Astronomy Day returns to Springfield Museums

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Astronomy Day at the Springfield Museums returns on Saturday, May 15.

In-person events had been cancelled due to the pandemic, but now the Museums will offer in-person and virtual experiences for anyone wanting to learn about the stars and planets of our solar system.

“We are excited to see star enthusiasts in-person this year!” said Kevin Kopchynski, the Springfield Museums’ Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) educator and Planetarium Manager. “And we are pleased to also offer a virtual experience.”

In the Science Museum’s Tolmam Hall at 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm, Museum Docent Joel Cummings will guide visitors through the science behind the spacesuit that astronauts wear on spacewalks outside of the International Space Station. Visitors will also witness what happens to a marshmallow in the vacuum of space!

Also in Tolman Hall at noon, 1:30 pm, and 3:00 pm, Kopchynski will give computer-guided tours of Mars, the Moon, and the May night sky.

Out on the Quadrangle, the Springfield Museums’ Family Engagement Team will offer demonstrations and hands-on activities between 11 am and 3 pm.

Activities include the following:

Orbiting Objects: “Exploring the Universe: Orbiting Objects” is a hands-on activity that invites visitors to experiment with different sized and weighted balls on a stretchy fabric gravity well. The activity models gravitational attraction in space. Participants investigate how changing conditions can cause phenomena like stellar wobble and planet formation.

Nebula Spin Art: In this activity, participants will learn about how gigantic clouds of gas and dust in space, called nebulas, are formed. They’ll create their own colorful model nebula using paint and a spinner. Because of the unique quantities and locations of the materials and the forces that spread them out, each model nebula will be unique—just like each real nebula!

Filtered Light: “Exploring the Universe: Filtered Light” demonstrates how scientists can use telescopes and other tools to capture and filter different energies of light to study the universe. Most objects in the universe are so distant from us that we can only study them through light. Filters allow us to block some energy levels of light and isolate others; each energy of light can offer new information about the object of study. In “Filtered Light,” participants discover how colored filters can help reveal more about an image. They can also make and study colorful images of their own.

All Astronomy day activities are included at no extra charge with Museums admission for the day. Mask and social distancing requirements will be observed throughout the day in all locations. You can find out more on this and other programs at the Springfield Museums website.

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