Bucknell Virtual Family Night at the Observatory to Begin Next Week

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Bucknell Partners with Union County Public Library on Virtual Program, Families Can Pick Up Craft Kits at the Library

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell University Observatory has partnered with the Union County Public Library to present its annual “Family Night at the Observatory” program, which will be conducted virtually this year between Wednesday, Feb. 10, and Friday, March 5. This year’s theme is “Stars and Constellations” because families can learn about both from their own backyards, without the benefit of telescopes.

“We have run this family-oriented astronomy night every winter since 1998, and on clear nights we attract more than 500 people to the observatory to look through our telescopes, make astronomy-themed crafts and watch live entertainment,” says Professor Ned Ladd, physics & astronomy. “This year, of course, we can’t run an event like that, so we are so pleased to be able to partner with the Union County Public Library to make Family Night at the Observatory happen, even during this difficult time.”

In their virtual format, organizers have developed a small craft kit containing a make-your-own “Sky Wheel” star chart, several constellation coloring pages — designed and drawn by local artist Bruce van Patter — and a “create your own constellation” activity. The kits will be available for pickup at the Union County Public Library, 255 Reitz Blvd, Lewisburg, starting on Feb. 10 and running through March 5.

“People have been telling stories about patterns in the sky for thousands of years. The constellations we still see connect us all to those past times,” Ladd says. “With the Sky Wheel star chart, families can find and identify constellations from their own backyards.”

The Bucknell Observatory will also host videos on their website describing how to make the star charts and how to use them. In addition, there will be a short video describing the astronomy behind charting of the stars.

The project is sponsored by the Bucknell University Department of Physics & Astronomy, the Isaac J. Tressler Fund for Astronomy, and through a partnership with the Union County Public Library.

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CONTACTS: Ned Ladd, 570-577-3102, ned.ladd@bucknell.edu; Mike Ferlazzo, 570-577-3212, 570-239-6266 (c), mike.ferlazzo@bucknell.edu

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