Meet scientists from NASA, SETI, and more on Saturday, May 6

SAN FRANCISCO (March 10, 2006) – It’s the oldest science in human history, and on Saturday, May 6, visitors at the California Academy of Sciences can explore the latest breakthroughs and techniques during Astronomy Day 2006. Begun in 1973 by local astronomer Doug Berger, Astronomy Day gives institutions across the country the chance to host observing sessions, demonstrations, displays, and hands-on activities for the public. Professional and amateur astronomers join forces to educate visitors about the heavens and to share their enthusiasm about the wonders of our Universe.

The Academy will present a full day of astronomy-related events, including a talk by Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute about the ongoing search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, a presentation by science historian John Dillon about the first telescope ever made, and the chance to observe the sun safely if weather permits. In addition, members of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and NASA will be available for questions and hands-on activities. And be sure to enter a raffle for various astronomy-related goods, or pick up free materials courtesy of Astronomy magazine. All programs are free with museum admission.


All-Day Activities (10 am - 5 pm)
Astronomy Information Table
"Astro-Crafts," led by Academy volunteers and interns
Virtual Astronomy Museum website demonstration
Activities led by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Solar observations led by the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers (weather permitting)

Scheduled Presentations
11:30 am - Bing Quock, Morrison Planetarium, "Tonight's Sky"
1:00 pm - Dr. Jill Tarter, SETI Institute, "Big Questions in Astronomy"
2:00 pm - John Dillon, "Search for the First Telescope"
3:00 pm - Dr. Jamie Elsila, NASA
4:00 pm - Door prize drawings, featuring prizes from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and Scope City

For those who can’t wait for Astronomy Day, visit www.calacademy.org/planetarium to download Sky Tour, a free audio tour of the night sky presented by the California Academy of Sciences and the Environmental News Network. Or sign up for one of three stargazing sessions that will be held at the San Francisco Botanical Garden this spring:

Stargazing with Academy Astronomer Bing Quock
Friday, March 31 from 7 - 8:30 pm
Fridays, April 28 and May 26 from 8:30 - 10 pm
Join Bing Quock of the California Academy of Sciences’ Morrison Planetarium for night-sky viewing sessions on the beautiful grounds of the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park , including a laser-guided tour of the heavens and a deeper exploration with binoculars and a telescope. Dress warmly, bring a quality pair of binoculars (if you have them), a red-colored flashlight to preserve your night-vision, and your curiosity about the night sky!  Class is cancelled in the event of cloudy weather. Classes cost $12 per person or $18 per family ($8 per person or $13 per family for Academy members). For more information, call (415) 661-1316 x354.


The California Academy of Sciences, including Steinhart Aquarium and the Natural History Museum, is open to the public at 875 Howard Street. Admission to the Academy at 875 Howard Street is: $7 for adults, $4.50 for youth ages 12 to 17, Seniors ages 65+ and students with valid ID, $2 for children ages four to 11 and children ages three and younger will be admitted free of charge. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. www.calacademy.org (415) 379-8000.