Astronomy enthusiasts of all ages will gather for the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) the weekend of April 12 to 13 at Rockland Community College in Suffern, N.Y., a two- to three-hour drive from the Berkshires, depending on your location. Billed as "America’s Premiere Astronomy Expo," NEAF is celebrating its 23rd anniversary.

Brilliant speakers, a huge trade show, and "The World’s Largest Solar Star Party" are the main attractions. How-to sessions, activities for children, and updates on dark sky conservation add to the vitality of the event. Informal conversations with over 100 knowledgeable exhibitors are an integral part of the gathering. Saturday hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dr. Alan Stern, principal investigator for New Horizons Mission to Pluto, will speak and sign his book, "Pluto and Charon." Joe Rao, a leading popular astronomy writer and teacher at the Hayden Planetarium, will present on a promising new meteor shower predicted for May. Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of the new television series, "Cosmos," will offer a live Skype presentation and Q&A. Peruse the full program and ticket information at http://www.rocklandastronomy.com/neaf/

In addition, an extraordinary opportunity at NEAF is safe solar viewing. Professionals and volunteers with considerable expertise share a diversity of telescopes with a variety of filters and instruments that allow viewers a close-up look at our awe-inspiring sun. Admission to the solar viewing field is free of charge. Go to: http://www.neafsolar.com/

From midnight tonight until dawn tomorrow, enjoy the waning (decreasing in size) gibbous (larger than half) moon near Saturn. On the 26th and 27th, the crescent moon and Venus, low in southeast before sunrise, are sure to charm.

To contact Judy Isacoff, M.A. go to: www.naturesturn.org