot, see.