Are your kids interested in anything and everything science? Bring them out to Highland Road Park Observatory for the worldwide celebration of all things astronomy, physics, aeronautics, and the American space program at International Astronomy Day on May 7th from 3-11 p.m. Every year since 2007, Highland Road Park Observatory has proudly taken part in International Astronomy Day, a celebration of all things related to astronomy, physics, aeronautics, and the American space program. Old favorites and new surprises will make this International Astronomy Day a day to remember. Our family has enjoyed this annual event for years, there’s always something new to see and learn! Be sure to bring cash for food and merchandise too!
Saturday, May 7th from 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Free admission. For all ages.
Binoculars recommended after 7:30 pm
International Astronomy Day Schedule
SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm = ROCKET RANGE: Estes Whirlybird [launch location to be announced]
HRPO personnel will take bids for the launch and ownership of an incredible Whirlybird. Maximum launch height, 198 meters. Launch at 5:05 pm. Bidder must be at least eighteen. Launcher must be at least eight.
3:00 pm to 5:15 pm = RENAISSANCE SUNDIAL [Back Viewing Pad]
We unveil an astounding object that is both scientific timekeeper and work of art—an amazing helical body that reflects a beam of sunlight onto the correct time notch. Feel free to return to it periodically and compare it with your “modern” timepiece. You’ll be surprised by its accuracy.
3:00 pm to 7:00 pm = CELESTIAL PERIPHERIALS [Canopies]
- Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport = telling us that weight, drag, thrust and lift are what it’s all about.
- Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center = showcasing “alien” plant species and the possibility of plants on other planets.
- BREC Art Program = reminding us that artists are essential to promoting space exploration and the possible mysteries we may solve.
- Civil Air Patrol = informing on the uses of aeronautics for search and rescue.
- East Baton Rouge Mosquito Abatement = collaborating with us to keep the creepy-crawlies off during skygazing.
- LIGO = blowing minds with their search for gravitational waves.
- Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater Baton Rouge = existing to “advancing awareness, understanding and stewardship of the natural environment.”
3:00 pm to 8:00 pm = BOOKMOBILE! [behind Canopies]
The East Baton Rouge Parish Library presents the fantastic books and other resources for amateur astronomers—and a treat or two for the kids.
3:15 pm to 5:15 pm = VIEWING: Sun☉ [Front Viewing Pad]
Our parent star (in the constellation Aries♈ at this time) is put into focus. For the past few months activity—sunspots and flares—has been increasing dramatically. 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 million kilometers.
3:15 pm to 6:15 pm = THE MARS TRUCK [Near Canopies]
3:15 pm to 7:15 pm = RIDING THE RADIO WAVES [under Radio Dish]
The Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club will teach patrons to send their names in Morse Code, explain the household benefit of the Amateur Radio Service and invite them to study for the upcoming test and become Baton Rouge’s next “hams!”
3:30 pm to 6:30 pm = NANOTECHNOLOGY DEMONSTRATIONS [Canopies]
The Center for Computation and Technology (together with BR Bytes) present an eclectic array of family-aimed experiments and explanations showing the benefits of technology on the tiniest of scales.
3:45 pm to 6:45 pm = NACHREISEN [Next to Pavilion]
HEMA—Historic European Martial Arts—promotes as an exercise the defense mechanisms that were around centuries ago. These demonstrations will show moves from the 1400s and 1500s, the time of Kepler and Brahe. Follow all instructions from personnel. Do not cross safety barrier between public and demonstrators.
4:15 pm to 8:15 pm = TRAIN LIKE AN ASTRONAUT! [behind Pavilion]
Three separate stations allow kids and adults to get just a little taste of what may lie ahead if they are bold enough to apply for the Space Program!
4:30 pm to 8:30 pm = ADVENTURE QUEST [instructions and form at secret location to be revealed during event]
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? There may be limited forms!
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm = ROCKET RANGE: Estes Wacky Wiggler [launch location to be announced]
HRPO personnel will take bids for the launch and ownership of a counterintuitive Wacky Wiggler. Maximum launch height, 244 meters. Launch at 7:05 pm. Bidder must be at least eighteen. Launcher must be at least eight.
