Suggested Events for September 23rd-29th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

JOIN OUR TEAM! Hilltown Families is currently recruiting our newest Interpretive Writer and Development & Sales Officer. Click on the banner above to see the full job descriptions, as well as a slew of other available volunteer and intern positions. We look forward to hearing from our community!

Bulletin Board

Sep 23

Get ready for a new Elephant & Piggie adventure! Join The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst on Saturday, Sept 23 for Elephant & Piggie Art-ventures with Mo Willems & Tom Warburton! In We Are in an ART-ivity Book!, Mo Willems & Tom Warburton have created the first-ever Elephant & Piggie activity book, full of drawing, coloring, gaming, & other hands-on fun! Meet Mo & Tom. Get books signed. Take your photo with Elephant & Piggie, watch films, & create art in the Art Studio! Book signing from 12:30-2:30pm. Limit 1 book from home/unlimited books from The Carle Bookshop. No personalization nor signing of board books or stuffed animals. Can’t make it to event? Reserve signed books online, call 413-559-6333, or shop@carlemuseum.org.

Sep 23 & 24

The 19th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival is September 23 & 24 from 10am-5pm in Orange, MA. There’s something for everyone at this fabulous family destination. Over 100 booths are vibrant with local artists, farmers, fabulous food, chef demos and skills for local living. Enjoy amazing music, performance, spoken word and dance on three stages. New! ‘The World We Love,’ a giant handcrafted globe in the kid’s activity tent- add your vision and join the celebratory parade at the end of each festival day. Plus hula-hooping, horse-drawn hayrides, and garlic games all weekend. Only $5.00 adults, Kids 12 & under are free! More for travel/parking info and program visit www.garlicandarts.org; Follow festival updates daily on Facebook.

Sep 25

Monday, September 25, 2017, 10am-3pm: Soar into spring with Homeschool Day at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Open exclusively for homeschoolers and their families, and featured activities include: hands-on build & fly challenge activities, interactive flight science demonstrations, open cockpit experiences in historic aircraft, aircraft quests, fight simulators, and more! Virtual Flight Center access available for additional $5 per person. Tickets available for purchase on the day of your visit on a first come first served basis. Pre-registration required. Children ages 3 and under admitted free. www.neam.org for an online registration form. Please call 860-623-3305 x313 for questions.

Add your class

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year.  Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

Add your school

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Eventsand in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
September 23rd-29th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an EventCultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for September 16th-22nd, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Learn in Motion gets kids playing and learning through enrichment programming for schools, libraries and museums, educational introductory sports classes, and special events. Programs get children off screens, active, learning and having a ball. They encourage children to socialize and practice important life skills such as sharing, listening, following directions, working as a team, and overcoming obstacles. Through their programming, Learn in Motion also teaches traditional academic content such as letters, numbers, shapes, colors and more. For more information about their schedule, programs and offerings, visit www.learninmotionma.com, email learninmotionma@gmail.com or call 413-244-2073.

Trial Class Sept 20

A delightful music class for children age 0-5 and their grown-ups, created and taught by national recording artist, Katryna Nields. All songs are hand-selected by Katryna and Nerissa Nields. In HooteNanny, participants sing, play, and dance and make wonderful friendships. Come spend playful, enriching, connected time with your child and be part of the wonderful HooteNanny community. Fall session begins September 27/28, 2017. Free trial class on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 10am. For more information go to www.hootenannyfamily.com or write to hootenannymusicclass@gmail.com.

Sep 23 & 24

The 19th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival is September 23 & 24 from 10am-5pm in Orange MA. There’s something for everyone at this fabulous family destination. Over 100 booths are vibrant with local artists, farmers, fabulous food, chef demos and skills for local living. Enjoy amazing music, performance, spoken word and dance on three stages. New! ‘The World We Love,’ a giant handcrafted globe in the kid’s activity tent- add your vision and join the celebratory parade at the end of each festival day. Plus hula-hooping, horse-drawn hayrides, and garlic games all weekend. Only $5.00 adults, Kids 12 & under are free! More for travel/parking info and program visit www.garlicandarts.org; Follow festival updates daily on Facebook.

Sep 25

Monday, September 25, 2017, 10am-3pm: Soar into spring with Homeschool Day at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Open exclusively for homeschoolers and their families, and featured activities include: hands-on build & fly challenge activities, interactive flight science demonstrations, open cockpit experiences in historic aircraft, aircraft quests, fight simulators, and more! Virtual Flight Center access available for additional $5 per person. Tickets available for purchase on the day of your visit on a first come first served basis. Pre-registration required. Children ages 3 and under admitted free. www.neam.org for an online registration form. Please call 860-623-3305 x313 for questions.

