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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Celebrate Astronomy Week!

Celebrate Astronomy Week!

If you’ve been thinking about taking up sky watching as a hobby, but don’t know where to begin, there’s no time like the present to learn. This week — April 19-25 — is Astronomy Week, a weeklong celebration of stargazing that culminates on Saturday with National Astronomy Day.

Astronomy week is a movable holiday, and takes place each year in late April or early May, during the week of the first quarter Moon. National Astronomy Day was created in 1973 by California astronomer Doug Berger. During the first observance of Astronomy Day, Berger set up telescopes in busy urban locations, such as street corners, parks, malls, etc., as a way to bring astronomy “to the people.” Since then, the event has grown to national proportions, with amateur astronomy clubs, planetariums, observatories and other science organizations throughout the country hosting special events each year in honor of Astronomy Day.

While National Astronomy Day is a holiday specific to the United States, the celebration has grown over the years. This year marks the first year that the entire month of April is recognized as Global Astronomy Month.

Throughout the coming week, millions of people will enjoy taking their first look through a telescope or set of high-powered binoculars. If you’ve ever considered joining your local astronomy club, but felt self-conscious about your lack of knowledge, now is the time to reach out and visit. Astronomy Week programs are geared towards novices, in a friendly, non-intimidating atmosphere. Contact your local amateur astronomy club, science center, or observatory for a list of programs in you area, or check the events listings in your local paper.

Happy sky watching!

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.