Explore the universe during Starry Night Nov. 3 at the Florida Museum

October 24th, 2011

Editor’s note: A complete list of activities follows this release

Photos Available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Join the Florida Museum of Natural History and area astronomy experts for an evening of celestial exploration and cosmic adventure during the fifth annual Starry Night event, from 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 3 at the museum.

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

Outside, visitors may gaze at the stars and learn about the night sky through engaging discussion with members of the Alachua Astronomy Club and UF astronomy department employees and students.

“The fall is a really fun time to look at the stars,” said UF associate professor of astronomy Vicki Sarajedini. “Familiar constellations such as Andromeda, Perseus, and Pegasus are visible in the sky along with some viewable planets from our own solar system.”

The evening will also feature a presentation by renowned physicist Michael Mumma, director of the Goddard Center for Astrobiology at NASA, titled “The Search for Life on Mars.”

“He gave a wonderful talk about the transport of water into the inner solar system,” said UF astronomy professor Charles Telesco. “More recently he was part of a team that discovered methane on Mars.”

James Albury, director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium and co-host of the weekly PBS TV show “Star Gazer,” will show clips from the show and lead discussions about the universe and other topics.

Each visitor will also receive a “Passport to the Universe” to document activity participation. The first 50 visitors to fill their passports will receive free tickets to the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium and everyone who fills their passports will be eligible to receive a prize.

Starry Night is sponsored in part by NASA and the National Science Foundation. For more information visit www.flmnh.ufl.edu/education/starrynight.htm or call 352-273-2062.

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Writer: Logan Gerber
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054, pramey@flmnh.ufl.edu

Starry Night
6-10 p.m. Nov. 3
Activities List

7 p.m. Exploring Other Worlds: The Search for Life on Mars
Join Michael Mumma, director of the NASA Goddard Center for Astrobiology, as he guides you through the search for life on Mars.

The following demonstrations and activities are ongoing from 6-10 p.m.

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

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

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

Black Hole Hunters
Discover the mysteries of black holes.

Dawning of an Era of Personalized Spacecraft
Draw or create ideas for new spacecraft material and designs alongside UF engineers, who are designing and building modular and interchangeable miniature technologies for space missions.

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 CANARIAS
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.”

Pico Satellites
Explore the development of small satellites using K’NEX models, and learn about the activities of UF’s Small Satellite Design Club, such as its atmospheric balloon and microgravity experiments and nanosatellite design.

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

Portable Planetarium Show (presentations every 30 minutes starting at 6:30 p.m.)
Enjoy the wonders of the constellations and the solar system with this fun and exciting show!

Space Rocks
Meet the Santa Fe College Astronomy Department 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!

Stargazing
View celestial bodies through professional quality telescopes with the help of professional and hobbyist astronomers.

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.

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