Astronomy Festival on the National Mall

The 10th Annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall (AFNM) in Washington, DC, offers visitors a free guided tour of the sky on Saturday, June 22, from 6-11 p.m. This public festival is organized by Dr. Donald Lubowich, Coordinator of Astronomy Outreach at Hofstra University. AFNM features solar, optical, and radio telescope observations; hands-on activities, demonstrations, handouts, posters, banners, and videos; a planetarium show with a portable blow-up dome, speakers from scientific and educational organization, and a chance to mingle with astronomers.

Dr. Lubowich and local amateur astronomers will set up 25 telescopes on the Mall. Starting at 6 p.m., visitors may view sunspots with the help of specially filtered telescopes. After dusk and through 11 p.m. telescopes will provide close-up views of Saturn with its beautiful rings, Jupiter and its moons, colorful double stars, and star clusters that sparkle like diamonds on black velvet.

“Bringing astronomy to the National Mall and partnering with astronomical organizations gives us a very special opportunity to encourage children to pursue their interest in science or math and to promote public understanding of science,” said Dr. Lubowich. “Gazing at the rings of Saturn or the Moon’s craters captures the imagination, no matter how old you are.”

AFNM visitors can expect to meet representatives from some of the nation’s foremost scientific institutions, organizations, and universities, who will present exciting demonstrations and answer questions about the latest astronomical discoveries or careers in science.

AFNM started as part of a NASA-funded “Music and Astronomy Under the Stars” program, that was co-sponsored in 2010 by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. It brought an astronomy component to outdoor concerts throughout the US.

The AFNM is presented in association with and the cooperation of the Smithsonian Museums who will have Smithsonian Solstice Saturday events at most of the museums on the Mall and will be open until midnight.

Check for event updates.

Participating science organizations: Associated Universities, Inc.; Ball Aerospace; Carnegie Academy for Science Education; Chandra X-ray Observatory; International Dark-Sky Association; NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; National Center for Earth and Space Science Education; National Radio Astronomy Observatory; National Science Foundation; The Science Place; Science for Society & the Public; Society of Physics Students; Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum; Space Telescope Science Institute; U.S. Naval Research Laboratory; and the U.S. Naval Observatory.

Participating colleges and universities: American University, George Mason University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory, Montgomery College, Rice University/E-planetarium.

Participating astronomy clubs and organizations: Amateur Observers’ Society of New York, Astronomical Association of Greenbelt, Goddard Astronomy Club, National Capital Astronomers, Northern Virginia Astronomy Club, the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers, and the Washington Area Astronomy Meetup.

The event is finished.


Jun 22, 2019


6:00 pm - 11:00 pm



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Smithsonian Castle
1000 Jefferson Dr SW, Washington, DC 20560
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