Bruton Memorial Library is hosting a Family Telescope Night on Feb. 13.
On July 20, 1969, the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle landed on the surface of the moon, bringing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to a new frontier.
The entire world held its breath as Armstrong took his first step onto the lunar surface and a new generation of space enthusiasts were born as he described the experience to viewers back on his home planet as, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Decades have come and gone but when someone takes a moment to glimpse the stars above them, they often feel the same awe and wonder that swept the world by storm on that fateful night in the 60s.
Bruton Memorial Library is hoping to further that solar fervor with its upcoming Family Telescope Night on Feb. 13. Amanda Preece, youth services associate at Bruton, said throughout the evening families will have a chance to interact with hands-on stations about space, listen to a solar-system inspired story and peer through the massive telescope at the stars above them.
If it’s a clear night, there is even a chance Saturn may be visible from the scope.
Images of space are woven into nearly every realm of communication. Children’s stories share conversations between Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare where one finally bests the other by saying they loved them “right up to the moon” and television shows use it to signify love like in Game of Thrones when Khal Drogo calls his bride “Moon of my life” and she in turn calls him “My sun and stars.”
Astrology, which has a cult following, uses positions of astral objects to determine the very core of a human. Walk into any tattoo parlor and the walls will be covered with stunning works of celestial art.
Children fall in love with the stars and continue to cherish them long into adulthood, but few actually understand the science behind the universe. Preece is hoping through their experiences at Bruton the next generation of Plant City youth will have a scientific knowledge as deep as their varied passions.
“I think STEM is important because it teaches options,” Preece said. “Libraries in general are going toward a more maker space atmosphere. That’s what I’m hoping to reflect here at Bruton. Reading is amazing, but the library is so much more than just a place to pick up amazing books… There’s more to the library than just literacy.”
During the night under the stars children and their families will have a chance to do their own exploration of the universe thanks to the kindness of Craig MacDougal, who is bringing his personal telescope out to the event. Preece said MacDougal will teach the young students about the ins and outs of the universe they are gazing at as they take the time to soak in the objects on the other end of the scope.
Children will walk away with a greater understanding of telescopes and the universe as a whole by the time the night is through. To offer the greatest one-on-one experience Preece said families will be given a number when they arrive for the event. Then, following story time, the numbers will be called out and the corresponding family can head over to the telescope. All other attendees will use the time waiting to check out the other booths and activities at the event.
Preece used to be a science teacher and said she has always loved being able to share the scientific field with young minds. When the opportunity arose to come on board as a librarian at Bruton she jumped at it. Now she hopes she can instill her passion for learning into the hearts of everyone who walks through the doors.
There isn’t an age limit for the event, though Preece said it is a family night. Anyone who has a passion for the stars and wants to learn more about the world in which they live are welcome to attend. MacDougal will be on site for approximately an hour so Preece recommends families come early to ensure they get a number and have a chance to enjoy the telescope.
If you go
Bruton Memorial Family Telescope Night
When: Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St.
1. Space is silent due to the fact there is no atmosphere. However, radio waves can still be sent and received so astronauts use radios to communicate while traveling among the stars.
2. Avid stargazers often camp out to watch specific celestial objects cross the night sky. Halley’s Comet was discovered in 1705 by Edmond Halley and last flew by our planet it 1986. It won’t pass by Earth again until 2061 as it comes every 75 to 76 years.
3. Mercury is the fastest planet in our solar system and zooms around the Sun at an average of 107,000 miles per hour. A year on Mercury is equal to that of 88 days on Earth.
4. Thanks to new research from Cassini’s mission finale in 2017, researches found Saturn’s rings are relatively new and may have formed during the same time dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Another study found those rings may fall into the planet and Saturn may be completely void of them in the next 100 million years or so.
5. Neutron stars are tiny — with a radius of approximately 6 miles — and have a mass of a few times that of our Sun, yet they rotate up to 60 times per second after they are born from a core-collapses supernova star explosion and have occasionally spun 600 to 712 times per second because of their physics.
6. When man first walked on the moon the entire world watched in awe. Well those footprints will be there for approximately 100 million years because the moon has no atmosphere, aka no wind, or any water to wash them away.
7. There is a volcano on Mars that is 600 km wide and 21km high, aka three times the size of Mt. Everest.
8. If you look just below the belt of Orion you will find the Orion Nebula, which is a massive cloud of gas and dust. It acts as a star nursery, forming new stars from the hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen found inside the nebula.
9. Stars move, ever expanding in the universe, so one day the North Star, also known as Polaris, won’t be the North Star anymore. Between their movement and the fact the Earth wobbles on its axis, there will one day be another guiding light. Before it shifted into its northern territory our Polaris was called Phoenice. Another, Thuban, was once the northern star guiding ancient Egyptians.
10. In space, if two pieces of the same type of metal touch, they will bond and be permanently stuck together due to an effect called cold welding.