Local residents are invited to learn more about the upcoming solar eclipse and get a sneak preview of a KET documentary about NASA’s Voyager mission at an event in Eastern Kentucky University’s Ravine on Friday evening, July 28.
The event begins at 8 p.m. with some educational activities related to what will be a total solar eclipse across parts of western Kentucky (partial eclipse in Richmond area) on Monday, Aug. 21. In the event of inclement weather, Hummel Planetarium will host the activities.
Then, at 9 p.m., a preview screening of the 90-minute documentary, “The Farthest – Voyager in Space,” will begin. One of the greatest achievements in exploration, the Voyager mission celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Twin spacecraft – each with less computing power than a cell phone – visited Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and sent back data that revolutionized our understanding of the outer planets and their many moons.
According to KET, the documentary “tells the captivating tales of the people and events behind one of humanity’s greatest achievements in exploration. Still going strong four decades after launch, each spacecraft carries an iconic golden record with greetings, music and images from Earth — a gift for any aliens that might one day find it. Voyager 1, which left our solar system and ushered humanity into the interstellar age in 2012, is the farthest-flung object humans have ever created. A billion years from now, when our sun has flamed out and burned Earth to a cinder, the Voyagers and their golden records will still be sailing on — perhaps the only remaining evidence that humanity ever existed.”
The documentary will air on KET beginning Aug. 23.
The July 28 event at EKU is sponsored in partnership with KET and the Madison County Public Library and is just the first of several activities to mark the solar eclipse. The remaining events:
· Wednesday, Aug. 9 – Eclipse Prep for Kids, Richmond Branch, Madison County Public Library, 3:30-4:30 p.m., targeted to elementary-age children. Participants will enjoy two separate, exciting and engaging astronomy-oriented activities, and will leave the program with a pair of solar eclipse glasses, as well as they own hand-made viewing tool with which they can safety watch an eclipse.
· Thursday, Aug. 17 – “An Astronomical Night at Madison County Public Library,” building eclipse viewers and EKU astronomy lecture, 4-6 p.m., Richmond Branch, Madison County Public Library. Dr. Jessica Lair of EKU faculty will speak. Target audience: middle school and older.
· Friday, Aug. 18 – a fun solar eclipse night for elementary-age children, 6-8 p.m. Hummel Planetarium, EKU, includes “Earth, Moon and Sun” planetarium show and eclipse-related activities. Participants will take home their own pinhole viewer.
· Saturday, Aug. 19 – Two solar eclipse sessions with Dr. Lair, noon and 1:30 p.m., Hummel Planetarium. Solar eclipse glasses will be available at no charge.
· Monday, Aug. 21 – Beginning at 12:30 p.m., come to the EKU campus (site to be announced) to safely view the partial solar eclipse, with glasses courtesy of the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Marco Ciocca will be present to answer questions. After the eclipse has passed, Hummel Planetarium will offer a free viewing of its show “Exploding Universe.” Target audience: middle school-age and up.
All events are free and open to the public, and solar eclipse glasses will be given out at each event. For more information and additional event details, visit planetarium.eku.edu.