Have a ‘Starry Night’ at Florida Museum


Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.

Forget the spaceship.

Facts

STARRY NIGHT

* What: The 7th annual Starry Night, with stargazing, planetarium shows and speakers.

* When: 6-10 p.m. Nov. 15.

* Where: Florida Museum of Natural History, SW 34th Street and Hull Road.

* Information: Call 352-273-2062.

You can tour the universe with astronomy experts at the 7th annual Starry Night, an evening of stargazing, planetarium shows, speakers and prizes.

Starry Night will be held from 6-10 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Florida Museum of Natural History at SW 34th Street and Hull Road. The event is free and open to the community and food will be sold.

Laura Caicedo, marketing and public relations assistant at the museum, said visitors will have an opportunity to enjoy space-themed activities that will include a portable planetarium show, the opportunity to view the universe in 3D, as well as rocks from space, such as a 70-pound meteorite. Those attending also will get the opportunity to gaze at the moon, planets and stars through powerful telescopes.

"The telescopes are facing in different directions and the astronomers explain what you're seeing and give you background information," said Caicedo.

Starry Night is produced by the Florida Museum, University of Florida astronomy department, Santa Fe College Natural Sciences Department Astronomy Program, Kika Silva Pla Planetarium at SF College and the Alachua Astronomy Club Inc.

Caicedo said participants will have an opportunity to pick up a "Passport to the Universe" at the museum's entrance to get it stamped at each of the various activities, including the portable planetarium show, universe in 3-D, and interactive astro games and stargazing.

The first 25 participants to completely fill out the "passport" will receive free tickets to the 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 show on PBS, will show the latest clips from the show and discuss the universe every hour on the half hour from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

UF professor Rafael Guzman will discuss the Gran Telescopio de Canarias at 7 p.m. in one of the museum classrooms. The Gran Telescopio de Canarias is the last and largest of the new generation of giant ground-based observatories.

Caicedo said children of all ages will enjoy a gyro-chair at the Small Satellite Design Club area, which will be located at the front entrance. "It spins at different speeds and it's really fun and different," Caicedo said. "Children will really enjoy it."

Demonstrations and activities offered will include a 3-D AstroWall presentation with 3-D glasses, interactive games and activities, the mystery of Black Holes, radio waves emitted by the Milky Way, the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium, hardware that has flown in space, space-inspired art by area artist Tim Malles, tools astronomers use, and other activities.

"Visitors will experience space in new and exciting ways, from a planetarium show to looking through a professional telescope to seeing how scientists work in space," said museum educator Amanda Harvey in a press release. "I love this event because space is amazing. The partners are brilliant and always looking for new and exciting ways to engage the public with the topic of astronomy."

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