Astronomy Days 2018

Saturday, January 27 & Sunday, January 28, 2018

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

Astronomy Days has many wonderful exhibits and activities. Exhibits will be updated frequently, so check back often!

Age, Weight and Jumping on Other Planets
Raleigh Astronomy Club
How old are you in Martian years? How much would you weigh on Venus?  How high could you jump if you were on Pluto?  Find out the answers to these questions and many more at the “Age, Weight & Jumping on Other Planets” exhibit.

Ancient Navigation
NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Natural World Investigate Lab
We will be demonstrating tools and techniques used by ancient people to navigate by the stars, moon, sun and earth’s magnetic field.

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.

Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Lab
NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Saturn with Galactic star field, rendered from real data using OpenSpace software. Image: R. Smith. Saturn with Galactic star field, rendered from real data using OpenSpace software. Image: R. Smith.

The Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab will be open all weekend for Astronomy Days! Come meet Museum astronomers, Dr. Rachel Smith and Dr. Patrick Treuthardt, plus their students and interns, who will be describing their research and outreach programs. The lab will also be showcasing cutting-edge space visualization software called OpenSpace, a NASA-funded collaboration led by the American Museum of Natural History, in New York. Visitors will see the latest in solar system and planetary fly-throughs, and how real mission data is being used to create this amazing new open-source educational tool!

Astronomy with Binoculars
Raleigh Astronomy Club
View a display of low-cost astronomy equipment for astrophotography.

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

Raleigh Astronomy Club
Come view excellent examples of astronomy photos taken by members of the Raleigh Astronomy Club.  Examples of astrophotography gear will be exhibited and members will be available to discuss techniques and processes.

Astrophotography by Tim Christiansen
View astrophotographs of deep space taken from right here in North Carolina! Talk to Tim Christensen, an artist who captures photons from across time and space.

Astrosurf with PARI
Move a radio telescope remotely. The telescope lives near Rosman, NC in the western part of the state. PARI staff facilitate you as you control a 12m radio telescope on your own!

Birds After Dark
Wake Audubon Society
Some birds migrate during the night, but light pollution from cities can seriously disorient these night-time fliers. We’ll show how birds see at night and provide some tips on helping migrating birds get to their destination.

Blast Off! Rockets
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Create a rocket masterpiece and bring it outside to shoot it into the sky!

Bling! Sparkling Constellation Paintings by Stacy Lewis
Stacy Lewis Studio
Stacy will be demonstrating her mixed media technique on constellation paintings using iridescent pigments, metallic embossing powders and fabulous sparkly Swarovski crystals.

Chapel Hill Astronomy and Observational Society
Who are we?  What do we do?  Check us out!

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!

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
Special Astronomy Days Hours!
Saturday: 10am–4pm
Sunday: 1pm–4pm
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.

Do You See What I See? Space Telescopes and the Spectrum
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Look through the eyes of the space telescopes and discover the wonders of deep space. Learn about the different telescopes from Hubble to the new James Webb Space Telescope, launching in 2019. Learn how they take pictures focusing on different parts of the light spectrum. You can even create and take home your very own mini Hubble!

Dry Ice Comets
NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Micro World Investigate Lab
Watch astronomers use everyday supplies to make an out-of-this-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.

Raleigh Astronomy Club
Learn about the methods used for detecting Exoplanets and see some models of Exoplanets.  We’ll use our own version of the Kepler Space Telescope, a Lego orrery and artificial star to demonstrate the transit method of detecting Exoplanets.   Visitors can also learn about the Drake Equation and input their own variables to see how many other communicating civilizations are in our galaxy.  We’ll also have a video illustrating the Fermi Paradox.

Explore with NASA
NASA Langley Research Center
Explorers wanted! Engineer a satellite or run a rover race to learn about the technologies NASA uses today. Visit with Spacey Casey and take your own astronaut photo as you learn what it takes to live and work in space!

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.
1:00–2:30pm, both days, weather permitting.

High Power Rocketry
Tripoli Rocketry Association
Come join an inspiring, educational, family hobby with an unparalleled safety record. We’re looking for people just like you!

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 Make Stars and Solar Systems
UNC-Chapel Hill Physics and Astronomy
This exhibit contains an interactive demo on how stars are made, and an activity to make a scale version of the solar system that can fit in your pocket!

If Every Star Were a Grain of Sand
Raleigh Astronomy Club
Do you know how many stars are in the observable universe? This exhibit will give you an idea of the huge numbers of stars and interstellar distances that astronomers have discovered in the cosmos.

Lunar Landers and Mars Rovers Maker Station
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Can you create an amazing robot or spaceship from found materials? Try your hand at creating your own special machine or recreate a model of the lunar lander or Mars rover!

Meet the Raleigh Astronomy Club and Ask the Astronomer
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Meet Raleigh Astronomy Club members, learn about how the club supports astronomy in the greater Raleigh area, check out upcoming events and check out the Ask an Astronomy booth.  An interactive Speed of Light exhibit will also be on display.

Men on the Moon
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
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.

Mission: Collisions
UNC-Chapel Hill Society of Physics Students
Make some collisions! We have fun, interactive demos of collisional mechanics, along with trivia on collisions (both intentional and not) of space missions, all presented by students from UNC-CH Society of Physics Students.

Moonbear’s Shadow
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Adhere to the laws of space and time by participating in this hands-on activity designed primarily for young visitors and their families. Participants move a flashlight around an object to make and experiment with shadows. The activity also has connections to the geometry of a solar eclipse as the Moon and Sun cast a shadow onto Earth.

NASA’s Balloon-Based BETTII Telescope
NC State University
When NASA needed specialty optics for their high-altitude BETTII telescope, they contacted precision engineering experts at NC State to make them. The flight spare is on display alongside video footage from the mission.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover in VR
NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Visual World Investigate Lab
See what it is like to be on the surface of Mars with the Curiosity rover in this Virtual Reality experience.

Pocket Solar System and Orbiting Objects
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
There is a lot of space in our solar system — come learn about planets, moons and other objects and how gravity influences their orbits!

The Quest for Extraterrestrial Life
North Carolina Academy of Science
Exhibits and hands-on science activities will engage the minds of children and adults in the scientific quest for extraterrestrial life.

Scale of the Universe
Raleigh Astronomy Club
This interactive exhibit created by two high-school aged brothers will allow you explore the scale of our universe from the smallest theoretical scales (the Planck length at 10-33 meters) to the largest distances of the observable universe (1028 meters) and everything in between.

Sea Turtles After Dark
Bald Head Island Conservancy
Visit the Bald Head Island Conservancy booth to learn how sea turtle hatchlings use the night sky to find their way to the ocean.

Solar Observing
Raleigh Astronomy Club
Safely look at the sun through telescopes from Raleigh Astronomy Club members (weather permitting).

Starring Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines
Discover, Learn, and Explore, that is just part of the fun of being a Girl Scout. Stop by our table to join the fun.

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!

Sun, Earth and Moon Craft
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Bring the kids and come learn about the relationship between the Sun, the Earth and the Moon!  You will learn about solar eclipses, lunar eclipses and how these three amazing celestial objects relate to and affect one another.

Telescopes on Display
Raleigh Astronomy Club
Come look at views of the Moon and planets (actually hi-res photos hung up high in the Museum atrium) through member-owned telescopes.  Accept the “challenge at the eyepiece” to locate specific features on the Moon.  See different types of telescopes at work.