To celebrate this stargazing year, amateur astronomers around the world are going to encourage their communities to look to the stars.


Jane Houston Jones, Sidewalk Astronomer: 2009 is International Year of Astronomy and to celebrate that amateur astronomers all over the world are going to be taking their own telescopes out for their communities to look through.

Hundreds and thousands of them will be all doing the same thing, many times on the same night and how cool is that?

We've got 2 ladders, got 2 telescopes, eyepieces, mirror back there, nametags and flyers. Yep.

Jane Houston Jones, Sidewalk Astronomer:
We're heading to Library Park in Monrovia. It's our regular Star Party site.

When I first made my first telescope, I pretty much used my telescope out on my back deck.

Then one day a friend of mine asked me if I would help him in a Star Party at a school.

Pretty soon I found that that was my favorite thing to do -- was to talk to people who were wanting to know what we were looking at.

We want to bring the telescopes to the people and we kind of like the idea that we're just hopping out of cars and setting up telescopes.

Morris Jones, Sidewalk Astronomer:
We call it "urban guerilla" astronomy. We set up in the middle of the cities.

We set up under bright lights where people have the impression that you can't do any astronomy.

And when you give people a look at the moon, or Jupiter, or Saturn, the brightest things in the sky, and they're amazed you can actually can see them from the city, and you can, its gives them a little personal connection to the universe.

Come see the moon in the telescope! Wow! I can see the white. Can you see the white? Yeah. That's the moon!

Hi Mallory! How old are you?

Mallory Spillard, Star Party Enthusiast Three!

You're three! Did you look inside the telescope? What did you see?

Mallory Spillard, Star Party Enthusiast The moon!

Claudia Naber, Happened upon the Star Party:
Their enthusiasm really comes across and that's what's so wonderful, that they're extending themselves to get everybody to join in their enthusiasm for the stars and that's really great!

Todd Kunioku, Sidewalk Astronomer
You can set up telescopes in your back yard. You can see everything better in your backyard, but it's not the same as if you can share it with other people.

They can look through the telescopes and then you get their reaction.

Can you see anything? Whoa! Look at this !

Jane Jones, Sidewalk Astronomer
A star party is a great way to celebrate International Year of Astronomy, but you can also connect with volunteer networks from NASA like the Solar System Ambassadors, the Night Sky Network, and Saturn Observation Campaign.

All of those people have telescopes and lots of enthusiasm to share with you.

What better way can you celebrate the International Year of Astronomy than looking at the moon and the planets through a telescope.

For more information visit: and

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
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