Astronomy Department Celebrates Galileo Anniversary With Public Stargazing Events

May 12, 2009Bookmark and Share
Columbia gives local community a glimpse of the night sky from telescopes on campus and in the streets of Harlem. (2:30)

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the first time Galileo peered through a telescope at the night sky. Columbia’s astronomy department is celebrating this anniversary, dubbed The International Year of Astronomy 2009 by UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union, with a series of public lectures, stargazing events and science demonstrations.

Recently, members of the astronomy department brought three portable telescopes to a Harlem plaza on the corner of 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard to give as many passersby as possible a close-up look at the moon’s craters and Saturn’s rings. This event, part of a global star party called “100 Hours of Astronomy,” was a cornerstone project of The International Year of Astronomy.
Upcoming events include a lecture on “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Astronomy in the Media” and, later this summer, the distribution of new high-quality, low-cost telescope kits. The kits, called Galileoscopes, allow children to glimpse many of the same wonders as Galileo, including four moons circling Jupiter, the phases of Venus and countless stars invisible to the naked eye.
For a calendar of events, see: