Have a ‘Starry Night’ at Florida Museum


Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 1:04 p.m.

You can explore the universe minus a spaceship at Starry Night, an evening of star gazing, planetarium shows, speakers, prizes, giveaways and food for sale.

Facts

STARRY NIGHT

What: The 6th annual Starry Night, with star gazing, planetarium shows and speakers.
When: 6-10 p.m. Nov. 30.
Where: Florida Museum of Natural History, SW 34th Street and Hull Road.
Cost: Free.
Information: Call 352-273-2062.

Now in its sixth year, Starry Night will take place from 6-10 p.m. Nov. 30 at Florida Museum of Natural History at SW 34th Street and Hull Road.

The annual event is being produced by the Florida Museum, the Alachua Astronomy Club Inc., the Santa Fe College Kika Silva Pla Planetarium, and the University of Florida Department of Astronomy.

"Our goal is to make learning fun," said Paul Ramey, assistant director of marketing and public relations at the museum. He said more than 1,000 people attended last year's program.

Ramey said participants will receive a "Passport to the Universe" to take part in various activities, such as a portable planetarium show and the universe in 3-D, interactive astro games and stargazing.

The first 25 participants to completely fill out the "passport" will receive free tickets to Kika Silva planetarium. Prizes also will be awarded to everyone who completes a "passport."

James Albury, director of Kika Silva and co-host of "Star Gazer," a weekly internationally syndicated PBS show, will show the latest clips from the show and discuss the universe at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. that evening.

Ramey said visitors will have an opportunity to watch a portable planetarium show about the wonders of the constellations and the solar system every half-hour, starting at 6:15 p.m. and tour the universe at a 3-D AstroWall with 3-D glasses provided starting at 6 p.m. and on the hour thereafter.

"Starry Night is a great opportunity for the community to learn more about space and meet with local researches," said Amanda Harvey, museum education assistant in a press release. "Visitors of all ages can engage with astronomy through the event's interactive activities."

In addition, visitors will be able to explore the mysteries of Black holes, satellite design and the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, which is the world's largest telescope.

Visitors also will have an opportunity to view Gainesville artist Tim Malles' space-inspired exhibit, check out a 70-pound meteorite and learn about the tools used by astronomers.

Physicist and author Greg Laughlin, a professor at the University of California Santa Cruz, will share his predictions about the universe and present a program at 7 p.m. titled "The Fate of the Earth, the Solar System and the Universe." Laughlin is a leader in the field of extrasolar planetary detection and co-author of "The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity."

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

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