Astronomy Night on the National Mall 2015

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Credit: Don Lubowich
Don Lubowich of Hofstra University writes about his plans for the 2015 rendition of a popular Washington, D.C. event: Astronomy Night on the National Mall.

If you are in the Washington area in mid-June, I urge you to join the large group of institutions that will participate in this massive outreach event. Astronomy magazine will support the efforts with magazines and brochures on hand, and Hofstra will host with multiple participating groups, including the American Geophysical Union, the International Dark-Sky Association, the Carnegie Institution, Georgetown University, the National Science Foundation, and others.

June 19, 2015, will be a night of stars and fun in the nation’s capital!

Here is the full press release:

The Sixth Annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall will be on Friday, June 19, 2015, from 6 to 11 p.m,, Washington Monument Grounds  NE,  15th Street NW and Constitution Avenue. The rain date is June 20 at The Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue Northeast, Washington, D.C. Metro stop Brookland-CUA, Red line. There will be solar, optical, and radio telescope observations of the Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn; hands-on activities, demonstrations, hand-outs, posters, banners, and videos; a portable blow-up dome with a digital planetarium; and speakers from scientific and educational organizations. Historical astronomers Caroline Herschel, Tycho Brahe, and Johannes Kepler, dressed in period clothing and portrayed by astronomy educators, will discuss their discoveries. Last year, there were 7,000 participants, and this year my goal is for 10,000 people to participate in the Astronomy Festival on the National Mall.

This free public  event is organized by Donald Lubowich, coordinator of astronomy outreach at Hofstra University. Lubowich and local amateur astronomers will set up 20 telescopes on the Mall. Starting at 6 p.m., visitors will be able to view sunspots with the help of specially filtered telescopes. After dusk and until 11 p.m., telescopes will provide close-up views of the Moon, Saturn with its beautiful rings, Jupiter and its moons, Venus, colorful double stars, and star clusters that sparkle like diamonds on black velvet.

Participating organizations:  American Geophysical Union, American University, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Catholic University of American, Carnegie Institution for Science, E-planetarium, Georgetown University, the Goddard Astronomy Club, George Mason University, George Washington University, Hubble Space Telescope,  International Dark Sky Association, Montgomery College, the National Capital Astronomers, the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education,  the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the National Science Foundation, the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club, the Rappahannock Astronomy Club, the Society of Physics Students, and the US Naval Observatory. Endorsing/supporting organizations: American Astronomical Society, Association of Science-Technology Centers, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, National Science Teachers Association, National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
The Astronomy Festival on the National Mall was started in 2010 with the co-sponsorship of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  Attached is and a one minute NSF produced video. Lubowich also runs Hofstra’s successful NASA-funded Music and Astronomy Under the Stars program, which takes telescopes to concertgoers on Long Island, New York City, Newport, Rhode Island, at Tanglewood in Massachusetts, and at the Ravinia Music Festival outside Chicago.
This year we will also showcase LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb, an exhibit of 20 images on 10 pull up stands (  LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb is an open-source international exhibition program that showcases the incredible variety of light-based science being researched today across the electromagnetic spectrum, across scientific disciplines, and across technological platforms. The exhibit materials and striking images were crowd-sourced and expert curated for science content, high-quality printability, stunning beauty, and ability to engage wide audiences. Together with SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics), the Chandra X-ray Center  /Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory are leading LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb for the International Year of Light 2015 (IYL2015). LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb is a cornerstone project for the International Astronomical Union. IYL2015 was declared by the United Nations and is supported by UNESCO.

There is easy access and close parking at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center building for $13.00 from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m.

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