Starry Night
More than 1000 visitors attended the Museum’s Starry Night event in 2011.

Editors: A complete list of activities follows this release

Nov. 13, 2012


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Observe the night sky and explore the universe with the Florida Museum of Natural History and astronomy experts during the sixth annual Starry Night event, from 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 30 at the museum.

Activities include a portable planetarium show and the universe in 3-D. Outside, visitors may gaze at the moon, planets and stars and learn about the night sky through engaging discussions with members of the Alachua Astronomy Club and UF astronomy department.

“Starry Night is a great opportunity for the community to learn more about space and meet with local researchers,” said Amanda Harvey, museum education assistant. “Visitors of all ages can engage with astronomy through the event’s interactive activities.”

The first 25 attendees to complete the “Passport to the Universe” tracking their activity participation will receive tickets to the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium. Other prizes will be awarded to all participants who complete a “Passport.”

The evening also features a presentation by Greg Laughlin of the University of California Santa Cruz, a leader in the field of extrasolar planetary detection and co-author of “The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity.”

During his presentation, titled “The Fate of the Earth, the Solar System and the Universe,” Laughlin said he will share his predictions about the universe in the far future, including explaining which predictions are easy or more difficult to make.

“It won’t be a boring science lecture,” Laughlin said. “I want to make it fascinating and cool. Everybody shares the same sky, so to talk about something like this is unifying in a way.”

Starry Night is produced by the Florida Museum, University of Florida department of astronomy, Santa Fe College natural sciences department astronomy program, Kika Silva Pla Planetarium and the Alachua Astronomy Club.

For more information call 352-273-2062.

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Source: Amanda Harvey, 352-273-2062
Writer: Kate Schofield,
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054,

Starry Night
6-10 p.m. Nov. 30

Activities list

The Fate of the Earth, the Solar System and the Universe, 7 p.m.
Join Greg Laughlin, a leader in the field of extrasolar planet detection from the University of California Santa Cruz, in a discussion about the far future of the universe.

3-D AstroWall (presentations occur on the hour starting at 6 p.m.)
Experience the universe in 3-D! Glasses are provided.

Astro Activities
Learn about space with fun activities and interactive games!

Black Hole Hunters
Discover the mysteries of black holes.

Dinner Vendors
Enjoy tasty treats, roasted chestnuts and dinner under the stars from High Springs Orchard and Bakery.

Discover the Invisible Universe
Listen to radio waves emitted by the Milky Way using the Radio JOVE low frequency radio telescope. Learn how you can use this equipment to listen to radio waves from Jupiter and the Sun.

Gran Telescopio Canaria
Investigate the science and technology used to create the world’s largest telescope, the Gran Telescopio Canarias.

Kika Silva Pla Planetarium
Visit with the staff of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium and discover how their team is “bringing the universe to our community.”

PBS’s “Star Gazer” with James Albury (presentations at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.)
Watch the latest episodes of “Star Gazer” and meet its host James Albury!

Portable Planetarium Show (presentations at 6:15, 6:45, 7:15, 8:15, 8:45, 9:15 and 9:45 p.m.)
Enjoy the wonders of the constellations and the solar system with this fun and exciting show!

Prizes and Giveaways
Bring back your completed “Passport to the Universe” to receive a prize. A pair of free tickets to the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium will be given for the first 25 completed Passports!

UF Small Satellite Design Club
Do you have a curiosity for space? Want to learn more? Visit with members of the UF Small Satellite Design Club to learn about space systems and satellite design. Also, be sure to take a spin on the gyro-chair to get a hands-on learning experience on the principle of conversation of angular momentum!

Space Rocks and Space Shuttle Tile
Meet staff from the Santa Fe College astronomy program and see the Campo del Cielo, a 70-pound meteorite,as well as a space shuttle tile. Discover the oddities of rocks from space and find out how they differ from Earth rocks!

View celestial bodies through professional quality telescopes with the help of professional and hobbyist astronomers from the University of Florida and the Alachua Astronomy Club.

Tim Malles Space Art
See an exhibition of space-inspired art by area artist Tim Malles, who contributed brass plaques to the Gainesville Solar Walk project on Northwest Eighth Avenue

Tools We Use
Learn about the fascinating and unusual tools astronomers use to study the universe.