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Telescopes at the ready, it's Astronomy Day

Stargazing extravanganza

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Tomorrow is Astronomy Day 2004, which the organisers say is all about sharing the joy of astronomy with the general population.

Astronomy clubs and associations, universities, planetariums and so on, host events designed to highlight what it is about stargazing that has them hooked. The idea is that by showing people in their area the resources and facilities on their doorsteps, more people will get involved.

Since it began in 1973, Astronomy Day has been chosen so that it falls near or before the 1st quarter Moon. This is the best time for observing stars, as the sky is darker without the moon's reflected sunlight.

Although Astronomy Day is an American invention - it was started by Doug Berger during his stint president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California - it has spead beyond the US. The UK, Canada and New Zealand are among the other countries now hosting events. ®

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