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International Astronomy Day


 The largest IAD celebration in the region serves up a wealth of STEM exhibitors and demonstrations, games, music and a raffle for hundreds of dollars in prizes.

3:15 pm to 5:15 pm = VIEWING: Sun? [Front Viewing Pad]

Our parent star (in the constellation Taurus? at this time) is put into focus. For the past few months activity—sunspots and flares—has been increasing, with the most amazing clusters and hedgerows popping up at suprising times. Utilizing a solar telescope we’ll show you an amazing view of the Sun? in hydrogen-alpha light. Any sizable flares or prominences occurring at this time will be easily seen! Distance, ~151.2 million kilometers.

4:00 pm to 9:00 pm = ADVENTURE QUEST [instructions and form at Information Table]

The frantic search game is always an IAD favorite. Gather the points to get the prizes—but should you redeem for small prizes as soon as possible, or get more points for higher level prizes? Will someone get the big prizes before you?

4:30 pm = 20OGS TOURS (session one) [Large Dome]

Patrons (in two fifteen-minute groups) will see the gears and eyepieces and Sky X program for the largest telescope on site, responsible for over forty asteroid discoveries. Patrons will also view a “road map” for the sky. {Limit three people at one time. First signed up, first served.}

4:45 pm to 8:45 pm = VIEWING: Moon [Front Viewing Pad]

During this time our closest celestial companion will be in its waxing crescent phase—illuminated in Gemini?, just west of the rising Beehive Cluster! Personal binoculars recommended. Distance ~395,000 kilometers.

5:30 pm to 6:00 pm = WARNING—COMET? APPROACHING! [Main Floor]

The alert has been sounded! The raw materials of a “dirty snowball” makes one come to life!

6:15 pm to 7:45 pm = SPACE FACES [near Pavilion]

Decorate your face with one of the planets, a comet?, a galaxy or the Sun? or Moon!

7:15 pm to 8:45 pm = MAGNIFICENT MAGNIFICATION [Main Floor]

The Scope-on-a-Rope is in action at this time for visitors to bring small objects—within reason!—to magnify.

8:00 pm to 8:30 pm = TWILIGHT SKY TOUR [Back Viewing Pad]

The Big Dipper, Arcturus and Spica…Sirius, Gemini? and Leo?. The denizens of the mid-spring sky appeal to young and old, and you may learn more about them than you thought you could!

8:15 pm to 9:45 pm = PHYSICAL SCIENCE DEMOS [Main Floor]

A half-dozen stunning demonstrations illustrating a variety of universal science concepts will be indoors for interaction.

8:45 pm to 10:15 pm = VIEWING: MARS? [West Treeline]

The Red Planet is slipping behind the Sun?, not to be seen again until Halloween. Join us for this last programmed Martian viewing.

9:00 pm to 9:10 pm = VISIBLE PASSES: OBJECT B [Back Viewing Pad]

The thing left over six years ago. What is it? We can’t tell you, but at least we can show you! {Predicted magnitude 0.7}.

9:00 pm to 11:00 pm = VIEWING: BEEHIVE CLUSTER [Front Viewing Pad]

This majestic open cluster is of about 1000 Sun?-like and other stars. Many of these stars can be seen from Baton Rouge. Personal binoculars recommended. Distance 577 light-years. Magnitude: 4.0.

9:10 pm to 9:20 pm = VISIBLE PASSES: INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION [Back Viewing Pad]

Human beings have been living and working at this orbiting base since the year 2000! Tonight, we wave hello to some of those brave men and women as we see the ISS soar through the Baton Rouge sky. {Predicted magnitude -2.1}.

9:35 pm to 9:45 pm = VISIBLE PASSES: CHANG ZHENG 2C ROCKET BODY [Back Viewing Pad]

A very reliable launch vehicle for China. There are several in low-Earth? orbit and we’ll see one before it enters the Earth?’s shadow! {Predicted magnitude 1.6}.

10:30 pm to 11:00 pm = VIEWING: Omega Centauri [location to be revealed]

The legendary globular cluster is notoriously elusive from this latitude. It is IAD tradition to attempt a spotting from a savvy vantage point on the grounds, looking through the gaps in the trees. Believe us, it’s worth it! Distance—hold on to your seat—a whopping 18,000 light years. Personal binoculars strongly recommended.

All viewing is weather permitting.

Binocular checkout from HRPO front desk will be available at 7:30 pm, but there are a limited number. We strongly encourage visitors to bring binoculars.

* Many events in Baton Rouge have been proactively postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. For the most up-to-date event information, please check with the specific event's website or social media pages.