Astronomy Day at NU State Museum May 2

Released on 04/16/2009, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Saturday, May. 2, 2009

WHERE: University of Nebraska State Museum (Morrill Hall), south of 14th and Vine Streets

Lincoln, Neb., April 16th, 2009 —

Astronomy Day 2009 will be celebrated 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 2 at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine streets on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus.

Prizes and a wide variety of hands-on science activities will be featured for a fun-filled day at the museum for the whole family. This event coincides with the 2009 International Year of Astronomy, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of the telescope.

Presenting organizations joining forces for the event include the museum's Mueller Planetarium, Astronomy Magazine, Celestron International, Prairie Astronomy Club, Hyde Observatory, Nebraska Air National Guard, the UNL Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Nebraska Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, the Air Force Association and others.

Activities and demonstrations will be on robotics, rocketry, space travel, physics, telescopes, meteorites, optics and much more. Other attractions include a rocket launch and presentation of the PBS documentary, "400 Years of the Telescope." Outdoor activities will be conducted, weather permitting. All those who visit the event will have a chance to win a Celestron computerized telescope valued at $215 and a Dobsonian telescope from the Prairie Astronomy Club valued at $350. Entry forms for this local giveaway will be available at the front desk of the museum. The drawing will take place at 4 p.m. and you need not be present to win. Visitors who do not win one of the two telescopes awarded locally will have the opportunity to register to win the grand prize, a Celestron 8-inch NexStar 8SE telescope (valued at $1,399) that will be given away nationally by Astronomy Magazine in the weeks following Astronomy Day.

The fulldome planetarium show, "Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope," highlighting the history of the telescope and its impact on the science of astronomy will be presented at 11 a.m., noon, and 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Running time is 25 minutes.

Astronomy Day will conclude in the evening with an open house "star party" during the regular open hours (8 to 11 p.m.) of Hyde Memorial Observatory, 3701 S. 70th St. in Holmes Park. There is no admission charge at Hyde Observatory.

Sponsored by Astronomy Magazine and Celestron International, more than 30 planetariums, museums and observatories across the country will promote amateur and professional astronomy on May 2.

Admission to the University of Nebraska State Museum is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Children under 4 years and UNL faculty, staff and students are admitted free with ID. Planetarium show tickets will be sold in the Planetarium lobby, $3 for adults and $2.50 for children and high school students, $3 for UNL students, faculty, and staff.

Parking will be free in the 14th and Avery Garage and 14th and Avery surface lot just west of the garage. Due to preparations for the Lincoln Marathon, parking will not be available in front of museum this day.

For more information, visit the Mueller Planetarium Web site,, or contact Jack Dunn, planetarium supervisor, at (402) 472-2641 or by e-mail. For more information on the museum, visit

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