Public Programs for 2014:
On Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m., the general public is invited to attend free programs. These programs are provided as a free service of the Chesapeake Public School System. Topics for these programs change every month and are educational in nature. They are designed to give the individual a general overview of astronomy.

* It is recommended that children below the first grade level not be admitted to the planetarium chamber. All quiet children are welcome.

Reservations:
Due to limited seating, reservations are necessary and may be made by telephoning Chesapeake Public Schools between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. weekdays. (757-547-0153)

Planetarium Programs 2014

January

“Exploring The Night Sky”

An introduction to the world of astronomy and stargazing will be our topic.  We will demonstrate the basic use of a telescope and other optical instruments for observing the night sky.  After the program we will observe through the planetarium’s large telescope (weather permitting).

February

“The Mars Invasion”

The red planet Mars will appear in the skies over Tidewater during the next several months.  Our planet Earth passes Mars this coming April at a close distance of only 54.7 million miles.  It will be the best time to view Mars since its last close approach to Earth in 2007, and it will appear as bright as the brilliant star Sirius at a magnitude of -1.5 .

March

“Cosmic Symphony”

View the wonders of the night sky while listening to stereophonic music in the planetarium star theater.  Selections of classical and pop music will be played on the planetarium’s powerful sound system while cosmic visuals dance before your eyes.  This program allows your imagination to wander among the stars.

April

“Night of the Red Moon”

Tidewater residents will have a rare opportunity to view the Moon turning red this month.  On the evening or April 14th into the night of the 15th, the Moon will slide into the Earth’s shadow.  It will be the first of four total lunar eclipses visible over the area this year and next.  Our program will demonstrate how eclipses occur and why they are so interesting to observe.

May

“Aliens Among the Stars”

The night sky contains billions of sun with planets.  What is the possibility that only our Sun supports life? We will explore the probability and possibility that life on Earth is not unique and that many other life forms could exist among our star neighbors.

June

“The Mystery of Stonehenge”

Examine a strange ring of giant rocks built almost 4,000 years ago by a tribe of barbarians.  Some believe it was a pagan temple and others believe it was built as a Stone Age computer for the predictions of astronomical events.  This program will examine the Stonehenge building site and demonstrate some of the astronomical alignments of these massive stones.

 July & August*

“The Summer Stars”

The wonders of the summer sky will be the topic of this program.  We will examine the summer constellations and some of the mythology associated with these stars.  The program will also examine some of the celestial objects in the summer sky and demonstrate the methods of locating them with a small telescope or binoculars.

*The planetarium will be operating on a summer schedule. Call the reservations number for show dates and times.  

September

“Astrology:  Fact or Fiction”

Among the eighty eight constellations in the night sky, twelve of them are knows as the zodiac signs.  Are these zodiac constellations any different from the others?  We will explore the night sky and show why some think these stars may have some influence over our daily lives while others think these stars are no different from the billions of stars in the night.

 October

“When Dragons Eat The Sun”

Some stargazers many years ago feared the Sun could be devoured by dragons.  This month that fear may become a reality for ancient stargazers.  On the evening of October 23rd part of the Sun will disappear over all of North America and parts of Canada.  Explore this partial solar eclipse in the planetarium star theater this month.

 November

“The Winter Sky”

The winter sky offers some of the brightest stars visible from earth. The constellations of winter are easy to identify and the mythology associated with them offers some of the best star stories found among the stars.  Explore the crisp clear winter night sky this month in the planetarium star theater.

 December

“The Christmas Star”

During the month of December the Chesapeake Planetarium sky will be set back more than 2000 years to the date of 8 B.C.  Visitors will view the planets and stars as they were long ago.  We will search the night sky for the story of a star that marked the coming of the Christmas season.  We will also explore some of the astronomical possibilities suggested for the most famous star in history.