Astronomy Days 2024

Saturday, February 3rd and Sunday, February 4th

Both Days: 10am–5pm

Astronomy Days has many wonderful exhibits and activities. This list 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 this exhibit.

All About Space
Micro World Investigate Lab, NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Explore what the solar system and space have to offer! Hours: 10:30am–12.30pm and 1pm–3pm.

Animal Navigation
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Animals use different ways to navigate the planet. Come learn how animals find their way using the Sun, the Moon, the Earth’s magnetic field and more, and how scientists are still learning just how the animals do it!

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 & Astrophysics Research Lab
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Times for lab openings will be posted during the event

The Museum’s Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab showcases 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 research from Museum astronomers Dr. Rachel Smith and Dr. Patrick Treuthardt, as well as solar system and planetary fly-throughs using real mission data created using an open-source educational tool! Dr. Smith and Dr. Treuthardt, along with colleagues and students, will be circulating during the event and may discuss their research and outreach with visitors as well!

Astronomy at Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University
Learn about the astronomy program, outreach programs and observatories at Appalachian State University.

Astronomy Days T-Shirt Sales
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Purchase this year’s shirt!

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

Raleigh Astronomy Club
Come view excellent 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.

Blast-Off Rockets
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Create a rocket masterpiece and launch it sky high!

Breath of Fresh Air
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Explore the technology and processes that will be necessary to create a breathable atmosphere for life on a Moon base, while also talking about the current processes being used on the International Space Station. Learners will do an experiment that demonstrates some of the science concepts involved in this process.

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!

Chapel Hill Astronomy and Observational Society
Club members range from precocious teenagers to UNC astronomy professors, but most are just enthusiastic amateur astronomers.  Stop by and meet them and see what they’re up to.

Comet on a Stick and Astronaut Photo Booth
Over the Moon Playspace
Hands-on make-and-take activities for kids including: make a comet on a stick, create your own asteroid, an astronaut photo booth, and more!

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!

Constellations on the Go!
Boy Scouts Occoneechee Council
Have a favorite constellation? Stop by the Cub Scout table and create your own constellation flashlight! Enjoy the beauty of the stars anywhere you want! Just turn off the lights! Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA is for boys AND girls!

Craters and How They 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, speed and size of the meteors that caused these impressive pockmarks throughout the universe!

Discovery Room
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Explore the natural world, including the skies above, in the Discovery Room! The Discovery Room is an ideal space for intergenerational learning for children and families. Hours: 10:30am–12:30pm and 1pm–3pm.

Drive a Lunar Rover on the Moon
Cardinal Gibbons High School Robotics Team
Embark on an extraterrestrial adventure as you navigate a lunar rover across the vast expanse of our celestial neighbor on a giant Moon map. Receive complimentary patches and driver’s licenses as souvenirs to commemorate your out-of-this-world journey.

Dry Ice Comets
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
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 held at 11:30am and 2:30pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Eclipse Chalk Art
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Observing a total solar eclipse can be an exciting, once in a lifetime experience! Long before there were cameras or telescopes, eclipse watchers recorded what they saw in the sky in words, drawings and paintings. You can have fun creating your own picture of a solar eclipse with chalk and paper!

Raleigh Astronomy Club
Learn about the methods used for detecting exoplanets and see some models of exoplanets.  The club will use their 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 might be in our galaxy. They’ll also have a video illustrating the Fermi paradox.

Finding the North Star and Others
Raleigh Astronomy Club
A very kid-friendly and beginner-friendly exhibit of how to find the North Star (Polaris) and others, and why the sky moves the way it does. Based on books by H.A. Rey, who was also the author of the Curious George books.

Fossils in Space
Schiele Museum of Natural History
Can fossils occur in space? Have fossils been to space? Find out about the relationship between fossils and astronomy!

Fundamentals of Flight
Raleigh-Wake Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol
Do you dream of flying? At this display, led by Civil Air Patrol cadets, you will be able to design and test your own paper aircrafts, try landing an airplane on target and learn about air-to-ground communications.

Green Roof Solar Observing
Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Lab, NC Museum of Natural Sciences
See our star up close! Astronomers will set up solar telescopes on the 4th floor terrace of the Nature Research Center so you can safely view the Sun with special filters. You’ll see fascinating solar surface features like plasma loops and possibly a few sunspots! Scientists and experienced volunteers will be on hand to explain and answer questions. This activity will run from 1:00pm–2:30pm both days, weather permitting.

High-Powered Rocketry
High Powered Rocketry Club, NC State University
Learn about the hobby of High-Powered Rocketry using real-world rocket science, and build your own straw rockets for launching.

