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Shoot for the Stars 

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The Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for world's largest astronomy lesson this month with a galactic gathering in downtown St. Johnsbury. The current record — 1,104 participants — was set in 2015 in Kalamunda, Australia. Fairbanks hopes to attract between 1,500 and 2,000 stargazers to its event, said the museum's director of visitor services, Jennifer D'Agostino. Prior to the lesson, the streetlights on Main Street will be turned off and black lights will illuminate a block party featuring glow-in-the-dark chalk, a paper-airplane agility course, local food trucks and more. The museum and planetarium will stay open up until the approximately 45-minute lesson begins. From a two-story stage, museum science educator Bobby Farlice-Rubio will teach about the history of astronomy, with a focus on female astronomers. In order to ensure the event is Guinness Book-official, the museum will use a turnstile to keep track of who's coming in and out of the lesson; break participants into 50-person groups, each with a designated leader; enlist official timekeepers; and submit a video, aerial drone footage and "lots of paperwork" to Guinness, said D'Agostino. Following the main event, Mark Breen will broadcast his annual VPR Star Gazing Party live and on-site.

The Saint J. Subaru Stargazing Party and World's Largest Astronomy Lesson takes place on Friday, Aug. 10 at Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium (1302 Main St., St. Johnsbury). Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m.; participants in the astronomy lesson must be assembled by 7:30 p.m.; and the lesson begins at 8:15 p.m. Rain date is Saturday, August 11. Find more info and RSVP for priority access to the event at


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