The Super Solar System, 10,000 Events and IYA 2009 for February
(Credit: Joe Fierstein)
As we pass the ten-thousandth event held by Night Sky Network volunteers, we want to show you what some of the amateur astronomers said about the International Year of Astronomy (IYA).

Joseph Fierstein and five other members of the South Bay Astronomical Society in California said: "There were 5000 registered scouts. We estimate that nearly 500 girls visited our booth. It was an exciting and rewarding day for us. A great way to start IYA!"

At an open house at the Harford Community College Observatory in Maryland, Grace Wyatt, of the Harford County Astronomical Society stated: " Wow, we finally had a clear night and lots of people showed up to take a look through our telescopes. A local author visited us researching a book he is writing. The main character is an astronomer. We set up our materials for the IYA2009 January events, using the 'How much sky can the telescope see?' cards to explain the field of view to be seen through a telescope, and why there is no color when looking through a telescope. Our club members showed the visitors Venus; most were quite surprised to learn Venus has phases. We talked about the Kepler Mission and where some known distant worlds are located."

At the Wishing Star Observatory in Rhode Island, Pete Peterson of the Astronomical Society of Southern New England commented: "a Pack of six hearty eight year old Cub Scouts and their fathers came to the observatory. It was only 20°F last night, and we all crammed into the observatory for shelter. We started by viewing Venus in the clouds but had clear sky for observing. Soon the kids succumbed to restlessness and the 20° temperature. The den leader quoted his son as saying, 'that was the best thing we've done with the Cub Scouts yet'. The young boy added that the Cubs had 'done lots of cool stuff before, but not like this!'"

A star party was held for Pack 7 Cubs and parents at Camp Tamorancho. in California. Kerry Sager of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers had this to say: " It was a beautiful, calm, quiet, warm evening, with the scent of bay laurel and native grasses. We introduced them to telescopes and binoculars. Using Styrofoam spheres, we simulated phases and eclipses of the Moon and planets. There were many "ah ha" moments, and lots of wows! Introducing IYA 2009, we watched what Galileo observed ... 3 moons, as Io was transiting the planet Jupiter. We toured the night sky and finished by observing the Moon. We spoke about the LCROSS Mission and how to make craters using flour and pebbles. The kids were energized and ready for their next session at the telescope."

February's theme for IYA 2009 is Our Solar System.

Learn about the Sun and our planets this month and try finding the "Featured Observing Object" our very own Moon.

Use this guide to discover the excitement of the International Year of Astronomy.

Each month we are featuring a separate Night Sky Network activity on this website.

Better yet, check out your local astronomy club to learn more about our solar system and be excited by astronomy yourself.