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White House to Host Star Party

The White House has announced that on Wednesday, after honoring 13 of the nation’s top innovators and inventors, President Obama will host an Astronomy Night on the White House South Lawn.
OSTP is a proud co-organizer of the event, which will bring the President together with 150 local middle-school students and two students (a middle-schooler and a high school student) who have already made notable astronomical discoveries. The event will highlight this Administration’s commitment to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.
It is also a way to increase awareness of the incredible discoveries, inspiration, and expansion of human knowledge that the field of astronomy can deliver, and we hope that people around the country will take part. The event is to be broadcast on the White House Web site as well as NASA TV, and will be linked with simultaneous events at museums and planetariums across the country.
Separately, the United Nations has declared this week World Space Week, and 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy.
If you are newly interested in astronomy or stargazing, there is a free, open-source program called Stellarium that allows users to simulate the night sky on their computers for their specific location. It is a very easy-to-use tool that helps make stargazing fun and informative.
The event at the White House will include more than 20 telescopes set up on the White House lawn focused on various objects. There will also be interactive dome presentations and hands-on activities including scale models of the Solar System, impact cratering, and investigating meteorites and Moon rocks.
OSTP will be twittering from both events tomorrow; you can follow us @whitehouseostp.

Rick Weiss is Director of Strategic Communications and Senior Science and Technology Policy Analyst at the Office of Science and Technology Policy