International Astronomy Day is observed twice each year by astronomers across the world. Local astronomy clubs, planetariums, observatories, and other groups sponsor public events each spring and fall to help newcomers make connections at all levels.
The event is also intended to foster public awareness of astronomy and all of the sciences associated with it by providing an opportunity to use a variety of amateur and professional telescopes, hear presentations, and attend workshops on a vast array of topics.
Amateur astronomers engage in many different pursuits. Observing activities include naked eye observing, binocular astronomy, and of course, the use of telescopes of all types. Many amateur astronomers build their own telescopes now, but very high quality and sophisticated equipment is widely available at ever more reasonable prices. Astrophotography is one of the fastest growing fields of interest. Some amateur imaging setups rival those of professional observatories. Amateurs also participate in research and have made some important discoveries in recent years.
Look for your local astronomy club to see what events they are planning or go to the Astronomical League’s website at www.astroleague.org for information about events near you. These events are a great opportunity to learn the constellations, learn about different objects to observe with amateur equipment, and try different types of equipment to see what best suits your interests.