Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Celebrate Astronomy Day at Multiple Venues

03/26/2013

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The Kalamazoo Astronomical Society (KAS), along with the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and the Kalamazoo Nature Center, will hold its annual award-winning Astronomy Day on April 20, 2013. This day-long celebration features educational displays, hands-on activities, and special presentations to bring science alive for the entire community. Daytime activities begin at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and end with evening programming at Kalamazoo Nature Center. This free event, aimed at the general public, especially families with school age children, is intended to widen knowledge and appreciation of science, particularly the field of astronomy.

This year’s theme is "Mars: Past, Present, and Future." No other planet in the solar system has fired the imagination like Mars.  For most of human history, the Red Planet was nothing more than a tantalizing point of light on a starry back drop. Today we have a small fleet of spacecraft surveying the Red Planet from orbit and two rovers currently exploring its surface.

Daytime activities will be held at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum starting at 9:00 a.m. These include safe observations of the Sun, a full-scale inflatable model of the Curiosity Mars rover, hands-on activities for children, celestial portraits with a choice of astronomical backdrops ($5.00 fee requested), free stargazing shows in the planetarium from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and special presentations on Mars in the museum’s Stryker Theater.

Bill McElhone, Kalamazoo Valley Museum director says, “The event celebrates the science that is all around us. You just have to look up to appreciate it.”

Richard Bell, KAS’ President & Astronomy Day Coordinator, said, “Astronomy Day's purpose is to bring astronomy to the people.” See KAS’ website for more information at http://astroday.kasonline.org/

Astronomy Day caps off under nature's grandest spectacle - the universe itself! Telescopes of all shapes and sizes will be available for use at Owl Observatory, located on the grounds of the Kalamazoo Nature Center. The observatory, featuring the KAS 12" Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope, will also be open to the public. Highlights of the nighttime sky include sightings of the Moon, Jupiter, and constellations. Gates open at 8:00 p.m.

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and is governed by its Board of Trustees. For more information go to www.kalamazoomuseum.org.