Astronomy Programs for the Entire Family
All programs use digital projection of a Microsoft PowerPoint slide presentation onto a screen, exciting video footage, and hands-on activities when appropriate. Customized programs for any audience are available as well. Following each presentation, a powerful telescope will be set up outdoors for viewing the craters on the Moon, the rings of Saturn and other beautiful objects in the night sky, weather permitting.
Astronomy for Everyone: Size & Scale of the Universe
Astrophysicist Kevin Manning, a former consultant with NASA, has always been passionate about astronomy, and wants to share the excitement with you! Over the next 1 ½ hours, you’ll learn about the size and scale of the universe, the stars, and other celestial wonders using hands-on activities and assorted visuals.
Curiosity: Mission to Mars and the Deep-Space Search for Another Earth
On August 5, 2012 we watched as the space rover Curiosity landed on Mars. Its mission: to explore Martian soil for evidence of water and microbial life. Dr. Manning will fill us in on what scientists have learned from the probe so far; you won’t want to miss the many astounding images and incredible video footage of Mars and space. Then, we will look at the progress of an investigation to search for extrasolar planets among distant stars using detectors such as Kepler and others. Following the presentation, weather permitting, a powerful telescope will be set up outdoors to view celestial objects in the night sky, such as craters on the Moon and the rings of Saturn.
The Great 2012 Scare: the Aftermath
After all the hype and a number of books published since the mid 70's making doomsday predictions about December 21, 2012, here we are on the other side, doing okay. The calendar that the ancient Maya of Mexico and Guatemala kept did not roll up the red carpet of time. The $200-million disaster movie 2012, designed to break all records for disaster spectacles — with cracking continents, plunging asteroids, burning cities, and a tsunami throwing an aircraft carrier through the White House, used the ominous slogan: “Find out the truth.” What happened? Have doomsday predictions like this been made before, and will ore be made in the future? Let Astrophysicist Kevin Manning reveal the fiction and the truth about these kinds of events with you.
The Night Sky: A Cultural Perspective & Beyond
A program giving an historical account of how the settlers and Native Americans viewed the constellations and their significance to these and other cultures. Also gives an astronomical perspective on the stars making up these constellations.
Roadmap to the Stars: the Night Sky Explained
When you wish upon a star, wouldn't it be good to know which star it is and what constellation it lies in? Objects in the night sky can be pinpointed with a little understanding of the celestial sphere and its coordinates. Hands-on activities using star charts will serve to bring the point home.
Gazing Upon a Cosmic Ocean
Let an astrophysicist and former consultant with NASA take you on a virtual tour of the solar system and beyond. Are there parallels between the oceans of the world and space with the myriads of objects throughout the universe? From shallow to deep, let’s explore the untold regions throughout the cosmos.
The Universe in X-rays: Findings of the Chandra X-ray Observatory
NASA's flagship X-ray telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, is part of NASA's fleet of "Great Observatories," and is specially designed to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the universe. How has Chandra helped us understand the structure and evolution of the universe, from planets and black holes to dark energy, and the distribution of matter since the Big Bang? What makes Chandra such a powerful tool to help unveil such mysteries? Come explore the universe with astrophysicist Kevin Manning for an overview of the tool and discoveries made by it during the past dozen years.
How to Build Your Own Incredible Telescope
An introduction of telescope types, function, performance, and accessories will help participants choose a telescope wisely. Then, a detailed description of steps in constructing your own powerful telescope will be enhanced with clear illustrations and numerous photographs taken throughout the entire process A-Z. It's so easy a 3rd grader can do this! Following the presentation, a model telescope just like the one you can build will be set up outdoors for viewing the Moon, the rings of Saturn and other beautiful objects in the night sky, weather permitting.
When Celestial Bodies Collide: Eclipses & Other Phenomena
What causes a solar or lunar eclipse? Astrophysicist Kevin Manning will explore the natural causes of these and other celestial events. Many fascinating photos will serve to illustrate these occurrences.
Movers in the Sky: Comets, Meteors & Asteroids
What differentiates these "small bodies" as remnants of the solar system's formation? Comets as omens of disaster and other superstitions are debunked. Ever seen a meteor streak across the sky, or better yet a meteor shower? What about the impending danger of asteroids or comets colliding with the earth? Several interesting pictures and illustrations serve to uncover these mysteries.
What’s Happening In the Universe Today?
Astrophysicist Kevin Manning, a former consultant with NASA, looks into a modern understanding of matter and energy and how it is distributed throughout the cosmos. Should we be concerned about December 21, 2012? What are the kinds of extraordinary events that occur in the universe and how can they affect us? Answers to these and other questions regarding dark matter and dark energy shall be explored using outstanding photos and video segments.
Capture the Colorful Cosmos with NASA’s MicroObservatory
Participants will learn how to access robotic telescopes, take photographs of planets, galaxies, and nebulae and use image processing tools to bring out detail in these photos the same way that professional astronomers do. Inspire your students to take and manipulate their own astronomical photographs and create original displays and exhibits. The MicroObservatory Online Telescope Network is operated by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, with funding from the NSF and NASA.
Telescopes: Eyes on the Universe
A look into the history and development of telescopes, current technological advances allowing us to gather broad information from all ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum, and what the future holds for space telescopes. Basic details of telescope types, function and performance along with a description of accessories will help participants choose a telescope wisely.
Solar Activity and Other Stellar Phenomena
Even though the Sun is 93 million miles from earth, it provides enough heat and light to sustain life as we know it. Let's explore our nearest star and its hidden intricacies in this exciting and informative program. The sun is our neighbor model of a star, and studying it closely has given us great insight into how a star forms, behaves, and its ultimate fate as stellar life cycles go. Death stars are those that don't go out quietly. Since we depend on the sun for its heat and light, it would behoove us to consider not only how it works, but when it will come to an end.
Astronomy: an Historical Perspective on its Myths & Legends
Famous contributors to the body of knowledge of the inner workings of the universe, along with the obstacles to the paradigm shift required in accepting them, are examined in light of the progress made in our current models of the cosmos.
The Star of Bethlehem
Was it a comet? A supernova? Science suggests something else. The Star of Bethlehem has left its mark on the gospels as well as a constellation of holiday songs. Was it purely a divine sign, created miraculously to mark Jesus’ birth? Or was it an astronomical event in its own right? There may be several scientific scenarios for the “Star of Wonder.”