In an event usually reserved for 24 hours, the Orlando Science Center is taking Astronomy Day and stretching it into a month-long celebration! On select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from May 5 – June 3, satisfy your cosmic curiosity by exploring the depths of the universe through hands-on activities, solar viewings, speaker presentations and more!
Throughout the building, demonstrations that examine gravity, what comets are made of and how space suits work will be taking place. And our space-devoted exhibit gallery, Our Planet, Our Universe, will play host to many of the activities, including Dr. Dare’s Lab being open for astronomy and light-themed experiments.
It’s here you’ll also find the Science On A Sphere exhibit, which connects guests of all ages to earth and space science through a dramatic visual presentation. Using a six-foot suspended sphere and state-of-the-art projection technology, explore our planet’s dynamic landscape and weather, tour the solar system and understand the complex relationship between our planet and its sister worlds. And be among the first to experience its newest program, Kinesthetic Astronomy, to learn about the four seasons and the rotation of the earth.
The aluminum-domed Crosby Observatory atop the Orlando Science Center will be open for SunWatch events during these select weekends. Peer through the powerful, 10-inch lens of one of the largest publicly-accessible refractor telescopes in Florida and safely gaze upon the closest star to our home planet. Explore the secrets behind the glare and get a glimpse at the sun’s surface including sunspots and solar flares. And on Saturday, May 12 the Science Center will open for the Crosby Observatory for night viewing from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (please note, only the observatory and planetarium will be accessible after 5 p.m. The rest of the exhibits will be closed to the public). View moons, planets and deep sky objects such as galaxies, nebulas and more. Astronomy experts and volunteers will be on hand to make sure you get the best view possible.
In addition, experience a live planetarium show in the Dr. Phillips CineDome. We call it Orlando By Night and features our astronomy presenters identifying the constellation groupings hovering over The City Beautiful. Discover the legends behind them including Hercules and Cygnus the Swan. Learn how to read the night sky and let the stars be your guide. Orlando By Night will be presented at select times on Fridays through Sundays.
And join us as we welcome speakers from NASA as they present their findings and experiences investigating the cosmos. Jean Hill is a safety and reliability engineer at Kennedy Space Center and she’ll be sharing NASA’s various space observations on May 5; Caley Burke is an aerospace engineer in the Flight Services Program and she’ll discuss the launch of NASA unmanned spacecraft on May 12; Aaron Sherman is an instrumentation engineer and he’ll explain launch systems on May 26; and Richard Johanboeke is a contracting officer and he’ll talk about the Mars Science Laboratory that will be landing on Mars this summer on June 2.
All of these events offer a stellar experience for amateur astronomers of all ages. Enjoy this star-studded month for $17 for adults and $12 for kids (ages 3-11). General admission provides access to all Science Center exhibits, live science demonstrations and giant screen films like Tornado Alley and Animalopolis. There will be a discounted admission rate available after 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 for guests coming only to the Crosby Observatory that evening.
For more information, including a detailed schedule of events, please visit the Astronomy month page on osc.org. Check out the link from the front page of www.osc.org or click on the “exhibits” tab under the “Crosby Observatory” heading. You can also get more information by calling 407.514.2000.