International Astronomy Day

International Astronomy Day is observed twice a year, near the first quarter moon in the spring and the first quarter moon in the fall. Museums, associations, astronomical institutions, and planetariums conduct seminars, workshops, and other enjoyable activities to raise awareness about astronomy on this day. Astronomy Day is an annual celebration in the United States, and subsequently in other countries, that aims to bring the general public and astronomy enthusiasts, groups, and experts together. This year in 2022, the day will be observed on 7th of May and 1st of October.

The topic has a high probability of being asked as a Current Affairs Question in IAS Prelims and Mains.

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History of International Astronomy Day

Astronomy is indeed a natural science which has always been a part of human culture. Our forefathers and mothers gazed into the night sky with the same zeal that we do, curious about what lay beyond our globe. Indigenous cultures all around the world used the naked eye to practise astrology, and it played an important role in their communities. Mayan astronomy is a well known example of this. They were ardent skywatchers, noting their observations and constructing calendars and star charts. The gods’ acts may be traced in the motion of the stars, moon, and sun, according to them.

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Doug Berger, the then president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California at the time, founded International Astronomy Day. He hoped to pique the attention of urban dwellers in astronomy. To do so, he put in place telescopes for people to enjoy staring at the stars. Since then, the event has grown in popularity, with sponsorship from academic institutions, space agencies, as well as museums.

While numerous cultures throughout the world made significant discoveries in astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus is undoubtedly the most recognised astronomer. He postulated that the earth orbits the sun in the first place. Many astronomers and faiths had the belief that the earth was the centre of the cosmos, therefore this was a very revolutionary concept. Contrary to popular belief, Copernicus claimed that mankind was only a small part of a massive system of time and space.

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Note: IAS exam could ask basic facts about this topic as it holds international as well as domestic importance.


The Day is used as a great opportunity to boost the enthusiasm and interest of the general public in the field of space and astronomy. It also encourages new research and inventions in this sector. Students can be motivated and encouraged to learn more about outer space, universe and astronomy.

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