Public events take place at the Museum of the Rockies from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and an evening telescope viewing session is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., weather permitting. All Astronomy Day 2011 activities and Museum admission are free.
At 1 p.m., MSU President Waded Cruzado will give the opening remarks, and at 1:10 p.m., astronaut Richard Arnold will speak about his mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in March 2009. An autograph session with Arnold will follow. Seating is limited to 200 people and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The auditorium doors open at noon.
At 3 p.m. NASA Solar System Ambassador Shirley Green will present "Pluto and New Horizons," and at 4 p.m., Robert Leamon, a Living with a Star Discipline Scientist, will present about NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Kids' activities include face painting, sun catchers, star finders, solar system jewelry and more. Telescopes will be set up for solar observing (weather permitting), and exhibits in the main lobby will feature activities, information and give-aways from NASA missions and Montana State University researchers.
Planetarium shows include "Star Signs" and "Here Comes the Sun."
Educator workshops are a new addition to this year's Astronomy Day. From 9 a.m. to noon, grade 4-12 educators can learn about lunar and meteorite samples stored at the NASA Johnson Space Center and become certified to bring these samples into their classrooms. The workshop is led by NASA education specialist Tony Leavitt. "Ice in the Solar System" takes place from noon to 1 p.m. Designed for teachers of grades K-12, it is led by NASA Solar System Educator Shirley Greene. Montana OPI Renewal Units are available for both workshops, and pre-registration is required.
Astronomy Day is sponsored by the Museum of the Rockies, Montana Space Grant Consortium and its Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT), Project WET Foundation, Southwest Montana Astronomical Society, and MSU's Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center, Department of Education, Extended University, Solar Physics Research Group and SPIE.
For more information visit http://eu.montana.edu/astronomyday/