Did you know it’s the International Year of Astronomy?

I only find these things out when the year is nearly done for some reason. Ah well. Better late than miss it altogether.

Tonight I’m taking in an open house at the Sleaford Observatory. They do that every year but this weekend they’re also celebrating Galilean Nights like a lot of other locations across the world so it wouldn’t hurt to check if there’s anything happening near you.

On 22-24 October 2009, the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Cornerstone Project, Galilean Nights, will see amateur and professional astronomers, enthusiasts and the public taking to the streets all around the globe, pointing their telescopes to the wonders that Italian astronomer Galileo observed 400 years ago.

Spread over three nights, astronomers will share their knowledge and enthusiasm for space by encouraging as many people as possible to look through a telescope at our planetary neighbours. The focus for Galilean Nights is the objects that Galileo observed, including Jupiter and the Moon, which will be well-positioned in the night sky for observing.

I’m going with a friend from work and her sister who already called the organizers to find out what the plan is if cloud cover gets in the way of the sights. They’ll have a slide show and speakers prepped to make it worth the drive out there.

It should be a fun night and quite educational. I may even get to look through someone’s telescope finally. It’s high time I mark that off my list of things to do. That’s one thing I never begged my parents to get me for some reason and I’ve never befriended anyone who had one that we could set up in the boonies and try out.

Check back on Saturday for details of how that went.

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