Presidential star party

Posted by Korey Haynes
on Thursday, October 01, 2015

President Obama looks through a telescope at the first White House Astronomy Night in 2009. // Chuck Kennedy (White House)

The White House is throwing a star party, and President Obama is hosting.

In 2009, which was also the International Year of Astronomy, the White House held its first Astronomy Night, with special guests including legendary astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Sally Ride, Mae Jemison, and John Grunsfeld. But Obama reserved his warmest welcome for two astronomers who discovered a supernova and a pulsar before they had even graduated high school. The president used these young scientists to highlight the importance of astronomy for increasing students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

This year, on October 19, the White House is bringing the event back, inviting scientists and thinkers from across the fields of both space and astronomy, in  industry and research. These luminaries will stargaze on the White House’s South Lawn and share their vision and expertise with the party’s most valued guests: students and teachers.

“We need your restless curiosity and your boundless hope and imagination,” Obama told students who gathered at the event in 2009. “There’s something out there for each and every one of you to discover.”

The White House also asks astronomy clubs, universities, and research groups across the country to celebrate the day by hosting their own events. So get out your scopes, and tell the president about it here!

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