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Astronomy Days

  • Saturday, January 30, 2016
  • 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Go to Day 2: Sun., Jan. 31, noon–5pm

Featured Presentations
WRAL 3D Theater

A Path from North Carolina to NASA Astronaut and Beyond
Christina H. Koch, NASA Astronaut
Talk will highlight the path that Christina took from growing up in North Carolina to becoming an Astronaut, the Astronaut Candidate training she recently completed, and how NASA’s Human Space Flight plans involve Astronauts as a part of the search for life beyond our planet.
Saturday, January 30, 11:30am and 1:30pm
Sunday, January 31, 2pm

Searching for E.T.
Dr. Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer and Director, SETI Institute
There are a trillion planets in the Milky Way, so it’s hard to believe we’re alone.  How are scientists searching for aliens, and what would happen if they found them?
Saturday, January 30, 3pm
Sunday, January 31, 3:30pm

The Museum partners with NASA and the Raleigh Astronomy Club to help you see the big picture — of the Universe! From comet crafts to exoplanets, space enthusiasts of all ages will find something to do at Astronomy Days.

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Featured Presentation – SECU Daily Planet Theater

Planets and The James Webb Telescope
Dr. Klaus Pontoppidan, JWST Deputy Project Scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute
Get an overview of the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. A key scientific objective of the observatory, due to be launched in 2018, is to revolutionize our understanding of exoplanets, their makeup and formation. 
Saturday, January 30, 11am

Exhibits

Age, Weight and Jumping on Other Planets
The Raleigh Astronomy Club
Learn what it is like to jump several feet in the air on a small planet, how old you are on the dwarf planet Pluto and why you weigh about a ton on Jupiter.

The All-Important Atmosphere and Extra-terrestrial Estimates
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In our atmosphere exhibit, we will demonstrate (using live yeast CO2 production) how micro-organisms were critical to the formation of the atmosphere as we know it, and how the Earth’s magnetic field is able to shield the atmosphere from the destructive Solar Wind. In our Extra-terrestrial Estimates activity, we will use an interactive display board to educate participants on the probabilities that intelligent life exists elsewhere and help them make their own predictions for how many other civilizations might be out there!

Anatomy of the Daily Planet
The Raleigh Astronomy Club
At 70 feet in diameter, the Museum’s Daily Planet is a giant scale model of Earth. How tall are the mountains, how deep the seas and how thick the tectonic plates at this scale? And how massive is humanity versus other life forms on earth? Find out the answers and much more here!

Ancient Celestial Navigation
NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Natural World Investigate Lab
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 and the 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.

Animals of the Constellations
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Have you ever wondered how the constellations got their names?  There are 88 constellations in the sky and many of them are named after animals!  Come meet some of these critters and learn about the mythology and natural history of the animals, as well as how constellations provide a map of the night sky.

Ask the Astronomer and Astronomy Days Information
The Raleigh Astronomy Club
Ask questions about astronomy, find out about the event and learn about the local Raleigh Astronomy Club and how their activities have contributed to Wake County communities since 1978.

Astronomical Arthropods
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Astronomical Arthropods, featuring “Invertebrates of the Zodiac” and “Bugs with Celestial Names.”
Learn the stories behind the constellations of Scorpio and Cancer.
Learn how the moon phases and tides affect invertebrates and how bugs like the Luna Moth got their names!

Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Lab
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Want to know more about the exciting astrophysics research happening at the museum? The Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab will open its doors during Astronomy Days weekend! Come meet the scientists, students and volunteers working on a range of research and outreach projects focused on understanding the cosmos and sharing the excitement of their astrophysics discoveries!  (The Lab may be closed for short times, periodically, during the event.)

Astronomy Days T-Shirt Sales
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Purchase this year’s shirt with its astronomically-awesome new design!

Astrophotography
The Raleigh Astronomy Club
On display are pictures of galaxies, nebulae, stars and planets taken by the members of the Raleigh Astronomy Club.  The cameras and telescopes used to take the pictures will also be on display.

Astrophysics at NC State
North Carolina State University

AstroSurf with PARI
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
Use Smiley, a 4.6m radio telescope, remotely. Control where it points and take data to find out how fast things move in our galaxy.

Astrowimp: Astrophotography
Astrowimp.com
Learn about capturing deep space photons from Eastern North Carolina. Come see what is possible from your backyard!

