Museum gives tour of our dynamic planet, followed by outdoor star party

For immediate release ‐ April 11, 2017

Contact: Jon Pishney, 919.707.8083. Images available upon request

View of Earth with an accurate background star field, made with OpenSpace visualization software.

View of Earth with an accurate background star field, made with OpenSpace visualization software. Credit: Dr. Rachel L. Smith, Head, Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab/NC Museum of Natural Sciences.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Celebrate Earth Day early with a visually compelling tour of our dynamic planet when the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences hosts a live presentation featuring new NASA-funded real-time visualization software called OpenSpace, on Friday, April 21, 7 p.m. in the SECU Daily Planet Theater. Following the presentation, visit the Museum’s outdoor facility for a guided look at the stars. Both events are free.

Beginning with views of Earth inspired by images taken by Apollo 8 astronauts, members of the first manned mission to the Moon, the presentation will guide you through the many ways in which scientists are using satellite instruments and computer models to monitor global change. This immersive presentation will be led by the American Museum of Natural History’s Director of Astrovisualization Carter Emmart and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies climate scientist Benjamin Cook. The presentation will feature additional live links to other museums that are also part of this new partnership between AMNH, the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and other leaders in space visualization.

Following the presentation, visitors can attend the Statewide Star Party at Prairie Ridge Ecostation, the Museum’s outdoor education facility in west Raleigh (1671 Gold Star Drive). From 8:30 to 11:00 p.m., you can view the stars and planets through telescopes, learn about the constellations, get answers to your astronomy questions, and learn how you can help scientists learn more about our universe while having fun doing astronomy and night sky activities for all ages. This event is part of the NC Science Festival. For more information, please contact Chris Goforth at or 919.707.8882. NOTE: If it is cloudy or rainy, you can call 919.707.8888 (choose option 5) after 5 p.m. Friday for information about possible rescheduling or cancellation.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 and 121 W. Jones St.) in downtown Raleigh is an active research institution that engages visitors of every age and stage of learning in the wonders of science and the natural world, drawing them into the intriguing fields of study that are critical to the future of North Carolina. Hours: Mon.– Sat., 9 a.m. –5 p.m., and Sun., noon–5 p.m. Visit the Museum online at Emlyn Koster, PhD, Museum Director.

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