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Space Science Events

Starry Nights

2019 Dates and Times:

Dates Observing Event
January 3 12 - 3 p.m. New Horizons at Ultima Thule
January 4 6 - 8 p.m. First Friday - Lunar Eclipse Preview
January 20 8:30 - 11:30 p.m. Supermoon Total Eclipse
February 1 6 - 8 p.m. First Friday
March 1 7 - 9 p.m. First Friday
April 5 8 - 9 p.m. First Friday
April 10 8 - 9 p.m. Stargazing at Valle de Oro NWR
May 3 8:30 - 9 p.m. First Friday
June 7 8:30 - 9 p.m. First Friday
June 30 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Asteroid Day
July 5 8:30 - 9 p.m. First Friday
August 2 8:30 - 9 p.m. First Friday
September 4 8 - 9 p.m. Sandia Mountain Stargazing
September 6 8 - 9 p.m. First Friday
October 4 7 - 9 p.m. First Friday - Intl. Observe the Moon Night
November 1 7 - 9 p.m. First Friday
November 11 12 - 4 p.m. Transit of Mercury
December 6 6 - 8 p.m. Old Town Holiday Stroll

In 2019, we're offering monthly night-sky observing opportunities to coincide with museum, local, or international events.  More specific information about each activity will be updated below as the day draws closer.  These events are subject to change and may happen at locations other than the museum.
Members of local astronomy groups will help you study the moon and stars through a variety of telescopes. Each event will feature any visible planets and other interesting objects in the sky.
The observing part of any event may be canceled when the sky is cloudy.  If weather conditions are in question, check the museum's Facebook page for updates an hour before each event is scheduled to begin:

Upcoming Events

January 20, 2019 - 8:30pm

Photo taken in Albuquerque by Vance LeyAnother Supermoon Total Eclipse is coming to the skies over New Mexico Jan. 20, 2019. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science’s will open its doors from 8:30 – 11:30 p.m. for visitors to fully appreciate the astronomical coincidence happening in the sky that evening after sunset (weather permitting).

A lunar eclipse happens when the moon moves into the Earth’s shadow and reflects its dark, red interior color. They don’t happen often because normally the moon moves slightly over or under the shadow when it’s on the far side of the Earth from the sun.  The next total lunar eclipse won’t happen until May 26, 2021, so this will be the last chance to experience this phenomenon for over two years. On Jan. 20, the moon will also be relatively close to the Earth while it’s full, which has recently become known as a Supermoon. The entire eclipse will be visible from New Mexico and the moon will be high in the sky, so they’ll be no need to seek a location with a view of the horizon.

For a closer look at the moon as it slides into the red shadow, telescopes provided by the Museum and Albuquerque Astronomical Society will be available around the Museum grounds and also on the Observatory Deck. A live video stream will show the eclipse from other locations around the world. Informational videos, posters, and handouts will explain the term Supermoon, what causes eclipses, and why eclipses make the moon turn red.

“In addition to marveling at the moon’s transformation, we may also look at other wonders in the sky through the available telescopes” said Museum Space Science Director Jim Greenhouse.

Here are the times for the stages of the eclipse Jan. 20:
Partial Eclipse Begins – 8:34 p.m.
Total Eclipse Begins – 9:41 p.m.
Maximum Eclipse – 10:12 p.m.
Total Eclipse Ends – 10:43 p.m.
Partial Eclipse Ends – 11:50 p.m.

The observing part of this event will be canceled if the sky is cloudy.  No reservations are required and admission is by donation. Feel free to come in your pajamas (assuming you don’t mind being seen in public that way), but check the weather and dress appropriately for being outside in the cold!

Photo taken in Albuquerque by Vance Ley

February 5, 2019 - 6:30pm

Major Science from Minor Planets: Discoveries of the Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres
Carol Raymond, Ph.D., Jet Propusion Laboratory

NASA's Dawn Mission was the first to arrive at the asteroid belt and the first to orbit an object in the main belt. The mission has returned amazing data that has changed our understanding of the protoplanet Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. This is a unique opportunity to hear from Dawn’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Raymond. Join her for a discussion of the science data received, including spectacular NEW views of Ceres obtained recently during Dawn's final low-altitude orbit. The NM Museum of Natural History & Science has the only summary exhibit of the Dawn Mission in existence. After the lecture, attendees will be able to visit the exhibit with Dr. Raymond and other Dawn Science Team members.

Carol Raymond, Ph.D. is Manager of the Small Bodies Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Principal Investigator of the Dawn mission. She earned her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Columbia University.

Cost: $8 nonmembers, $7 members, $5 students. Preregistration is encouraged or tickets can be purchased at the door the evening of the event (if seats are available). Go to Questions:     

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