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A cloudless sky made a perfect backdrop for a stargazing
party at the White House on Wednesday night. But instead of parading on a red carpet, VIP guests made their way around the South Lawn where earlier in the day astronomers set up telescopes in preparation for the party.

President Barack Obama hosted 150 local middle school students, teachers and astronomers to scan the sky. But first, Obama said there were a “few other stars out tonight,” introducing former astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Sally Ride, and Mae Jemison.

For the president, the event might have been a break from the pressing issues of the day, but he was still working on his political agenda. OBAMA/Obama introduced two students — one who discovered a supernova and another who found a pulsar — and he made a pitch for his education plan.

“If they can discover something great, so can any of you other students here tonight. All you need is a passion for science,” Obama said to the youngsters. “That is why we are working to reinvigorate math and science in schools,” he added.

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Photo Credit: Reuters/Jim Young