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Nearly a thousand members of Greater Boston school and church groups have been guests of the Harvard College Astronomical Observatory in Cambridge on the Friday Open Nights of the past five months, Harlow Shapley, director, said today.

This winter's program he asserted has been the most popular in the ten years of this feature, which includes popular lectures on astronomy and observations through the telescopes. These Open Nights are conducted by the Bond Astronomical Club, a local organization of amateur astronomers.

Thirty-six local schools and other organizations have sent large groups to attend the Open Nights during the current academic year. The Friday programs are held from October to May whenever the weather allows observations. They are apart from the public Open Nights held at the observatory in the Fall and Spring.

Since last October, clear skies have permitted eleven observing nights. An average of ninety to a hundred visitors attended each program, hearing an hour taik by an astronomer and taking turns at the three visual telescopes of the Observatory during a two hour pehiod.

Organizations entertained by the Bond Club this winteh have been the New England Conservatory of Music, Somerville Junior High School, Boy Scouts of Roslindale, Simmons College, Hart School of South Boston, students of the State Extension Courses, Burke High School in Boston, Salem High School, Fenn School, Thayer Academy, Winsor School, American Physical Society (M. I. T.), Newtonville School, Elizabeth Peabody House, Cambridge Settlement Home, Boston Alumni of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Stoneham Junior High School, Girls High School in Roxbury; Girl Scouts of Arlington, Concord, Waltham, Hingham, West Medford, Somerville, and Salem; and church groups from Salem, Brookline, Kingston, Framingham, Pembroke, and Newton.

Astronomers lecturing for the Friday night series this winter have been Leo Goldberg, of New Bedford, a Bemis Fellow of the Harvard Observatory; Samuel L. Thorndike, Research Associate of the Observatory; Miss Francis Wright, Astronomical Assistant of Princeton University, now working at Harvard: Horace Taylor, of Brookline, past president of the Bond Astronomical Club: Leon Campbell, Pickering Memorial Astronomer of Harvard; Dr. Bart J. Bok, Assistant Professor of Astronomy, Harvard; Miss Edith Jones, of Waldron, Ind., second year graduate student in astronomy at Radcliffe; Miss Barbara Cherry, of West Roxbury, first year graduate student in astronomy at Radcliffe; Dantel Norman, of Malden, graduate student in astronomy at Harvard; and Frank K. Edmondson, of Cambridge, graduate student in astronomy at Harvard.

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