Astronomy Days 2018

Saturday, January 27 & Sunday, January 28, 2018

Saturday: 9:00am—5:00pm
Sunday: noon—5:00pm

SATURDAY, January 27

WRAL 3D Theater — 1st Floor, Nature Exploration Center

10:00am: Journey to Space-3D Movie
FEE. Purchase Tickets here or at Museum Box Office
In the past half century, humans have punched through the stratosphere, walked on the moon, and lived continuously in orbit. In the coming decades, our unquenchable curiosity will take our species beyond the cradle of Earth to touch the face of another world. Strap in for the next giant leap. Next stop … Mars! Narrated by Patrick Stewart. Trailer

11:30am: Transforming Fantasy: Building a Space Station
Capt. Lee M. Morin, NASA Astronaut
During the STS-110 Space Shuttle mission, Capt. Lee Morin participated in two space walks to install the S-Zero Truss on the International Space Station. Highlights of this mission will be presented, together with an overview of the new Orion Program. Orion is America’s new multipurpose spacecraft for manned deep space exploration.

1:30pm: Transforming Fantasy: Building a Space Station
Capt. Lee M. Morin, NASA Astronaut
During the STS-110 Space Shuttle mission, Capt. Lee Morin participated in two space walks to install the S-Zero Truss on the International Space Station. Highlights of this mission will be presented, together with an overview of the new Orion Program. Orion is America’s new multipurpose spacecraft for manned deep space exploration.

3:00pm: Journey to Space-3D Movie
FEE. Purchase Tickets here or at Museum Box Office
In the past half century, humans have punched through the stratosphere, walked on the moon, and lived continuously in orbit. In the coming decades, our unquenchable curiosity will take our species beyond the cradle of Earth to touch the face of another world. Strap in for the next giant leap. Next stop … Mars! Narrated by Patrick Stewart. Trailer

4:00pm: Journey to Space-3D Movie
FEE. Purchase Tickets here or at Museum Box Office
In the past half century, humans have punched through the stratosphere, walked on the moon, and lived continuously in orbit. In the coming decades, our unquenchable curiosity will take our species beyond the cradle of Earth to touch the face of another world. Strap in for the next giant leap. Next stop … Mars! Narrated by Patrick Stewart. Trailer


SECU Daily Planet Theater — Nature Research Center

10:00am:  Exciting Astronomy From Earth: Using the Keck Telescope to Study Young Stars
Dr. Rachel L. Smith, NC Museum of Natural Sciences/Appalachian State University
How unusual is our solar system? How do planets like Earth form and evolve? This presentation will describe how observing bright, young stars across the Galaxy — using one of the largest optical-infrared telescopes in the world — helps address these fundamental questions. In this talk Dr. Smith will share some of her newest observations of massive young stars at the center of our Galaxy.

11:00am:  We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe!
Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson, PhD Comics and UC Irvine
“We Have No Idea” is a fun, interactive presentation about everything that we DON’T know about the Universe, from the origin of our cosmos, to the dark matter that surrounds us. It features science and live cartooning. No scientific knowledge required, just a sense of curiosity and a sense of humor!

12:30pm:  Research and Public Outreach at the Dark Sky Observatory
Dr. Dan Caton, Observatory Director, Appalachian State University Dark Sky Observatory
Appalachian State’s Dark Sky Observatory, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, serves as the research lab for several astronomers and their students. They also have a very active outreach program for a wide range of public visitors. These activities will be discussed with a slideshow illustrating their facilities and programs.

1:30pm:  Voyager’s Trek to the Stars
Dr. Patrick Treuthardt, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
The two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977 are now the farthest man-made objects from Earth. Dr. Treuthardt will highlight some of the interesting past and possible future events of the Voyager mission.

2:30pm:  Comets, the Origin of Life, and the Rosetta Mission
Dr. Murthy S. Gudipati, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
Did comets bring the ingredients of life to Earth? These intriguing celestial bodies are the most primitive icy objects in our Solar System, and we are still learning about their possible role in bringing water and the ingredients of life to Earth.  Most recently, the Rosetta Mission found large quantities of organic molecules from the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, including an amino acid — Glycine. This presentation will discuss some of the exciting scientific discoveries on comets, and how they may help us understand the origin of life!

3:30pm:  First Science with the James Webb Space Telescope
Dr. Klaus Pontoppidan, Space Telescope Science Institute
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, due to be launched in the 2nd quarter of 2019, is the largest astronomical space observatory built to date. It will greatly expand our knowledge of how galaxies, stars, and planets are made, and will reveal the composition of exoplanets. This presentation will discuss what to expect after launch, and what some of the first science results might look like.

