Second installment of Wetherbee Astronomy Series coming Saturday

Jul 13, 2015

By Brad McEwen, Albany Herald

ALBANY— Thronateeska Heritage is continuing its multi-part Wetherbee Astronomy Series on Saturday when the Science Museum will host the second installment of the series, an in-depth exploration of planets.

The program, titled “How to Make a Planet,” will begin at 2 p.m., following the museum’s regular Science Saturday, which starts at 1 p.m.

The Science Saturday program will give participants on opportunity to construct their own planets layer by layer before the astronomy series gets going with a full dome showing of “Oasis in Space” in the Wetherbee Planetarium.

“Oasis in Space” will be followed by an in-depth presentation about planets from Thronateeska Staff Astronomer Jim Friese where he will discuss the planetary cores of Earth and Jupiter. Friese will also share information about planets outside of Earth’s solar system, which are also known as exoplanets.

“Have you ever wondered how planets are put together or how they look on the inside? You’ll be able to explore those ideas at this event,” Friese said in a press release. “You’ll really get to find out what goes on under our feet.”

Next Saturday’s presentation is the second in the four-part Wetherbee Astronomy Series, which began in May with a presentation about smaller space objects like comets and asteroids, also hosted by Friese.

According to Thronateeska Programs Manager Alex LaPierre, May’s inaugural astronomy presentation was a great success, drawing roughly 30 people to the Science Museum.

“That was the best turnout we’ve had in a few years,” LaPierre said. “The planetarium seats about 80 people, so almost half the planetarium was full.”

LaPierre said she believes changing the astronomy programs to Saturday, after having them in previous years on Thursday nights, and tying them to the Science Saturdays has helped boost attendance and the new scheduling better fits with the museum’s target demographic, families with children.

“Moving it to Saturday has helped as its easier for folks with kids to attend on a Saturday,” LaPierre said. “We’re looking for another great turnout for this one.”

The third installment in the series is “Tale of Two Stars” on Sept. 19, and the final installment, “Island Universes,” is slated for Nov. 21.

Admission to each presentation is $3.50 plus tax per person and is open to all ages. Thronateeska members are admitted at no charge.

The Science Saturdays that precede each astronomy series presentation also are open to all ages, but adult supervision is required. Registration because of limitations on space is recommended. To register or to learn more about Science Saturday and the Wetherbee Astronomy Series, contact Thronateeska Programs Manager Alex LaPierre at (229) 432-6955 or email alapierre@heritagecenter.org.

For more about Thronateeska Heritage Center, visit www.heritagecenter.org.

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