Museum celebrates Astronomy Day on May 7


Astronomy Day will be celebrated 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on May 7 at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Morrill Hall. Prizes and a variety of hands-on activities about space, science and astronomy will be featured. This event is part of a year-long celebration of the museum's 140th anniversary. Regular museum admission will be charged.

Activities and demonstrations will be on planets, space travel, physics, telescopes, meteorites, optics, the moon and more. Other attractions include the fulldome show “Touching the Universe.” It will be presented at 11 a.m., noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Running time is 30 minutes.

Presenting organizations on 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 Microgravity University team from the Department of Engineering, 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 $70 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 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 Celestron 6-inch NexStar 6SE telescope (valued at $799) to 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.

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. Of all the locations, the 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.

For more information on Astronomy Day, contact Jack Dunn at or visit the Astronomy Day webpage at

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