Environmental Conference Center — 4th Floor, Nature Research Center

Saturn Room

10:00am: Cassini’s 20-Year Mission to Saturn: Greatest Planetary Probe So Far
Shawn D. Bayle & Jeff Qualls, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassadors
We will hit the highlights of the Cassini mission to Saturn, and talk about some of the most important discoveries made about Saturn, its rings and its moons.
8 and older

11:00am: From Nano to Galactic
Ron Monti, Raleigh Astronomy Club
To understand many of the recent discoveries of science, it is essential to develop a sense of scale. Here we will provide you with some helpful tools to grasp the vast range of scientific measurements, from the very large to the very small.
12 and older

noon: The Year in Space
Tony Rice, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
A review of 2017 in space exploration and a look ahead to what to watch for in 2018.
12 and older

1:00pm: Telescopes: The Next Generation
Matt Funke, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
If you thought Hubble was impressive, wait until you see the next generation of telescopes! From the James Webb Space Telescope to the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, tools coming online in the next few years promise to revolutionize our picture of the cosmos.
8 and older

2:00pm: Deadly Stars
Doug Lively, Raleigh Astronomy Club
The stars have endured for millennia but, like humans, they have a life expectancy, too. When they die it’s always catastrophic; unleashing an insurmountable burst of energy that traverses the universe. This presentation explores the various way the stars can kill or really, really, hurt you…
12 and older

3:00pm: Exploring the TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets
Ian Hewitt, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Exotic exoplanet systems like TRAPPIST-1 are teaching us new things about stars with other planets. We will discuss what we know and what we are trying to learn with new tools like the James Webb Space Telescope.
8 and older

4:00pm: Driveway Astronomy
Doug Lively, Raleigh Astronomy Club
This presentation provides you with astronomy tips and projects that you can do at your own home for free or with very little investment. The presentation also covers tips for getting started in astronomy.
All ages

Uranus Room

10:30am: How We Get to Mars, How We Land, and How Our Robots Drive Around
Alan Rich, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
This presentation will show how we fly to Mars, the different ways to land, and how robots get around when on the ground.
All ages

11:30am: Beyond Moon Rocks: What Else Have We Brought Back From Space?
Alan Rich & Jeff Qualls, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassadors
This presentation will discuss the various missions to comets and asteroids that have returned, or will return, samples back to Earth. These missions include Stardust, Hayabusa, and OSIRIS-Rex.
8 and older

12:30pm: SpaceX and Commercial Space
Marc Fusco, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
An update on the exciting strides commercial companies are making in space.
All ages

1:30pm: A Scientist Goes to the Movies
Marc Fusco & Tony Rice, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassadors
An amusing look at the bad science in recent space movies.
All ages

2:30pm: Opportunity Update
Ken Brandt, Director, Robeson Planetarium; NASA Solar System Ambassador
The Opportunity rover is celebrating its 14th anniversary on Mars. We may be joined by a guest speaker via Skype from the Jet Propulsion Lab.
All ages

3:30pm Exoplanets: Finding Other Earths
Shawn D. Bayle, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Thousands of planets have been found orbiting stars other than our Sun. Most of the early discoveries are strange worlds, unable to sustain life as we know it. More recent discoveries from the Kepler spacecraft and ground-based observation show that planets and planetary systems like our own are common. We will discuss some of the most interesting find and look for parallels to our home planet.
All ages

Neptune Room

11:00am: Astronomy Then and Now
Mark Gibson, Raleigh Astronomy Club
How one amateur astronomer has seen the way astronomy has evolved after being away from it for twenty years.
12 and older

noon: Constellations Around the World
Sarah Taylor, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Explore constellations and the stories that people around the world have created to accompany them. Presentation followed by hands-on activity.
All ages

1:00pm: Gravitational Waves and Multi-Messenger Astronomy
Ian Hewitt, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Gravitational wave observatories have opened a new window on the universe, especially when combined with other types of observations. Learn about gravitational waves and the things they can teach us about the universe.
12 and older

2:00pm: Understanding and Measuring Light Pollution
Phyllis Lang, Knightware
Learn about the effects of light pollution on biology and astronomy. Discover ways to measure it, including citizen science projects.
8 and older

