RALEIGH — Over the past few decades, NASA has sent instrumented robotic probes to all of the planets in the Solar System, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, asteroids and comets. Learn about the beautiful, strange, mysterious and puzzling worlds this research has revealed when keynote speaker Dr. James Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science, presents “50 Years of Solar System Exploration: New Worlds, New Discoveries” at this year’s Astronomy Days. Held at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on Saturday (9am-5pm) and Sunday (noon-5pm), January 26-27, this event gives new as well as seasoned astronomy-buffs a unique view of the science of celestial objects. Free.
Visitors of all ages can enjoy myriad exhibits, presentations and activities throughout the weekend. Learn more about the funky physics surrounding the mission to Mars, make and blast off your own bottle rocket on the Museum plaza, find out how much you weigh on different moons and planets, and see an inflatable model of the Mars Curiosity rover. Gamers can test their Xbox skills by landing a virtual rover on the surface of Mars. NASCAR fans can compare racing tires to those used in planetary exploration. Rocketeers can gaze at the 40-foot working models of the Tripoli Rocketry Association. Sun worshipers can peer at the Sun (safely) through solar telescopes from the Raleigh Astronomy Club.
Special presentations also include: “Mars Funky Physics Show” with NASA’s Dr. David Wright; “Zero-g Research on NASA’s Weightless Wonder Aircraft” with UNC Pembroke’s Dr. Timothy Ritter; “Meteorites of North Carolina” with Duke University’s Nicholas Gessler; and much more.
For more information about Astronomy Days, visit http://naturalsciences.org/programs-events/astronomy-days-1  or contact Educational Events Curator Bonnie Eamick at firstname.lastname@example.org  or 919.707.9890. Astronomy Days is made possible through strong partnerships with NASA and the Raleigh Astronomy Club.