State Museum celebrates space and science on Astronomy Day April 24

Released on 04/06/2010, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Saturday, Apr. 24, 2010

WHERE: University of Nebraska State Museum (Morrill Hall), south of 14th and Vine streets [map]

Lincoln, Neb., April 6th, 2010 —
Astronomy Day logo
Astronomy Day logo

Astronomy Day will be celebrated 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 24 at the University of Nebraska State Museum. Prizes and a variety of hands-on activities about space, science and astronomy will be featured at this fun-filled event for all ages.

Activities and demonstrations will be on robotics, rocketry, planets, space travel, microgravity, physics, telescopes, meteorites, optics, the Moon and more. Other attractions include launching of rockets and presentations of the fulldome show "Earth, Moon and Sun." Outdoor activities will be conducted, weather permitting.

Presenting organizations at Astronomy Day include Mueller Planetarium, Prairie Astronomy Club, Hyde Memorial Observatory, Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience, the UNL Department of Physics and Astronomy, the UNL Chapter of the Society of Women in Engineering, the UNL Microgravity University team from the UNL College of Engineering, the UNL Chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Air Force Association and others.

All those who visit the event will have a chance to win a Celestron 50th-anniversary FirstScope valued at $50 and a 6-inch Dobsonian reflector telescope from the Prairie Astronomy Club valued at $250. 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 winners 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 Celestron 6-inch NexStar 6SE telescope (valued at $799) that will be given away nationally by Astronomy magazine in the weeks following Astronomy Day.

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.

The "Earth, Moon and Sun" fulldome show in the museum's Mueller Planetarium explores lunar phases, eclipses and other puzzles in space. Kids ages 5-11 and their families will enjoy this fun and fast-paced show featuring a witty coyote. It will be presented at 11 a.m., noon, and 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Running time is 26 minutes.

Founded in 1973, Astronomy Day is a national celebration started by the Astronomical League to promote awareness of amateur and professional astronomy. Astronomy Day events will take place at hundreds of locations across the globe on this day. The NU State Museum and Mueller Planetarium are among a select group of more than 30 planetariums, museums and observatories across the United States to be sponsored by Astronomy magazine and Celestron International as outstanding examples of the spirit of amateur astronomy. The State Museum is the only site endorsed by these organizations in Nebraska.

The NU State Museum is south of 14th and Vine streets on the UNL City Campus [map]. Museum admission is $5 for adults (19 and older), $3 for children (5-18 years), and $10 for families (up to two adults and children). Children under 4 years and UNL faculty, staff and students are admitted free with valid NU ID. Planetarium show tickets will be sold in the Planetarium lobby, $3 for adults and $2.50 for children, $3 for UNL students, faculty and staff. Parking will be free in front of the museum. 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

WRITER: Dana Ludvik, Public Relations Coordinator, NU State Museum, (402) 472-3779

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