-David Breeckner, Interim Executive Director
|Mike Rood shows constellations through a telescope to a young astronomer|
Last night the Museum opened its doors for a special evening event – a night under the stars! Against the backdrop of movies and some very special arts and crafts (applying mosaic to our new tortoise sculpture), 166 visitors joined museum staff and volunteers in enjoying this latest celestial event.
|Mike Rood describes meteors before visitors search the skies|
Opening with an introductory talk by IVDM board member and amateur astronomer Mike Rood, guests to the museum learned the origins of meteors and meteor showers, and the importance and timing of the Lyrids. Using the mobile app Night Sky, Mike took his audience on a whirlwind tour of the constellations that fill our horizon. The ensuing barrage of questions by the younger members of the audience showed their interest in the talk and all things astronomical – the difference between an asteroid and a meteor (size, origins, and material composition), if the stars had always been in their current places in the night sky (they haven’t), and the origins of their names and meanings in different cultures and places (it’s all relative).
|Red lights preserve night vision while still lighting the way|
Waiting on the setting sun, museum guests eventually left the air-conditioned building to set up their lawn chairs or drop a cushion and to await the heavenly show. No telescopes were necessary this night, though many took advantage of their own or others’ to get up-close looks at the various celestial bodies. Two lucky visitors looked up at the night sky through a brand-new pair of high-magnification binoculars, courtesy of winning the night’s $5 raffle. Guests stayed outside and enjoyed their time for nearly two hours, closing the event well past its original 9 pm conclusion. Despite the high winds typical to the region, propelled eastward over and down the Jacumba Mountains, guests remained unflinching in their skyward fascination.