On the evening of May 15th, most of North America will be privy to a total lunar eclipse, a celestial event which sees the moon covered in Earth's shadow. In order to bring this event to more people, our planetarium coordinator Johnathan will be setting up a telescope in order to better view the moon's surface during this event. The event will take place during the time when the moon is most bathed in Earth's darkest shadows, totality, and will allow guests to get a scientific look at the moon during this uncommon occurrence.
The event starts at 11:00pm and will go until 1:00am. There is no charge for attendance, and parking will be on site and free. This event is weather permitting, and if there is a cancellation for the event, it will be posted on Facebook by 5:00pm the day of at latest. Please visit Facebook.com/AlpenaPlanetarium for up to date information concerning this Lunar Eclipse event.
May 28th 2:00pm-4:00pm
May's Science Saturday theme is telescopic observation. Astronomy is an ancient science that dates back to before written history, but the field of study expanded significantly after the invention of the telescope, so to help educate our community we'll be celebrating this revolutionary invention with several activities and events.
For Science Saturday we will host several events simultaneously throughout the entirety of the event, as to give everyone time to experience everything that Science Saturday has to offer. The first activity will be solar observing with the Alpena Library. Librarian Christina Markowski will have solar safe telescopes outside the museum, allowing guests to observe the sun and see the sunspots that are currently active on its surface.
Inside the Museum we will have four ongoing activities setup in different galleries. In the Wilson Gallery we will have a moon phases observing activity, where attendees can use monoculars and a spotting scope to observe how light affects the phase s of the moon. In our Native American exhibit we will have a small craft and activity where attendees can fold up their own mini JWST (James Webb Space Telescope) into a "rocket tube" to simulate how the real JWST was launched into space. For our younger attendees, there will be a spot the moon activity, where kids can use children's binoculars to find "lost items" on the moon's surface, like an Astronaut's forgotten socks and space tools left behind. We will also have our coloring table setup in the adjacent Native American Exhibit, where kids can color and draw.
Lastly, inside the planetarium we will have four 30-minute showings of "Two Small Pieces of Glass", a short documentary about the history of telescope use in astronomy. Showings of this planetarium video will happen at 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm, & 3:30pm. Seating is limited to 52 person per show and tickets are first come first served. Food and drink is not allowed inside the planetarium, including gum and bottled drinks besides water.
Participation in Science Saturday comes at no extra cost to museum admission. Museum admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids, and free for all members. All children are to be accompanied by an adult for Science Saturday.
Telescope observing party. May 28th 10:00pm-12:00am
The Besser Museum and Huron Pines will co-host a public night sky viewing party at Rockport’s Dark Sky Park. The Besser Museum Planetarium will provide several telescopes and focus them on an assortment of beautiful night sky objects, giving attendees the opportunity to see the universe with their own eyes. Participants may also bring their own telescopes, binoculars, or spotting scopes to join us on this night sky adventure. The hosts of this party and observation guides will be John Winckowski of the Besser Museum Planetarium and Richard Henry, Huron Pines volunteer. Winckowski is the planetarium coordinator at the Besser Museum and has led numerous star parties at Rockport and throughout Alpena County. Richard Henry is a retired astronomy professor for the University of Oklahoma and has decades of experience with teaching and discussing astronomy. Together, these two professionals will help new and experienced star gazers view the night sky like astronomers.
Bring a chair and anything you’ll need to stay comfortable during this nighttime activity (bug spray, a water bottle etc. Parking for this event will be primarily setup in the large parking lot, as seen at the top of map, pictured below. Event staff and Individuals who are bringing telescopes will park in the smaller lot, next to where the telescopes will be setup. The path between the two areas is short, but they will be lit up for this event so people can safely walk from their cars to the observation area.