Blast Off Rockets!
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Construct a rocket masterpiece and then launch it into the sky!

Bring Back the Night Sky
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Light pollution affects all of us on the planet, from astronomers to sea turtles.  Find out about this environmental issue and what you can do to help bring back the night sky!

Cary Space I.D. (Innovation & Design) Camp
Town of Cary Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources
Space, innovation, design and applied science all in one week! Join our ultimate camp experience for astronaut wannabes and future engineers.

CHAOS
Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society

Constellation Exploration
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Learn about the history and uses of constellations and then use a flashlight to head out into “space” to track down some constellations right here in the Museum!

Discovery Room
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Be an astronaut in training!  Space-themed activities for our youngest visitors and their families.  Build a Duplo space station, search for constellations and finish planetary puzzles.  Hours: Saturday 11am-4pm, Sunday 1pm-4pm.

Dry Ice Comets
NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Micro World Investigate Lab and Raleigh Astronomy Club
Watch astronomers use everyday supplies to make an out-of-the-world comet.  Learn a little about the history of comets and their importance to life here on earth.  Demos will be 11:30am and 2:30pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday.

Exoplanets
The Raleigh Astronomy Club
Learn about:
– Known exo-planets and their characteristics
– Detection methods (radial velocity, light curves, Kepler Space Telescope)
– Amateur detection efforts
– Learn about and input values into the Drake equation
Play with a LEGO Orrery!

Green Roof Solar Observing
NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Lab
See our star up close at Astronomy Days! Astronomers will set up solar telescopes on the 4th floor terrace of the Nature Research Center to safely view the Sun with special filters. You’ll see fascinating solar surface features and solar storm ejections, and possibly a few sun spots! Scientists and experienced volunteers will be on-hand to explain and answer questions. 1:30pm-3:30pm, both days, weather permitting.

High Power Rocketry
Tripoli Rocketry Association
Come and see the exciting hobby of model and high power rocketry. Lots of rockets on display along with videos from local launches.

How Craters Are Formed
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Learn the ‘hole’ story! From the surface of Earth, to the moon and other celestial bodies, discover the origin, speech and size of the meteors that caused these impressive pockmarks throughout the universe!

How to Find Life with Spectroscopy
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Learn how astronomers can find out if a planet might be suitable for life using spectroscopy and color absorption, then, use puzzles to see if you can find the mystery planet that shows potential signs of life!

Lunar Lander and Mars Rover Maker Station
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Can you create an amazing robot or spaceship from recycled materials?  Try your hand at creating your own special machine or recreate a model of the Lunar Lander or Mars Rover!

Men on the Moon
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Only twelve men have walked on the moon.  Learn about their adventures and the Apollo missions between 1969 and 1972; the last manned space flights beyond low earth orbit.

Meteorites
Duke University
Touch a falling star.  Hold something older than the Earth itself.  Most meteorites are fossils of the first condensed solid matter in the solar nebula some 4,600,000,000 years ago.  Others are from small shattered planets, from Mars and the Moon.  Witness the best video of the Russian meteor at Chelyabinsk.  See the stained-glass-like structure of the minerals in thin section under the microscope.

Meteorwrongs
NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Naturalist Center
See examples of the most common geological specimens that are mistaken for meteorites and pick up information that will explain the differences between meteorites and these common rock specimens. 

NC Statewide Star Party
Morehead Planetarium & Science Center
Learn about the combo platter of the 4th annual NC Statewide Star Party, the North Carolina Science Festival, and Morehead Planetarium & Science Center. Look here for astronomy activities for all ages and information about joining us for the Star Party, April 8 and 9.

Night Sky Network: Lunar Challenge
The Raleigh Astronomy Club
Investigate the simulated Lunar surface through s telescope, find and recognize objects on the moon, and participate in interactive sessions to learn more about the solar system.

North Carolina Academy of Science
The North Carolina Academy of Science is a leader in promoting public appreciation of science, science education, scientific research and a meaningful role for science in public policy. 

Reach for the Stars with Free Educational Technology!
SAS® Curriculum Pathways®
Come explore Reach for the Stars, a free interactive astronomy iBook, and other free educational apps available from SAS Curriculum Pathways (www.sascurriculumpathways.com).  You’ll get to play with the apps firsthand and learn along the way!

