Editors note: A complete list of activities follows this release

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History invites visitors to dive into the cosmos and spend a night viewing the moon and stars with astronomy experts Oct. 27 from 6 to 10 p.m. during the museum’s annual free “Starry Night” event.

Starry Night
Nearly 3,000 visitors attended the museum’s 2016 Starry Night event.

This year’s guest speaker is Amy Mainzer, NASA astrophysicist and cosmos expert for the PBS show “Ready Jet Go!” She will present two talks: “Our Home in the Solar System,” geared toward children, at 6:30 p.m., and “Getting to Know Earth’s Neighbors: Asteroids and Comets,” at 8:30 p.m. Mainzer will answer audience questions following each presentation.

The event also features James Albury, co-host of the PBS show “Star Gazers.” Albury will speak on what it’s like to work on the show, play some episode segments and host a meet-and-greet.

“I truly enjoy being able to share my love of the night sky with others,” Albury said. “The more we know about other planets, the better we can appreciate the planet upon which we live, and hopefully be better stewards over its resources.”

Visitors can also view the moon and stars through high-performance telescopes and speak with other area astronomers.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for visitors to learn about space looking through telescopes that they normally wouldn’t have access to,” said Florida Museum educator Chelsea Collison. “It’s an experience that would inspire awe in anyone.”

Other activities include two portable planetariums, an amateur telescope clinic, cosmic time tunnel, and exploration of astronomy. Guests can earn prizes by keeping track of completed activities with a “passport to the universe.”

“Starry Night” is made possible by the Florida Museum, University of Florida department of astronomy, Santa Fe College astronomy program, Kika Silva Pla Planetarium, WUFT and Alachua Astronomy Club.

The program will be held regardless of weather conditions. For more information, visit www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/event/starry-night/ or call 352-846-2000.


Writer: Claudia Perez Brito, 352-273-2032, printern@flmnh.ufl.edu
Source: Chelsea Collison, 352-273-2062, ccollison@flmnh.ufl.edu
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054, pramey@flmnh.ufl.edu

Starry Night Activities List
6-10 p.m.
Oct. 27, 2017
Florida Museum of Natural History
3215 Hull Road, Powell Hall on the UF campus

6:30 p.m. “Our Home in the Solar System” (Classrooms)
A special child-friendly presentation by Dr. Amy Mainzer, NASA astrophysicist and cosmos expert from PBS’ “Ready Jet Go!” on solar system science.

7:30 p.m. PBS’ “Star Gazers” with James Albury (Classrooms)
Watch the latest episodes of “Star Gazers” and meet one of its hosts, James Albury!

8:30 p.m. “Getting to Know Earth’s Neighbors: Asteroids and Comets” (Classrooms)
Enjoy a presentation by Dr. Amy Mainzer, NASA astrophysicist and cosmos expert from the PBS show “Ready Jet Go!”

The following demonstrations and activities are ongoing from 6 to 10 p.m. unless noted:

Ask an Astronomer (Denny Gallery)
Want to know more about stars and the universe?
Ask a professional astronomer!

Astro Activities (Discovery Zone)
Learn about space with fun activities and interactive games!

Craters! (Patio Area)
Create craters and learn how material from space affects the moon.

Cosmic Time Tunnel (Galleria)
Experience a journey through cosmic time and space as you travel from Earth to the outer parts of the universe.

Dinner Vendor (Front Patio)
Enjoy tasty treats and dinner under the stars from High Springs Orchard and Bakery.

Discover the Invisible Universe (Back Lawn)
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 CANARIAS (Denny Gallery)
Investigate the science and technology used to create the world’s largest telescope, the Gran Telescopio Canarias.

Kika Silva Pla Planetarium (Denny Gallery)
Visit with staff of the Santa Fe College Kika Silva Pla Planetarium, and discover how the team is “bringing the universe to our community.”

Portable Planetarium Show (presentations every 30 minutes starting at 6 p.m.)
Enjoy the wonders of the constellations and the solar system with this fun and exciting show! Make sure to get your ticket early!

Prizes and Giveaways (Outside. Front Entrance)
Return your completed “Passport to the Universe” to receive a prize.

Space Systems Design Club (Outside, Front Entrance)
Adults and children alike can sit in the UF Small Satellite Design Club’s “Gyro-chair” to experience the conservation of angular-momentum. Learn how satellites orient themselves in space!

Santa Fe College Astronomy Program (Denny Gallery)
Discover the Santa Fe College Astronomy Program and see objects like a portion of the Campo del Cielo, a 70-pound meteorite, as well as space shuttle tiles. Discover the oddities of rocks from space and find out how they differ from ones on Earth!

Stargazing (Outside, Back Lawn)
View celestial bodies through professional-quality telescopes with the help of astronomers from the Alachua Astronomy Club.

Students for Exploration and Development of Space Comets! (Outside)
Learn about comets and see what they are made of!

Telescope Clinic (Outside)
Join the Alachua Astronomy club for demonstrations of reflector and refractor telescopes. Gaze through both and see the difference!

Tim Malles Space Art (Front Entrance)
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 (Denny Gallery)
Learn about the fascinating and unusual tools astronomers use to study the universe.