Add your class

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year.  Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

Add your school

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
September 16th-22nd, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an EventCultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Community-Based Events for the Solar Eclipse

Partial Eclipse Visible on Monday, August 21, 2017

On Monday, August 21, 2017, the moon will pass in front of the sun, creating a solar eclipse which will be visible throughout the United States. In western Massachusetts, this event will be visible as a partial eclipse, as the moon will not entirely obscure our view of the sun. In fourteen states across the country, it will be visible as a total eclipse! The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the United States in this manner was June 8, 1918!

Since the sun will still be visible to us throughout the eclipse, viewers will need to acquire eclipse glasses in order to view it safely. Various organizations will be offering these tools, as well as fun educational activities, at eclipse viewing events on Monday, August 21, 2017:  Read the rest of this entry »

Astronomy Learning this Leading Up to the Autumnal Equinox… and Beyond!

Astronomy Learning this Leading Up to the Autumnal Equinox… and Beyond!

An interest in studying astronomy can develop from an interest in mathematical calculation, or a simple appreciation for the beauty of the sky. Observing the stars can be an act of scientific or spiritual curiosity, or both. While some people lament the shorter days of fall and winter, longer nights provide more chances to learn about astronomy through observations of the night sky!  Read the rest of this entry »

Web-Based Space Explorations Blast Off Through NASA Kids’ Club

Web-Based Space Explorations Blast Off Through NASA Kids’ Club

Offering a wealth of space-based information presented in a playful way, NASA’s online Kids’ Club presents opportunities for studies of a fascinating yet largely inaccessible realm. Relevant for most ages and easy to use, the Kids’ Club can be a great resource for space enthusiasts!

Space is a fascinating place, and a big part of its appeal is the fact that it’s just out of reach for most human beings. While curious kids aren’t very likely to be able to visit space anytime soon, NASA offers a kid-friendly online space filled with information about the many different missions, projects, and technologies that the organization is responsible for – allowing aspiring astronauts to learn about the ways in which humans research and explore the vast wilderness that is outer space.

The NASA Kids’ Club is an easy to use portal that connects kids to a wealth of information in many forms. The Kids’ Club offers everything from printable games and coloring pages to detailed descriptions of specific aircraft and their uses. Highlights of the website include a section dedicated to NASA’s current and recent missions and a photo gallery filled with images of the many people involved in NASA’s programs at work on a variety of tasks. Smaller sections within the site offer a look at nutrition and menu planning in space, the locations and inhabitants (both human and nonhuman) of NASA center’s across the country, the reasons behind the exploration that NASA guides, and the difference in time and gravity on each of the planets in our solar system.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mythology and Mathematics through Stargazing

Transit of Mercury Inspires Community-Based Learning

Transit of Mercury 2006

The transit of Mercury is an astronomical phenomenon in which Mercury comes between Earth and the Sun, and can be seen as a tiny black dot moving across the sun. This event was predicted by Johannes Kepler before it was observed visually. That observation was recorded in 1631. Today, we generally hear about astronomical events before they happen, often camping outside at night to see rare occurrences in the sky. How do astronomers predict events like the transit of Mercury with such accuracy? In short, advanced mathematics. Astronomers draw from concepts of Physics, and use Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Calculus to make measurements of distances between objects in the sky, and predictions of when they will appear in various ways from Earth.

You don’t need to know anything about mathematics to appreciate the beauty of the sky, however. For centuries, the night sky remained largely a mystery to humans, and many myths emerged to explain the sun, moon, stars, and planets. Lunar and solar deities emerged in cultures across the world.

Whether you want to learn more about the mathematics of astronomy, write your own mythological explanations, or simply enjoy the beauty of the sky, you can attend various astronomy-themed events at the Springfield Museums this month. On Monday, May 9 from 10am-1pm, museum visitors can witness the first transit of Mercury since 2006. Check the Museums’ Facebook page to make sure the event is happening, as it is weather dependent. On Saturday, May 14 from 12-4pm, visitors can engage in safe sunspot viewing, and see a collection of meteorites. There will be hands-on activities for all ages, information about how craters are formed on the moon, and a space sensory bin for kids.

May 9th and 14th events are free with museum admission. Planetarium shows are $3 for adults, $2 for children ages 3-17, and free for members. 413-263-6800, ext. 318. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.

Want to learn how to view on your own? Lucie Green describes what will happen when Mercury transits the face of the Sun, and how to observe it safely.


Related Posts:

Observance of Earth Hour Supports Climate Studies and Sense of Place

Observance of Earth Hour Supports Climate Studies and Sense of Place

Since 2007, hundreds of millions of people worldwide have participated annually in a powerful and symbolic act of earth-centric solidarity. Earth Hour brings together citizens of all ages from around the world to shine a light on climate change and climate action – by turning off the lights!

Held annually in late March (so as to allow the sunset times in both of the earth’s hemispheres to overlap), Earth Hour asks participants to show their commitment to preserving the earth by switching off non-essential lighting for a full 60 minutes. While a single home with its lights switched off may not seem like much of a statement (in fact, it might just seem like nobody is home!), a neighborhood, town, or city filled with homes darkened for Earth Hour makes quite a statement and shows a collective desire for respectful, responsible, and sustainable use of the earth and its resources.  Read the rest of this entry »

Using Math to Map Constellations Deepens Sense of Place in the Universe

Using Math to Map Constellations Deepens Sense of Place in the Universe

Combining science, math, and even human history and culture, studies of stars and constellations is a community-based resource that’s accessible to everyone and a great nature-based way to integrate learning. Families can track changes in the night sky using basic math skills, and can deepen their sense of place within the universe by doing so.

In the first stanza  of John Lennon’s wonderful song, Imagine, he sings “above us only sky.” While it is certainly true that above us is sky, it may not be fair to say that it is “only” sky. Looking at what’s above us is an accessible way to spark sky-based learning that connects to the development of skills in math, science, and even history and culture! In examining the night sky specifically, families can gain a greater sense of place within the universe, and a deeper experience-based understanding of the movement of the earth in relation to the expansiveness of outer space.

So if it’s not only sky above us, what is all of it? For young observers of the night sky, the obvious focal point of studying the sky is stars – the brightly glowing burning balls that seem to be an absolutely impossible distance from earth. Learning to identify constellations can help budding astronomers begin to learn how to get their bearings while looking at the night sky, and integrating studies of constellations with mapmaking guided by the coordinate plane can create opportunities to engage in meaningful hands-on learning filled with lots of careful work and critical thought. Read the rest of this entry »

High Tech Planetarium Takes Us to the Stars

Williams College Host Planetarium Show this Fall

Williams College in Williamstown, MA, invites families to experience the wonders of our universe at their Milham Planetarium, located inside the Old Hopkins Observatory at Williams College. Astronomy students at the college will host free shows for the public on Friday evenings at 8pm, October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; November 6, 13, 20; and December 4, 2015

The Hopkins Observatory, built in 1836-38 by the first professor of astronomy at Williams College, Albert Hopkins, is the oldest extant observatory in the United States.

Audiences will be treated to shows from the high-precision Zeiss Skymaster ZKP3/B opto-mechanical planetarium projector, installed in April 2005.

The Zeiss Skymaster is capable of demonstrating phenomena including: retrograde motions of the planets, phases of the moon, the varying temperatures/colors of stars, locations of neighboring galaxies, the mythological figures and zodiacal signs ascribed to constellations, the southern hemisphere’s sky, comets, artificial satellites, and much more.

Fall 2015 shows will be hosted by Williams College students Rebecca Durst ’17, Sarah Stevenson ’17,  Brett Bidstrup ’17, and Glen Gallik ’18. Jay Pasachoff, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy, is the Director of the Hopkins Observatory.

The Hopkins Observatory, built in 1836-38 by the first professor of astronomy at Williams College, Albert Hopkins, is the oldest extant observatory in the United States. Shows will last about 50 minutes.

For reservations (recommended) contact Michele Rech at 413-597-2188 or email mcr4@williams.edu. Others will be admitted as space permits. Large groups should call for special appointments.

The Hopkins Observatory is on a small hill on the south side of Main Street east of Spring Street in Williamstown and just east of Lawrence Hall Drive, on which planetarium patrons share parking with the Williams College Museum of Art.  A campus map showing the Hopkins Observatory’s location can be found on the www.williams.edu/map or at 829 Main Street, Williamstown, Mass., in http://maps.google.com.

– Submitted by Noelle Lemoine


Community-Based Celebration of the Autumnal Equinox at the UMass Sunwheel

UMass Amherst Sunwheel and Sky-Watching Events Mark the Autumnal Equinox on September 23, 2015

The public is invited to witness sunrise and sunset associated with the autumnal equinox among the standing stones of the UMass Amherst Sunwheel on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015, at 6:45am, and 6pm. These Sunwheel events mark the astronomical change of seasons when days and nights are of nearly equal length in the Northern Hemisphere.

At the gatherings, which have attracted more than 10,000 visitors over the past 18 years, UMass Amherst astronomer Stephen Schneider will discuss the astronomical cause of the suns changing position during the hour-long gatherings. He will also explain the seasonal positions of Earth, the sun and moon, and answer questions in astronomy such as the definition of blue moon, supermoon, and why September 23 is celebrated despite the fact that September 17 is actually the shortest day of the year.  Read the rest of this entry »

Astronomy Resources for Budding Scientists

Astronomy Resources for Budding Scientists!

Being accessible to everyone, everywhere, at all times, the sky is the ultimate community-based educational resource! Using a wealth of resources from books to apps, citizen science to local planetariums, families can explore outer space together and learn experientially about the sky above us.

Studies of outer space can be intriguing to young minds – particularly due to their mysterious nature. In plain sight all day and all night, the sky is filled with fascinating things both big and bright that are impossible to touch and nearly impossible to experience (there aren’t a lot of job openings for astronauts these days).

In order to support young Earth-bound astronomers in their pursuit of learning about all things outer space, families can utilize online resources, books, and – best of all – numerous community-based learning opportunities and resources!

Read the rest of this entry »

Citizen Scientists Wanted to Map the Stars

Loss of the Night Citizen Science Project Maps the Night Sky and Levels of Sky Glow

What do you see when you look into the night sky above your home? Turn informal observations of celestial bodies into citizen science with Loss of the Night! Created by German researchers, Loss of the Night is designed to collect information about the amount of sky glow (also known as light pollution) present in populated areas all over the globe. An additional goal of the project is to help users learn more about the stars that they see above them and the seasonal changes that take place in the sky.

A byproduct of densely populated areas, sky glow occurs is the obstruction of night sky views by an excess of light produced on land (by and for humans). Not only does sky glow negatively affect studies of the night sky, but researchers suspect that it may also influence species of plants and animals whose cyclical growth and change relies on their relationship to seasonal changes and, therefore, the moon and stars.

In order to participate and learn, families must download the free Loss of the Night app for Android smart phones. The program determines the phone’s GPS location, and uses the information to generate information about the stars and planets visible above that part of the earth. Read the rest of this entry »

Western MA Planetariums and Online Resources for Space Studies

Resources for Supporting the Study of Space Science

Hubble's Panoramic View of a Turbulent Star-Making Region

If, after diving head-first into all things astronomical, your student is completely enamored with space studies, consider entering Astronomy magazine’s essay contest! The grand prize is a trip to the 2013 Northeast Astronomy Forum in Suffern, NY, where the winner will be able to meet important people in the field of astronomy, learn about space programs and discoveries, and more! The topic for the contest is, “What I love most about astronomy,” and essays should be 300-500 words. Hurry, though – submissions are due by February 15th! More info at www.astronomy.com.

Studies of outer space can be mysterious and intriguing to young minds and there are many resources to support a students interest in the study of space, both online and in Western MA.

ONLINE RESOURCES

The website StarChild offers a wealth of information and basic internet-based activities that help students build their understanding of outer space.  Beginning with our solar system and moving outward, the information is grouped into two levels based on degrees of difficulty and background information needed in order to understand concepts.  Students can guide themselves through each lesson, learning astronomical vocabulary and facts about the universe.  At the end of each section, there are a variety of activities to do, such as identifying planets while in orbit, matching facts to their corresponding stars and planets, and pairing planets with their many moons.

Another resource online is NASA’s Afterschool Universe, “an out-of-school-time astronomy program for middle school students that explores basic astronomy concepts through engaging hands-on activities and then takes participants on a journey through the Universe beyond the Solar System.”

If you are interested in the Afterschool Universe program, visit their website at universe.nasa.gov/afterschool and their Afterschool Universe YouTube channel for more demonstration videos.

WESTERN MA RESOURCES

To experience astronomical phenomena in real life, visit a local observatory or planetarium in Western MA!  The Milham Planetarium at Williams College in Berkshire County, the Seymour Planetarium at the Springfield Museums in Hampden County, and the Bassett Planetarium at Amherst College in Hampshire County all offer planetarium shows and other learning experiences to visitors.  For other events, resources, and community learning opportunities, the Five College Astronomy Program, Springfield Stars Club, Arunah Hill Natural Science Center in Cummington, and the Amherst Area Amateur Astronomer’s Association hold events, workshops, and other astronomy-related events for the community year-round.

