Join the world in 100 hours of astronomy

From Thursday 10 to  Sunday 13 January 2019, people all over the world will be turning their eyes, binoculars and telescopes on the skies to take part in 100 Hours of Astronomy. And anyone in the UK (with clear skies!) can join in using our guide to the sky.

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The sky looking south on Saturday 12 January as seen from the UK

In particular, the Moon will be changing from a crescent to first quarter, so even those in cities or with partly cloudy skies will be able to view our nearest neighbour in space. Although binoculars or a telescope will help, we’re encouraging anyone to take a look, even with the naked eye. It’s surprising how much you can see without any optical aid, and we’re inviting people to make a sketch of the Moon and post it on our Facebook page.

Our 100 Hours web pages show how the Moon’s phases changes during the event, and list features to look for night by night.

In addition, there are pages of information about finding Orion and the Orion Nebula, the Pleiades star cluster and the planet Mars. It’s hoped that the pages will encourage people who have never looked at the sky before to take a look, learn a few constellations and get more involved in astronomy.

Members of the SPA who already know these features can help by inviting their friends and neighbours around to look through their telescopes.

The 100 Hours of Astronomy is being organised in support of the International Astronomical Union’s centenary celebrations. The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 13,500 professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world’s largest professional body for astronomers.