If Earth Were the Size of the SECU Daily Planet
Raleigh Astronomy Club
How high is Mount Everest? How deep are the oceans? How thick are tectonic plates? You’ll find the answers to all these questions and more much as the club uses the Museum’s giant globe as a scale model of Earth.

Physics Demonstrations
NC State University Physics Department
Space is all about physics. Come see interesting and interactive physics demonstrations!

Lights Out
Wake Audubon Society
Birds become disoriented by artificial lights. Lights Out is an effort to encourage government, commercial and residential buildings to turn off outside lights and shield inside lights from 11pm to 6am during the peak bird migration periods. (September 15–November 30, and March 15–May 31.)

Live in the VisLab: Apollo Engineer Ted Dunn
NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Visual World Investigate Lab
Meet one of the engineers who worked directly on the spacecraft that took astronauts to the moon! Hours: 10:30am–12:30pm and 1pm–3pm.

Living Conservatory (Butterfly Room)
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Open for Astronomy Days!

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 & Ask the Astronomer
Raleigh Astronomy Club
Meet Raleigh Astronomy Club members, learn how the club supports astronomy in the greater Raleigh area, check out upcoming events and the Ask an Astronomer booth. An interactive speed of light exhibit will also be on display.

Meteorites and Meteor-wrongs: Learn How to Tell the Difference!
NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Naturalist Center
Learn about the features common to all meteorites and how to spot meteorite “imposters”! We’ll have examples of both on display in the Naturalist Center.

Moonbear’s Shadow
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Explore a storybook about a little bear exploring his own shadow’s connections to the geometry of a solar eclipse as the Moon and Sun cast a shadow onto Earth. Learn about 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.

NC Near Space
NC Near Space Research
NC Near Space Research is group of local hobbyists who fly large weather balloons to 25 miles above the Earth. This is far above aircraft, weather and breathable air, where the sky is dark even in the daytime.

Planet Hunters and Investigators
UNC Physics and Astronomy
Meet real scientific researchers and learn how astrophysicists study the cosmos!

The Quest for Extraterrestrial Life
North Carolina Academy of Science
Join the Academy in the Curiosity Classroom for a fun look at life of extreme environments, from living water bears and vinegar eels to plants small enough to fasten onto necklaces. Activities will feature Mars and Earth’s extreme environments, and colorful crafts — Pinwheel Galaxy pinwheels, seed planters and draw-your-favorite alien sheets!

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, 1.6 x 10-35 meters) to the largest distances of the observable universe (1028 meters) and everything in between.

Scribble Machines
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Make spectacular robot art and give your engineering skills a jump start at this station, where you can learn about the mechanisms used to create Mars rovers!

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

Space Exploration Birthday Party
NC Museum of Natural Sciences Birthday Parties
This Astronomy Days, NCMNS will be debuting its newest Birthday Party theme. Come by and see us to learn how you can have an out-of-this-world birthday!

Space in Your Hands with PARI
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
PARI will have a variety of meteorites from their collection for visitors to touch and hold, and will print 3D scale models of meteorite impact craters from places like the Moon and Mars while you watch. You can also learn to remote control one of our radio telescopes and see the signals from supernova remnants! They will share information about their Space Exploration Summer Camps and available scholarships.

Space Voyagers
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Celebrate Black History Month by putting yourself in the shoes of some talented space experts. Fix the ISS like astronaut Victor Glover, calculate trajectories like Katherine Johnson and hear about the experiences of Black space voyagers from history through the present.

Starburst Quilt
Capital Quilters Guild of Raleigh
The guild will have a hands-on activity to create star-shaped quilt blocks. Examples will be displayed.

Statewide Star Party: Sun and Moon
Morehead Planetarium and Science Center
Get a sneak preview of some of the activities available at the annual Statewide Star Party — 35 free sky-watching events throughout April! From the mountains to the coast, celebrate the Sun and Moon by making eclipse art and writing a Moon poem. Get hands on with Morehead’s meteorite collection and touch a rock from outer space!

The Statewide Star Party is produced by Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2024.

Sun, Earth & Moon Craft
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Get ready for the 2024 solar eclipse by making a model of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon. Learn why the positions of these objects make the Earth so special, and its residents able to see a spectacular show!

Telescopes on Display
Raleigh Astronomy Club
Come look at photographic views of the Moon and planets through member-owned telescopes.  Accept the “challenge at the eyepiece” to locate specific features on the Moon.  See different types of telescopes at work.

UNC Society of Physics
UNC Physics and Astronomy
Participate in the wonders of physics through fun, hands-on demonstrations and activities!

Women and Astronomy
Girl Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines
The scouts will be showing pictures and providing information about famous astronauts who were Girl Scouts. They will also have a phases-of-the-moon activity!