At the end of May, The Science Centre and Planetarium held its Astronomy Discovery night. On the discovery nights, we open up outside of normal opening hours and run planetarium shows and live astronomy presentations, have telescopes set up, and our interns perform science busking (which on the night was making paper rockets)
On the night we were supported by the Illawarra Astronomical Society who set up in our garden looking at the moon and Jupiter. The telescopes are always popular with our visitors, with both children and adults always wanting to have a look. We were fortunate this year to have beautiful clear skies as every Astronomy Discovery Night for the past few years has either been rained out or has had lots of cloud cover.
Here is Wally who is a member of the Astronomical Society and also a Member here at the Wollongong Science Centre and Planetarium. He is setting up this telescope to focus on the moon.
For the evening we also offered a free planetarium show. We debuted the Michigan Science Centre’s ‘Sunstruck’. On the night we ran the show twice and both times they sold out. This show was very popular with everyone who watched it, and we received fantastic feedback about it.
One of our interns also developed a show to run on the night titled “The History of Space Exploration”. This show covered the history of space flight and looked at life on space stations.
Here you can see a view of the table we set up where children could design and make their own rocket using materials you can find around the house. They then had the opportunity to test out their creation in our wind tunnel exhibit.
This latest Astronomy Discovery Night received a large attendance, with 230+ people. These nights are always valuable to the Science Centre and Planetarium as they offer different activities to what people normally expect from an average day. Many people have since revisited to check out our different planetarium shows that we offer as they enjoyed the presentation on the night. Overall our first Astronomy Discovery Night in over a year was a huge success!
– Amanda – Supervisor, Science Centre and Planetarium Wollongong