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Date: Apr 25, 2012
Astronomy Night on the National Mall Brings the Universe Down to Earth
Largest Astronomy Event in the History of the National Mall
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – The third annual Astronomy Night on the National Mall, sponsored by Hofstra University and the USA Science and Engineering Festival, will now take place on Sunday, April 29th from 7 to 11 pm due to weather conditions. National Astronomy Day will feature telescopic viewing, exhibits, hands-on activities, a multimedia presentation, and a chance to meet astronomers. NASA Astronaut and Associate Administrator for Science John Grunsfeld will talk about space and answer questions. The Hofstra set up will be located in the “North East Quadrant” as defined by the event layout.
Dr. Donald Lubowich, Coordinator of Astronomy Outreach at Hofstra University, is organizing this free public star gazing event. “Bringing Hofstra’s program to the National Mall and partnering with astronomical organizations gives us a special opportunity to encourage children to pursue their interest in science or math and to promote public understanding of science,” said Dr. Lubowich. “Gazing at the rings of Saturn or the Moon’s craters and mountains captures the imagination, no matter how old you are.”
Dr. Lubowich and volunteers from the National Capital Astronomers, the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club, the Astronomical Association of Greenbelt, and the Goddard Astronomy Club, will set up 15 telescopes on the Mall. Beginning at 7 pm., visitors will be able to view sunspots with the help of specially filtered telescopes. After dusk and until 11 p.m., telescopes will provide close-up views of the first-quarter Moon, Saturn and its beautiful rings, Venus, Mars, colorful double stars, and star clusters. Visitors will get to meet two important characters from scientific history: actors dressed like Albert Einstein and astronomer Caroline Herschel, the first modern female astronomer.
Representatives from some of the nation’s foremost astronomical institutions will be on hand to present exciting demonstrations and activities, and to answer questions about celestial objects and events, new discoveries in the field and careers in science, The organizations represented will include: the American Astronomical Society, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Astronomy Magazine, Astronomy Outreach Foundation, International Dark-Sky Association, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics/Chandra X-ray Center, Hubble Space Telescope (Space Telescope Science Institute), NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, National Science Foundation, Division of Astronomical Sciences, and the NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. For more information visit www.hofstra.edu/DCstars.
Dr. Lubowich also will be presenting his “Edible Astronomy” on Thursday April 26th at the USA Science and Engineering Festival. Demonstrations of how chocolate, milk, candy, popcorn, bagels, three-bean dip, Starburst candy, and Hostess Snowballs can be used to illustrate why the sky is blue and the Sun greenish-white; the formation of planets; comets; phases and craters on the Moon; the age of the Earth, Moon, and stars; the mud flows and the surface of Mars; black holes, and the expansion of the Universe. The Festival, held for the second time in Washington, D.C., is the ultimate multi-cultural, multi-generational and multi-disciplinary celebration of science in the United States.
Dr. Lubowich also runs Hofstra’s very successful NASA-funded Music and Astronomy Under the Stars program, which takes telescopes to concert goers on Long Island, and to the Ravinia Music Festival, outside Chicago. For more information and the 2012 schedule for Astronomy and Music Under the Stars, visit http://www.hofstra.edu/music&astronomy.
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from about 140 undergraduate and more than 150 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business; engineering; communication; education, health and human services; and honors studies, as well as a School of Law and the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.