NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Astronomy Days, in person and out of this world, January 28–29

For immediate release ‐ January 10, 2023

Contact: Jon Pishney, 919.707.8083. Images available upon request

Astronomy Days 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. — This year, learn all about “Humans in Space: Past, Present and Future,” as the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences hosts Astronomy Days, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28–29. Speaking of humans in space, NASA astronaut and North Carolina native Christina Koch is this year’s featured presenter. Koch made the most of her first trip to the International Space Station by breaking the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman (328 days from March 2019 – Feb. 2020) and conducting the first all-female spacewalk with fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir. Astronomy Days is free, fun for all ages, and in-person for the first time since 2020.

Presentation highlights this year include:

NASA Astronaut Christina Koch

Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

“A Space Journey” — If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to be an astronaut who is part of a long duration mission on the International Space Station, this presentation of photos and videos will tell the story firsthand. From training to launching, spacewalking, working, landing and returning home, you will hear about the story of a journey to space and the people who make it possible. Christina will even show some photos she took of our (and her) home state of North Carolina.

Klaus Pontoppidan, Space Telescope Science Institute

Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

“Setting Sail on the Cosmic Ocean” — Join us for a photographic journey through the science of the new James Webb Space Telescope, and a view behind the scenes of the creation of the famous first images.

Pierre Haenecour, University of Arizona

Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

“Asteroid Forensics” — As remnants left over from the early solar system, laboratory analysis of samples from asteroids allows us to investigate the origin and evolution of our Solar System. Pierre will discuss how the analysis of samples from asteroid Bennu will help scientists unravel the origin of life.

Exhibits and activities include:

  • Museum astronomer Patrick Treuthardt will be hosting solar observing on the 4th floor terrace of the Nature Research Center on both days, from 1–2:30 p.m. (weather permitting).
  • Make your own rocket and send it sky high on the plaza in front of the Museum.
  • “Exploring the Universe: Imagining Life” is a hands-on activity in which visitors imagine and draw an extreme environment beyond Earth, then invent a living thing that could thrive in it.
  • From living water bears and vinegar eels to plants small enough to fasten onto necklaces, join members of the NC Academy of Science for a fun look at life in extreme environments.

Astronomy Days is presented in collaboration with the Raleigh Astronomy Club and NASA. The event is made possible with financial and promotional support from NC Space Grant and in-kind support from Pepsi Bottling Ventures. For more information about Astronomy Days, visit or contact Kari Wouk at or 919.707.9879.

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