Follow Big Bird through the night sky, explore Mayan culture, learn about light pollution, and talk to astronomers about their research at the second annual Astronomy Day at The University of Toledo.The free, public event will take place Saturday, April 20, in the Ritter Planetarium on UT’s Main Campus and allow guests to view the sun through special telescopes and watch planetarium shows with the world’s first Spitz SciDome XD projection system.
Throughout Astronomy Day, which starts at 1 p.m., visitors will be able to view the sun with the Toledo Astronomical Association’s advanced telescopes, weather permitting.
At 3 p.m., UT astronomers will share how they are using the Discovery Channel Telescope in Flagstaff, Ariz., to revolutionize their research in Toledo. The 4.3-meter telescope is the fifth largest telescope in the continental United States and one of the most technologically advanced.
A series of planetarium shows will be featured during Astronomy Day. Shows will be:
• “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure” at 1 p.m. Children can follow Elmo and Big Bird as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a Muppet from China. This show is a personal favorite of Alex Mak, associate director of Ritter Planetarium.
• “Tales of the Maya Skies” at 2 p.m. The audience will be immersed in Mayan astronomy, art and culture.
• “The City Dark” at 4 p.m. This full-length, award-winning film will educate viewers on the impact light pollution has on astronomers, wildlife, culture and health.
Astronomy Day is a great way for the public to get a glimpse of what members of the UT Department of Physics and Astronomy do on a regular basis.
“We’ve had a lot of students come to UT who later tell me that their first experience at UT was to see the planetarium,” Mak said. “They still remembered it and they loved it.”
For more information, visit rpbo.utoledo.edu.