On Wednesday, Oct. 7, there will be an historic first at the US president’s home: a star party. From a White House press release:
“The President and First Lady will host an event at the White House for middle-school students to highlight the President’s commitment to science, engineering and math education as the foundation of this nation’s global technological and economic leadership and to express his support for astronomy in particular – for its capacity to promote a greater awareness of our place in the universe, expand human knowledge, and inspire the next generation by showing them the beauty and mysteries of the night sky.”
About 20 telescopes will be set up on the White House lawn focused on Jupiter, the Moon and select stars, and supporters of the International Year of Astronomy are encouraged to follow this event, and host their own star parties to follow the example set.
There will also be interactive dome presentations, and hands-on activities including scale models of the Solar System, impact cratering, and investigating meteorites and Moon rocks. If haven’t been invited, you can participate by watching on NASA TV, or streaming on the White House website, starting at about 8 p.m. EDT. Even if clouds or rain intervene to prevent telescopic viewing, attendees will still have plenty to do.
The White House Star Party is just one of many family-friendly astronomy events and activities happening this fall. Among the others:
* October 4-10 — World Space Week
* October 9 — NASA’s LCROSS impact on the Moon
* October 13 –– Hubble’s Amazing Rescue premieres on PBS on NOVA
* October 9-23 — Great World Wide Star Count
* October 19-25 — Fall Astronomy Week, including Fall Astronomy Day on Saturday, October 24, organized by the Astronomical League.
* October 22-24 — IYA2009 Galilean Nights global star party ()
* November 10-30 — NASA’s Great Observatories image unveiling