3:00pm: How Do We Get There From Here?
Matt Funke, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Getting to other planets in the Solar System is tricky. How can we tell where to send a spacecraft, and be pretty sure that the planet will be in the same place as the spacecraft when it gets there?
8 and older

4:00pm: Dragonfly: Drone Mission to Titan
Jeff Qualls, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Qualls will discuss the major goals of the proposed Dragonfly mission to send a drone to Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
8 and older

Pluto Room

2:30pm: Workshop for Educators: NASA’s “EYES” applications
Alan Rich & Tony Rice NASA Solar System Ambassador
A workshop for educators on NASA’s “Eyes on The Solar System,” “Eyes on Exoplanets,” and “Eyes on Earth.”
12 and older

3:30pm: Getting Started with Stellarium
Tony Rice, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
This workshop with get you started with Stellarium, a free astronomy application which turns your computer into a planetarium.
12 and older


Windows on the World —3rd floor, Nature Exploration Center

11:30am: Ancient Celestial Navigation
Bob Alderink, NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Learn how people found their way across the featureless oceans and deserts of the world using celestial navigation. You will be able to try out ancient tools like the cross staff, quadrant, Ottoman sun compass as well as more modern devices like the sextant and laser.  Discover the techniques used by ancient scientists to determine the distance to the Moon and planets, and the size and weight of our planet.

1:30pm: Animals of the Constellations
Jan Weems, NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Learn about the history of constellations and meet some of the Museum’s live ambassador animals that represent some of the most well-known constellations!

2:30pm: Animals of the Constellations
Jan Weems, NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Learn about the history of constellations and meet some of the Museum’s live ambassador animals that represent some of the most well-known constellations!


SUNDAY, January 28

WRAL 3D Theater — 1st Floor, Nature Exploration Center

1:00pm: Journey to Space-3D Movie
FEE. Purchase Tickets here or at Museum Box Office
In the past half century, humans have punched through the stratosphere, walked on the moon, and lived continuously in orbit. In the coming decades, our unquenchable curiosity will take our species beyond the cradle of Earth to touch the face of another world. Strap in for the next giant leap. Next stop … Mars! Narrated by Patrick Stewart. Trailer

2:00pm: Transforming Fantasy: Building a Space Station
Capt. Lee M. Morin, NASA Astronaut
During the STS-110 Space Shuttle mission, Capt. Lee Morin participated in two space walks to install the S-Zero Truss on the International Space Station. Highlights of this mission will be presented, together with an overview of the new Orion Program. Orion is America’s new multipurpose spacecraft for manned deep space exploration.

4:00pm: Journey to Space-3D Movie
FEE. Purchase Tickets here or at Museum Box Office
In the past half century, humans have punched through the stratosphere, walked on the moon, and lived continuously in orbit. In the coming decades, our unquenchable curiosity will take our species beyond the cradle of Earth to touch the face of another world. Strap in for the next giant leap. Next stop … Mars! Narrated by Patrick Stewart. Trailer


SECU Daily Planet Theater — 1st Floor, Nature Research Center

12:30pm: Jupiter’s Icy Moon Europa – Can It Harbor Life? Explorations with the Europa Clipper Mission
Dr. Murthy S. Gudipati, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
Europa is one of the four Galilean Moons of Jupiter, and one of the most intriguing solar system bodies that might harbor extraterrestrial life. It is covered by a thick layer of water ice, and it has more liquid water under its surface than all of Earth’s oceans combined.  The “Europa Clipper” is one of the exciting new missions now in the planning stages that will help scientists learn more about habitability and possibly the origin of life on this fascinating icy moon!

1:30pm: The Kepler Mission’s Search for Earth 2.0
Dr. JJ Hermes, Hubble Fellow, UNC-Chapel Hill
A behind-the-scenes look at NASA’s planet-finding Kepler space telescope, and how clever engineers brought it back to life as the K2 mission.

2:30pm: We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe!
Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson, PhD Comics and UC Irvine
“We Have No Idea” is a fun, interactive presentation about everything that we DON’T know about the Universe, from the origin of our cosmos, to the dark matter that surrounds us. It features science and live cartooning. No scientific knowledge required, just a sense of curiosity and a sense of humor!

3:30pm: First Science with the James Webb Space Telescope
Dr. Klaus Pontoppidan, Space Telescope Science Institute
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, due to be launched in the 2nd quarter of 2019, is the largest astronomical space observatory built to date. It will greatly expand our knowledge of how galaxies, stars, and planets are made, and will reveal the composition of exoplanets. This presentation will discuss what to expect after launch, and what some of the first science results might look like.


