by Alex Autin

Yuri’s Night! April 12!


“Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty — not destroy it!“- Yuri Gagarin

Soviet pilot and cosmonaut, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, became the first human to travel to space when on April 12, 1961 his Vostok spacecraft successfully completed an orbit of the Earth.

Yuri’s Night is an international celebration held annually on April 12 to commemorate not only Yuri’s historic flight, but also space exploration milestones in general. The launch of NASA’s first Space Shuttle mission, STS-1, launched April 12, 1981, 20 years to the day of Yuri’s Vostok 1 flight, is also honored.


Launch of Vostok 1, the first manned spaceflight.


20 years later, STS-1, the first launch of Space Shuttle Columbia carrying NASA astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen into an Earth orbital mission.

Started in 2001, and now celebrated internationally each year, Yuri’s Night, the World Space Party, came into existence at the previous year’s United Nations’ Space Generation Advisory Council Conference in Graz, Austria.

The goal of Yuri’s Night is to increase public interest in space exploration and inspire new generations of explorers. And to have a damn good time in the process! Last year Yuri’s Night was celebrated at over 350 events in 57 countries, and this year the party promises to be even bigger! You can check the Yuri’s Night website to find out what ‘Planet Rocking’ events are being held near you, or to post your own event.

Since I’m currently out-of-state, and out-in-the-middle-of nowhere (aka BFE!) visiting family, we’re planing an out-of-this-world crawfish boil for this afternoon followed by some star gazing this evening. While being in the middle of nowhere does limit my options of finding a cool Yuri’s Night event, the star gazing quality increases by a bajillion percent!

For a more ‘quiet’ tribute to Yuri Gagarin, check out this short film by Rene Nuijens and Steve Korver…


25 responses

  1. I’ll charge a glass to him later on this evening.

    Hey, have you seen the Martian “light” images from Curiosity? Is it pixelation, or is the Martian Chronicles unfolding up there?

    April 12, 2014 at 8:24 am

    • LOL! I’m pretty sure, John, that we’re seeing the light from the 24-hour Martian ‘Jelly Donut’ shop. Nothing more ;)

      April 12, 2014 at 9:07 am

      • Ah, sounds legit :)

        April 12, 2014 at 9:10 am

        • Either that, or they’ve found Flight 370…..

          (Sorry, gotta apologize for that one, but I couldn’t resist ;) )

          April 12, 2014 at 9:16 am

  2. I searched the whole list and couldn’t find one event in Iowa. I will have to do my own party tonight. I have some rum, scotch, tequila, and dark beer. Which shall I use? Don’t say all of them. :evil:

    That video was sweet. Made me laugh. The guy is a dedicated fan to the nth degree.

    I either never knew, or had forgotten, that he died in a plane crash at such a young age of 34. Interesting to read the ‘official’ accounts.

    Thanks, Alex. Enjoy your time with family in the middle of nowhere. Always a good place to be for sky watching.

    April 12, 2014 at 11:11 am

    • I hope you enjoyed your home-made Yuri’s Night Jim, I sure enjoyed mine! And, of course, the answer to your alcohol question would be ….vodka!

      Good luck with the eclipse tonight. It’s looking like our weather forecast may be improving a bit …but only a bit. I’ll be out there though, hoping to catch a glimpse between the clouds and rain.

      April 14, 2014 at 8:29 am

  3. Nice video!
    I’ll raise a glass to Yuri tonight, and hope we do start making the planet better.
    As opposed to what we usually do.

    April 12, 2014 at 11:43 am

    • Love the video Alex.

      April 12, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    • There are LOTS of ways we DO make the planet a better place Guapo, unfortunately though – we tend to want to focus on the other.

      April 14, 2014 at 8:33 am

  4. Love this post

    April 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    • Thanks Mak, glad you liked it!

      April 14, 2014 at 8:34 am

  5. Not so much a party for the crawfish… whatever they may be.

    April 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    • I can assure you FM, the crawfish didn’t enjoy it at all…

      April 14, 2014 at 8:22 am

  6. Superb, as usual.

    April 12, 2014 at 5:33 pm

  7. whiteladyinthehood

    Great tribute! (and what a sweet video)
    I’ve been to a couple of crawfish boils (everything dumped in the middle of a table covered with newspaper and let the eatin’ commence) I was terrible at trying to get the meat out! Someone had also brought several pounds of fresh from the gulf shrimp (big ole ones) that were grilled with lemon and garlic butter….mmm

    April 13, 2014 at 9:00 am

    • You described a crawfish boil perfectly Chica. Growing up in Louisiana, I learned as a very small child how to peel crawfish – it was either learn, or do without. :) And now you’ve made me want shrimp also, yep, big ole gulf shrimp!

      April 14, 2014 at 8:39 am

  8. He was such a cool dude. Have you read Starman? Enjoy your crawfish!

    April 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    • Thanks Richard, we enjoyed them VERY much! Do you mean Starman, the comic?

      April 14, 2014 at 8:36 am

      • Glad to hear it. No, there was a biography of Yuri called Starman by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony – ripping good read!

        April 14, 2014 at 1:42 pm

        • Nope, haven’t heard of it. I’ll have to check it out, thanks!

          April 15, 2014 at 3:35 am

  9. He’s definitely worthy of the honor … so cheers to Yuri!

    April 13, 2014 at 4:03 pm

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