Two Small Pieces of Glass
This program puts the audience in the middle of a modern star party, experiencing the wonders that even a small amateur telescope can reveal. Learn about the invention of the telescope, how a telescope works, and how this important invention has developed and grown over hundreds of years—from the first primitive handheld telescope, to orbiting space telescopes, and gigantic modern ground-based telescopes.;
The Endless Horizon
This program explores mankind's innate desire to explore the land, sea, sky, and space in order to better understand our place in the Universe. Hear stories of exploration from ancient times to the Apollo Moon landings, and beyond. Featured explorers include Columbus, Captain James Cook, Galileo, Newton, and many others who have shaped our view of the world--and the Universe.
The Case of the Disappearing Planet
Join Detective Skye Watcher as she examines the changing status of objects we call "planets." What exactly makes an object a planet? Why has that definition changed over the years? The program not only covers Pluto, but the temporary planetary status of asteroids as well. The tally of "planets" in our Solar System has been going up and down for hundreds of years!
Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico
This show examines the early culture, astronomy and history of what is now called Mexico and Central America. Skywatchers will take you to colorful cities like Tenochtitlán and Chichén Itzá, with their large observatories and elaborate temples, as they were when they were the ruling centers of great civilizations. Learn about the importance of astronomical observations to these cultures, and hear stories from their mythology.
Be sure to check our full schedule for show times and dates.
Total Lunar Eclipse (12/20/10-12/21/10)
There will be a total lunar eclipse on the night of Monday, December 20, to the early morning of Tuesday, December 21. It will be the first total lunar eclipse in almost 3 years. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes directly between the Sun and the Moon, causing the Earth's shadow to fall on the Moon.
The eclipse will begin at 9:27 p.m. on Monday, December 20, with totality beginning at 11:40 p.m. The time of greatest eclipse will be at 12:17 a.m. on Tuesday, December 21
For more information, and to see an animation of what the eclipse should look like, please click here.
Murals in the Lobby (8/1/02)
A renowned artist Lynette Cook has spent the entire month of July using only ordinary paint brushes and an airbrush and produced two mural masterpieces. On the south side of the lobby are Gliese 876 system and other objects such as the Horsehead Nebula and the Orion Nebula. The north side (theater side) showcases the planets of our solar system.
Lynette Cook is well known for her astronomical and cosmological illustrations. If you have been following the recent discoveries of extrasolar planetary systems, you may very well have encountered some of her works of art. One of them, the 55 Cancri system--whose discovery was just announced a month ago--appears below
Click on the images below to see what each object is.
Next Solar Eclipse: May 20, 2012!
We would like to thank everyone for showing up at our solar eclipse party.
The next solar eclipse that is visible from the Central Valley will be on May 20, 2012. It will be another annular eclipse (not total).
Check out the NASA Eclipse Home Page. And here is the map.
Here are some pictures from our solar eclipse party on 6/10. (Click to see larger images --- thanks to Mr. D. Lehman)