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Astronomy allows us to see the history of the universe with our own eyes. The stars that twinkle as you look out on a dark, clear night may not exist right now. They existed at whatever point in history they emitted that light, which has taken millions of years to reach Earth.

Celebrate this marvelous feat on International Astronomy Day by participating in a little stargazing. Check out your local planetarium or library for activities, or simply find a quiet, dark spot to look out onto the sparkling canvas that lies above our heads. Use books or websites to identify the players in the Universe’s spectacular, historical light show.

Telescopes allow us to see much more than is visible to the naked eye. On International Astronomy Day, many organizations offer the public the use of telescopes to experience sights of the Universe that they’ve never seen before.