Astronomy Festival to Bring Space Down to Earth (and National Mall)

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Geoff Chester

D.C. may not always have the celebrity quotient that New York or L.A. can boast, but we do have some other incredible stars. This Friday, you'll get a chance to gaze at the heavens during the sixth annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall.

On Friday night from 6 to 11 p.m., Hofstra University will provide telescopes and astronomy expertise down on the mall. Scan the night sky and look for the sun, moon, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars using one of 20 telescopes that will be set up.

Before sunset, viewers can search for sunspots. Once night falls, telescopes will help show close-up views of Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons and millions of stars and star clusters.

The fest also offers videos, a planetarium show, an exhibition on light, and astronomer chats. Performers dressed as famous historical astronomers including Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler will entertain visitors as well.

The event will provide a chance for kids to pursue interests in math and science and to encourage public understanding of astronomy, event organizer and Hofstra's coordinator of astronomy outreach Dr. Donald Lubovich said in a release.

Public parking is available at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center Building (entrance on 14th Street NW) from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. 

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