*6:00 pm to 10:00 pm = VIEWING: Waxing Crescent Moon [Front Viewing Pad/ Back Viewing Pad]
During this time our closest celestial companion will have its apparent tone change from sky blue to grays and purples. It will be in Gemini♊. Personal binoculars recommended after 8:00 pm. Distance 398,000 kilometers.
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm = PHYSICAL SCIENCE DEMONSTRATIONS [Main Floor]
Over a half-dozen randomly-selected group from HRPO’s amazing collection of demos focusing on optics, chemical changes, sound and magnetism will be spread out like a buffet. (The demos are different every single month, so show up for ARRL Field Day on 25 June!)
7:45 pm to 8:15 pm = SEARCH: Crepuscular Rays [all outside locations]
Broken clouds, positioned correctly during sunset, can create a beautiful phenomenon of alternating rays of light and shadow. Could we be so lucky?
8:00 pm = APPEARANCE: Sirius [East Treeline]
The bright beacon of winter skies is saying goodbye. Which of us can see its fierce glow in the southwest first? Distance 8.6 light-years.
periodically from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm = VIEWING: Lunar Landscape [Large Dome]
Compare what you’ve seen of our only satellite so far (in the scopes on the viewing pads) with the magnificent “in-flight” view of the terrain of the Moon—with all the craters big and small, flooded areas, bright spots and streaking rays.
8:15 pm = APPEARANCE: Arcturus [South of Front Viewing Pad]
The orange K-class giant jewel of Boötes rises in the east. Distance 37 light-years.
*8:15 pm to 8:30 pm = VISIBLE PASS: The X-37B [all outside locations]
It’s the latest in the famous NASA experimental plane series. We can see it? Yes, when it reflects enough sunlight down to our eyes, while simultaneously the sky is dark enough to provide contrast. Distance, an almost-able-to-touch 396 kilometers.
8:15 pm to 8:45 pm = TWILIGHT SKY TOUR [Back Viewing Pad]
The denizens of the mid-spring sky appeal to young and old, and you may learn more about them than you thought you could! (There also may be one or two extra visible passes!)
8:45 pm = APPEARANCE: Corvus the Crow [Front Viewing Pad]
The irregular box just west-southwest of Spica makes itself known. Patrons should just look in the direction of St. Gabriel!
*9:00 pm = APPEARANCE: The Big Dipper [Front and Back Viewing Pads]
The most famous asterism of the night sky—actually a section of Ursa Major—holds sway in the north-northeast. Can you separate Mizar and Alcor, or do you need to use a binocular?
9:15 pm = APPEARANCE: Leo♌ the Lion [all outside locations]
In a relaxing pose, eternally staring at Cancer♋, the King of the Zodiac observes us as we observe him.
*9:30 pm to 11:00 pm = VIEWING: The Beehive Cluster [Back Viewing Pad]
Telescope operators will show patrons a glittery jewel that reveals itself to be an open cluster of about 1000 stars of varied brightnesses and colors. Distance 577 light-years.
9:45 pm to 11:00 pm = METEOR HUNTING [south of Viewing Pads]
Laying on a tarp or lawn chair or sleeping bag brought from home, patrons will be encouraged to focus intently on the northeastern sky to spy any streaks zipping through the constellations. One major and one minor meteor shower are in progress right now, and a couple of fireballs have been seen locally in the past few weeks. You never know what you’ll catch happening if you keep looking up!
*9:55 pm to 10:05 pm = VISIBLE PASS: The Hubble Space Telescope [all outside locations]
Its days are numbered, but it still has a couple of years left for data gathering. We can see it? Yes, when it reflects enough sunlight down to our eyes, while simultaneously the sky is dark enough to provide contrast. Distance 908 kilometers.
10:00 pm to 10:30 pm = EVENING SKY TOUR [Back Viewing Pad]
Leo♌, Ursa Major, Coma Berenices and Virgo♍ are the cast of characters in an informative and fun recitation of stellar stories.
*sometime between 10:00 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.
10:30 pm to 11:00 pm = LUNAR TOUR [Back Viewing Pad]
With magnifications of 10x to 50x, patrons will spy Craters Posidonius, Plinius, Theophilius, Cyrillus and Catharina.
All viewing is weather permitting.
Personal binoculars strongly recommended for (*) viewing events.
Free 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.