3 Apr 2009

Star lovers look to the heavens

6:42 am on 3 April 2009

The "world's biggest star party" started on Thursday - and New Zealanders were invited.

Over the next four days, amateur and professional astronomers will set up telescopes in streets, shopping centres and public parks to give people a peek at the heavens.

Andrew Buckingham, from the Auckland Astronomical Society, says there will be more than 67 star-gazing events around the country and 2,000 worldwide.

Mr Buckingham says the star fest is part of the celebrations for the International Year of Astronomy.

Telescopes will be put up in the daytime for safe solar viewings, but the main focus will be on the evenings and looking at the starts, he says.

"There's so much out there to see and to learn about, so it's always a fascinating subject for most people."

The events coincide with the 400th anniversary of Galileo first using the telescope.