April 30, 2010 @ 12:00 am - May 2, 2010 @ 12:00 am EDT
The New Hampshire Astronomical Society invites the general public to AstroFest 2010, part of the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center’s Aerospace Festival 2010. The program will feature a full weekend of entertainment and learning for the entire family including special MSDC activities, displays and astronomy related displays and observing opportunities. NHAS activities will kick off the AstroFest segment of the event with a special Skywatch from 7 to 10 p.m., Friday April 30, and continue Saturday and Sunday, May 1 and 2, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. The Skywatch “rain date” is 7 p.m., Saturday, May 1. The MSDC is located at 2 Institute Dr. in Concord, N.H.
The society will have displays both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting) where visitors will get a chance to see a different side of our nearest star—the sun—including sunspots, solar prominences, and the sun's granular surface. There will also be daytime viewing of Venus, magnification displays, and telescope demonstrations. The indoor display will include telescope and astrophotography displays, slideshows, a raffle to help support the educational programs of the NHAS, and more. Society members will also be on hand both indoors and outdoors to answer questions about astronomy equipment and provide assistance to visitors who need help setting up their own telescopes. The NHAS outdoor exhibits and activities are FREE and open to the public.
As part of the Friday night kickoff activities, NHAS members will host a public skywatch at sunset to show off the wonders of the night sky. The planet Saturn and its rings will be the “star” of the show, but many other celestial objects will be visible in the telescopes which club members will set up outside the MSDC’s main entrance. In case of cloudy weather, the skywatch will be postponed until Saturday night.
The Discovery Center's indoor activities will feature planetarium shows in the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, a wide variety of interactive exhibits, spacecraft displays, observatory tours and a full-sized replica of the Mercury space capsule which carried Alan Shepard on America’s first sub-orbital launch. McAuliffe, the Concord, New Hampshire teacher selected from more than 11,000 applicants to be the first NASA Teacher In Space, was killed in the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. Shepard, a New Hampshire native, was the first American in space as well as the fifth person to set foot on the moon. A full-sized replica of the Redstone rocket which launched his Mercury capsule stands in front of the main entrance to the center.
NHAS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization dedicated to furthering public awareness of astronomy. For more information regarding the NHAS, visit www.nhastro.org. For more information regarding the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center and activities surrounding the Aerospace Festival, go to www.starhop.com.