In celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of the telescope, the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO have declared 2009 to be the International Year of Astronomy (IYA 2009). As part of a world-wide celebration of this event, the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO) will be sponsoring a free-admission Open House on Saturday, 4 April, from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm. During that time the Observatory’s telescopes will be open for inspection, scientists will explain the mission of USNO’s Master Clock, exhibits will display the Observatory’s history and present work, and local amateur astronomers will share views through their telescopes.
The event is planned regardless of weather, although predominantly cloudy conditions may limit observing activities. Additionally, heavy or persistent rain may result in cancellation. Be sure to watch the website for updates.
More details in the press release
I’ll be there, helping out, meetin’ and greetin’. I announced this on the local geocaching bulletin board, since USNO time supports GPS, so I hope to hang out with fellow geocachers for a while (there’s actually a geocache at the Observatory, which normally requires you to take the public tour), and then I’ll probably be helping out with the Time Service display. If you’re in the area, come on by. If you can’t make it, you can still commemorate your nonvisit with a Navel Observatory shirt