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Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Opens Public Observatory

In 1609, Galileo made the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope. To mark the anniversary, the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum opened a public observatory. The observatory, only steps from the National Mall, contains a 16-inch, 3,000-pound Boller and Chivens telescope, on loan from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, where it was previously used for research at Harvards Oak Ridge Observatory. Through the telescope, visitors will be able to view the sun (with a special filter), the moon and the brighter stars and planets, such as Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, during daylight hours. The Public Observatory, on the museums East Terrace, will be open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., weather permitting.
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