Real-Life Death Stars: Measuring Rocks on Alien Planets by Tearing Them Apart
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
What are the rocks like on alien planets? Astronomers are getting the first answers by studying ancient stars, some of which have gobbled up asteroids and planets — which can tell us what these rocks are made of and even how much water they have.

Scale of the Universe
The Raleigh Astronomy Club
Check out this interactive Flash animation covering everything in the universe from the fabric of space-time (the Planck length at 10 to negative 35 power) to the world we know measured in meters & kilometers to the estimated size of the universe (~ 10 to 26.6 power).

The Search for Life Beyond Earth
NASA LARC
NASA Langley Research Center’s exhibit provides hands-on opportunities for individuals to discover and learn how NASA is exploring our solar system and beyond in search of life and more.

Simple Astrophotography and How Telescopes Work
The Raleigh Astronomy Club
View a display of low-cost astronomy equipment for Astrophotography.

Solar Observing on the Plaza
The Raleigh Astronomy Club
Peer at our own amazing star through a safely filtered telescope. 

The Sun and Its Rays
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Come learn about why ultraviolet (UV) light makes your skin darker and craft a bracelet that has a special surprise when you expose it to sunlight!

Telescopes on Display
The Raleigh Astronomy Club
View a display of the different types of amateur telescopes from simple to complex.

Themed Face Painting
Paint Savvy
Themed face painting with aliens, galaxies and other celestial-inspired designs.

Views of the International Space Station
Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
Come experience the International Space Station National Lab with a hands-on Virtual Tour.  Explore the various laboratories, their capabilities and even the science aboard the ISSNL including Windows on Earth.  Bring home ideas for student projects and engagement with research in low earth orbit!

Presentations -Saturday, January 30

WRAL 3D Theater – 1st Floor NEC

11:30am:    A Path from North Carolina to NASA Astronaut and Beyond
Christina H. Koch, NASA Astronaut
Talk will highlight the path that Christina took from growing up in North Carolina to becoming an Astronaut, the Astronaut Candidate training she recently completed, and how NASA’s Human Space Flight plans involve Astronauts as a part of the search for life beyond our planet.

1:30pm:       A Path from North Carolina to NASA Astronaut and Beyond
Christina H. Koch, NASA Astronaut
Talk will highlight the path that Christina took from growing up in North Carolina to becoming an Astronaut, the Astronaut Candidate training she recently completed, and how NASA’s Human Space Flight plans involve Astronauts as a part of the search for life beyond our planet.

3:00pm:         Searching for E.T.
Dr. Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer and Director, SETI Institute
There are a trillion planets in the Milky Way, so it’s hard to believe we’re alone.  How are scientists searching for aliens, and what would happen if they found them?

SECU Daily Planet Theater – 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Floors, NRC

11:00am        Planets and the James Webb Space Telescope
Dr. Klaus Pontoppidan, JWST deputy project scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute
Learn about the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. A key scientific objective of the observatory, due to be launched in 2018, is to revolutionize our understanding of exoplanets, their makeup and formation.

12:00pm         Unmasking Europa:  The Search for Life on Jupiter’s Ocean Moon
Dr. Richard Greenberg, Professor Emeritus of Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona and author of the book “Unmasking Europa”.
Europa, one of the four moons of Jupiter discovered by Galileo, may be the most likely place for us to first find extraterrestrial life and is a top exploration objective for NASA.  Although only the size of the Earth’s own moon, it is surrounded by a global ocean with twice as much liquid water as all the oceans of Earth.  Images of the surface show a thin layer of ice, which undergoes continual change as it is cracked and heated by tides.

1:00pm        The Science Behind “The Martian” 
Expert Panel will include Dr. Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer and Director, SETI Institute
Join us for a riveting group discussion to determine the truths, far-fetched ideas, and exciting possibilities from “The Martian”.

2:30pm       Radiation and Life on Mars
Dr. Regina DeWitt, East Carolina University
We do not know if there ever has been life on Mars, but in the past the climate was much more suitable for life than today. This presentation describes how radiation on Mars influences life forms that might have existed or still exist.

3:30pm       Searching for Life on Galactic Scales, SECU Daily Planet Theater
Dr. Patrick Treuthardt, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Windows on the World – NEC 3rd Floor

12:30pm:      Enceladus and Its Ice Geysers
Jeff Qualls, NASA Solar System Ambassador
I will discuss Saturn’s moon Enceladus and what we have learned about it from the Cassini orbiter. I will also discuss a proposed mission to learn more about Enceladus and its ice geysers.