Environmental Conference Center — 4th Floor, Nature Research Center

Saturn Room

1:00pm: Opportunity Update
Ken Brandt, Director, Robeson Planetarium; NASA Solar System Ambassador
The Opportunity rover is celebrating its 14th anniversary on Mars. We may be joined by a guest speaker via Skype from the Jet Propulsion Lab.
All ages

2:00pm: Driveway Astronomy
Doug Lively, Raleigh Astronomy Club
This presentation provides you with astronomy tips and projects that you can do at your own home for free or with very little investment. The presentation also covers tips for getting started in astronomy.
All ages

3:00pm: Exoplanets: Finding Other Earths
Shawn D. Bayle, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Thousands of planets have been found orbiting stars other than our Sun. Most of the early discoveries are strange worlds, unable to sustain life as we know it. More recent discoveries from the Kepler spacecraft and ground-based observation show that planets and planetary systems like our own are common. We will discuss some of the most interesting finds and look for parallels to our home planet.
All ages

4:00pm: Deadly Stars
Doug Lively, Raleigh Astronomy Club
The stars have endured for millennia but like humans they have a life expectancy, too. When they die it’s always catastrophic; unleashing an insurmountable burst of energy that traverses the universe. This presentation explores the various way the stars can kill or really, really, hurt you ….
12 and older

Uranus Room

12:30pm: How We Get to Mars, How We Land, and How Our Robots Drive Around
Alan Rich, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
This presentation will show how we fly to Mars, the different ways to land, and how robots get around when on the ground.
All ages

1:30pm: Exploring the TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets
Ian Hewitt, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Exotic exoplanet systems like TRAPPIST-1 are teaching us new things about stars with other planets. We will discuss what we know and what we are trying to learn with new tools like the James Webb Space Telescope.
8 and older

2:30pm: A Scientist Goes to the Movies
Marc Fusco & Tony Rice, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassadors
An amusing look at the bad science in recent space movies.
All ages

3:30pm: Human Spaceflight 2018
Marc Fusco, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
A look at the near future of Human Spaceflight, including the exciting things NASA and private industry are preparing.
All ages

Neptune Room

1:00pm: How Do We Get There From Here?
Matt Funke, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Getting to other planets in the Solar System is tricky. How can we tell where to send a spacecraft, and be pretty sure that the planet will be in the same place as the spacecraft when it gets there?
8 and older

2:00pm: From Nano to Galactic
Ron Monti, Raleigh Astronomy Club
To understand many of the recent discoveries of science, it is essential to develop a sense of scale. Here we will provide you with some helpful tools to grasp the vast range of scientific measurements, from the very large to the very small.
12 and older

3:00pm: How Newspapers Covered the Race into Space
Mark Gibson, Raleigh Astronomy Club
See newspaper coverage from Project Mercury to the Space Shuttle, featuring actual newspapers collected by the presenter and his mom — not just the headlines but the front sections of the news, including what else was going on during this important time in history.
All ages

4:00pm: Telescopes: The Next Generation
Matt Funke, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
If you thought Hubble was impressive, wait until you see the next generation of telescopes! From the James Webb Space Telescope to the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, tools coming online in the next few years promise to revolutionize our picture of the cosmos.
8 and older

Pluto Room

12:30pm: Getting Started in Astronomy with Kids
Michael P. Keefe, Raleigh Astronomy Club
We will cover tips and activities to help engage and further develop your kids’ interest in astronomy. Content will focus on elementary school age children and older.
All ages

1:30pm Workshop for Educators: NASA’s “EYES” applications
Alan Rich & Tony Rice NASA Solar System Ambassador
A workshop for educators on NASA’s “Eyes on The Solar System,” “Eyes on Exoplanets,” and “Eyes on Earth.”
12 and older

3:30pm Gravitational Waves and Multi-Messenger Astronomy
Ian Hewitt, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Gravitational wave observatories have opened a new window on the universe, especially when combined with other types of observations. Learn about gravitational waves and the things they can teach us about the universe.
12 and older


Windows on the World — 3rd Floor, Nature Exploration Center

1:30pm: Animals of the Constellations
Linda Saah, NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Learn about the history of constellations and meet some of the Museum’s live ambassador animals that represent some of the most well-known constellations!

2:30pm: Animals of the Constellations
Linda Saah, NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Learn about the history of constellations and meet some of the Museum’s live ambassador animals that represent some of the most well-known constellations!


Sponsored by:

NC Space Grant