Summer is the perfect time to catch a FREE planetarium show!

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[Nick, the planetarium projector, putting his best face forward in a selfie]

The Copernican Planetarium and Observatory is open year-round! Our next FREE public planetarium shows are Saturdays June 17 and July 1 at 8 PM. Afterwards, if the skies are clear you are invited to view the real night sky through a variety of instruments. Consult our webpage for more information.

When Teaching Children about the Eclipse, This Bunny Hops to it!

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[BB the Eclipse Chasing Bunny in Australia]

The August 21, 2017 Great American Eclipse is an opportunity that should not be missed! However, many more people will be viewing a partial rather than a total eclipse, including here in Connecticut. How do we teach people to safely view the partial phases? One way that I have been getting the message out to young people is through my trusted companion on all four of my solar eclipse trips, BB the Eclipse Chasing Bunny! On May 23, he and I visited the entire 5th grade class at the Webster Hill Elementary School in West Hartford. While the children enjoyed hearing about BB’s adventures in Egypt, China, Australia, and the Faroe Islands, they also got the message that you can safely observe a partial solar eclipse, and learned how to do it! The children will all be receiving solar viewing glasses (like BB’s) to take home to their parent, along with an information sheet about simple eclipse projection techniques, at the end of the school year. BB and I look forward to speaking to more children about the eclipse between now and mid-August.

— K. Larsen (and BB!)

Take Your Child to Space Day!

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[Attendees of the CCSU Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day examine real space rocks!]

Children and grandchildren of CCSU employees explored space from the comfort of the Geological Sciences Department on April 27. In addition to handling meteorites, children made UV-bead bracelets, examined spectra via diffraction glasses, and made star finders to bring home.

“Nick” is the Star of the Show

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[Students from the Academy of Science and Innovation snap selfies with “Nick”]

High school students from the Academy of Science and Innovation in New Britain got a rare treat, posing for selfies with “Nick”, the Spitz 512 planetarium projector at the Copernican Observatory and Planetarium as part of a Friday science program. After the planetarium show, the students visited the Chemistry and Biology Departments to conduct experiments. The next free public planetarium shows are Saturday April 1 and 15 at 8 PM.

Simsbury Public Library talk on The Stars of Middle-earth

Many people don’t realize that fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien was, well, a bit obsessive when it came to getting right the astronomical detail in his tales of Middle-earth. This often led to difficulties, delays, and contradictions. The Simsbury Public Library is hosting a free public talk on Monday, March 27 (6:30 PM) by our own Dr. Kristine Larsen on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Tumultuous Love Affair with Astronomy. For more information, see the library’s website.