1:30pm        Animals of the Constellations
Museum Educator

2:30pm       Animals of the Constellations
Museum Educator

Saturn Room, NRC 4th Floor

11:00am        Our Amazing Star: The Sun
Ron Monti, Raleigh Astronomy Club
Life on Earth is dependent upon the light and heat generated in the Sun. But how much do we really know about our nearest star? In this presentation, we will discuss the structure of the Sun, nuclear fusion, the difference between solar flares and coronal mass ejections, the effect of solar storms on Earth, and see an amazing NASA satellite video. Sunglasses not required!

12:00pm       The Surface of Pluto
Ian Hewitt, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Pluto is a far more interesting place than we first imagined with a dynamic surface more like Earth than we suspected. Learn about some of the interesting discoveries and puzzles seen by the New Horizon mission.

1:00pm       The Oceans, By Jove
Matthew Funke, NASA Solar System Ambassador
We’ll talk about the oceans we’ve found on the moons circling Jupiter, and why we think Europa’s in particular could be a good candidate for life.

2:00pm       Cassini at Saturn A final Mission Extension for our Intrepid Spacecraft 
Shawn Bayle, NASA Solar System Ambassador

3:00pm       Roving Mars: Updates
Ken Brandt, Robeson Planetarium

4:00pm        How We Looked at Pluto
Tony Rice, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador
Since passing Pluto in July, the New Horizons mission has returned stunning images and a new understanding of the once-planet.

Uranus Room, NRC 4th Floor

11:30am       The State of Space Exploration
Tony Rice, NASA Solar System Ambassador
A look back at the triumphs and tribulations in space exploration through 2015 with a preview of what’s to come in 2016.

12:30pm       Real-Life Death Stars: Measuring Rocks on Alien Planets by Tearing them Apart
Dr. JJ Hermes, Hubble Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
What are rocks like on alien planets? Astronomers are getting the first answers by studying ancient stars, some of which have gobbled up asteroids and planets – which can tell us what these rocks are made of and even how much water they have.

1:30pm       A Scientist Goes to the Movies
Marc Fusco, JPL Solar System Ambassador
A lighthearted look at the good and bad science in space movies.

2:30pm      Spaceflight 101: How we get to other planets
Alan Rich, JPL Solar System Ambassador
Rockets and space flight.  How do we get robots (and someday people) to other planets?

3:30pm      What is the Multiverse?
Dr. Steven M. Christensen, Department of Physics and Astronomy, UNC Chapel Hill
Is there only one universe or are there many, maybe an infinite number? What different kinds can there be and where are they? Can we prove they exist? Is our universe just a simulation? We will look briefly into these fascinating ideas and more.

Neptune Room, NRC 4th Floor

11:00am        Alien Planets: How we are finding them
Alan Rich, NASA Solar System Ambassador
We have only just begun to find alien planets orbiting nearby stars, and we’ve found thousands. How do we do it? Find out!

12:00pm        SpaceX and Commercial Space
Marc Fusco, NASA Solar System Ambassador
A look at recent developments in commercial space, including SpaceX and competitors.

1:00pm        The Search for Habitable Worlds
Shawn Bayle, NASA Solar System Ambassador

2:00pm       Basic Astrophotography Anyone Can Do, No Telescope Required!
Matt Lochansky, Raleigh Astronomy Club

3:00pm      Pluto’s Atmosphere
Ian Hewitt, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador

4:00pm    Driveway Astronomy
Doug Lively, Raleigh Astronomy Club
Tips on how to get started in astronomy and what you can observe from your own home.

WORKSHOPS – Pluto Room, NRC 4th Floor

11:00am     Getting Started in Astronomy – Pluto Room, 4th Floor NRC
Ian Hewitt, NASA Solar System Ambassador
Learn what you need to get started and to experience the wonders of the night sky.

1:00pm    Getting Kids Started in Astronomy
Mike Keefe, Raleigh Astronomy Club

3:00pm     Getting Started in Astrophotography
Chris Cole, Raleigh Astronomy Club

Details

Details

Date:
January 30
Times:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Venue

Downtown Raleigh
11 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601 United States
919.707.9800

Organizer

Kari Wouk
919.707.9879