Thousands of Mexicans were taking part Saturday in the 4th "Night of the Stars" being held at a number of sites around the country under the guidance of astronomers who will share their knowledge about the different celestial phenomena.

In Mexico City, residents were invited to take part at the capital's huge Zocalo plaza and at the Luis Enrique Erro Planetarium of the National Polytechnic Institute, or IPN, where countless telescopes have been installed so they can find and identify stars, planets and galaxies.

The organizers said on their Web site that the program of activities, which began Saturday at noon and was to end Saturday night, includes workshops, conferences and exploring outer space through telescopes.

They said that stargazers can bring their own telescopes if they wish.

"Night of the Stars" began in 2009 in Mexico with the aid of France and has attracted a total of more than 500,000 people to its three previous presentations, which were served by some 15,000 volunteers and provided the public with the use of more than 3,000 telescopes.

According to the organizers, the purpose is to get people familiar with observing the heavens and in that way make science a more deeply rooted part of Mexican culture.

During "Night of the Stars," participants will be able to increase their knowledge astronomically from the conferences "Astronomers and their Discoveries" with Ana Maria Hidalgo, "Evolution of the Galaxies: Where do they come from and where are they going?" by Isaura Fuentes Carrera, "Traveling to the Frontiers of the Universe" by Hector Osvaldo Castañeda, "Mayan Year" with Ignacio Vega, and "The Mythology of Astronomy through Time" by Wilder Chicana Nuncebay. 

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