[Photo credit: (ccl) NASA Goddard Space Flight Center]

A Weekend of Astronomy in the Hilltowns

The Moon and its Craters at
Arunah Hill Days in the Hilltowns

The Arunah Hill Natural Science Center in Cummington, MA will host a family-oriented weekend of astronomy, star gazing, nature walks, and science education on Labor Day weekend, Aug 31 – Sept 2, 2012. Several large telescopes will be available for nightly viewing of the moon, double stars, galaxies, star clusters, and other wonders of the Summer Milky Way. Experienced amateur astronomers will conduct nightly “planetarium show” under the real sky, using green lasers to orient and identify constellations for observers. — All events are free and open to the public.  Novice stargazers welcome. Evening talks are suitable for children 10 and older.  Saturday family activities begin at noon and are suitable for all ages.

Spend Labor Day weekend exploring and learning all about stars, constellations, and other out-of-this-world phenomenon. Arunah Hill Days in Cummington, MA offers a plethora of activities for families curious about astronomy (or just in search of a good adventure)! The event takes place between Friday, August 31st and Monday, September 3rd.

During the day on Saturday, Sept 1st starting at 12noon, families can participate in nature walks of the grounds at Arunah, try their hand at navigation during a GPS treasure hunt, and construct and launch their own miniature rockets!

Evening activities include guest speakers (best for older students) who will address a wide variety of topics – from the history of telescope making to the uniqueness of the planet Mercury – as well as a chance to view the sky through some of the many different types of telescopes offered for use by master stargazers, and families can even learn to locate and identify stars and constellations. Detailed information on guest speakers is available here.

Each night following evening talks, there will be post-stargazing showings of hilarious (but terribly filmed) sci-fi movies during their “Really Bad SciFi Theater” screened in the pavilion. Limited camping is available for families who wish to sleep under the stars after learning about them! Read the rest of this entry »

Why the 2012 Perseid Meteor Shower is Super Special

Perseid Meteor Shower 2012

The Perseid meteor shower is underway. There’s more to see than meteors, however, when the shower peaks on August 11th through 13th. The brightest planets in the solar system are lining up in the middle of the display.  Check out this video from NASA for a great explanation as to why this year’s show is extra special:

Visit science.nasa.gov for more.

Source: NASA

Stargazing Atop Mt. Greylock

Stargazing in the Berkshires

Kids who have background knowledge in astronomy can look for constellations, stars, planets, etc. to identify themselves, or learn to locate and name new space objects!  Families can also bring along their own binoculars and/or telescopes to get assistance on using them to view the night sky.

See the stars up close!  On Saturday, August 11th beginning at 8pm, atop the summit of Mt. Greylock in Adams, MA, the Amherst Area Amateur Astronomers Association (the 5A’s) will share a variety of telescopes with families interested in learning about the sky above them.

As a result of the mountain’s location – with its low horizons and lack of light pollution – the summit is a perfect place for stargazing.  The 5A’s will have telescopes on hand whose lenses range in size from three to twenty inches, the largest of which are nearly eight feet tall!

Kids who have background knowledge in astronomy can look for constellations, stars, planets, etc. to identify themselves, or learn to locate and name new space objects!  Families can also bring along their own binoculars and/or telescopes to get assistance on using them to view the night sky.

Stargazing is not only a fun activity – it also can be a valuable learning opportunity!  Older students can tie studies of astronomy to principles of math, physics, and chemistry, while younger students can learn about our solar system and celestial landmarks, cultural significance of constellations and the zodiac, and the history of space travel.  The event will be cancelled if there is rain or cloud cover.  For more information call the Mt. Greylock Visitor Center at 413-499-4262. There will be another stargazing opportunity at Mt. Greylock on  Saturday, September 22nd at 8pm.

Families can also go stargazing at Notchview in Windsor, MA with the Trustees of Reservations and representatives from Arunah Hill Natural Science Center, same night beginning at dusk  Kids of all ages can gaze through telescopes and learn to identify planets, stars, etc.  Rain date: Aug 12.  413-532-1631.  Old Route 9.

All events are free.

[Photo credi: (ccl) makelessnoise]

Catch a Falling Star!

Family-Science Hunt for Micrometeorites

Scientists estimate that about 22,000 tons of micrometeorite materials fall to the Earth every year. Most falls in the ocean, but some falls on land, and much of it ends up in our rivers. Our New England rivers (especially the Connecticut, New England’s longest) have collected, funneled, and preserved tons of micrometeorites over the years, and they’re just waiting for you to come find them and take them home!

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket… for real!

Falling stars, also known as micrometeorites, fall to Earth quite frequently (over 22,000 tons worth yearly!).

On Saturday, October 8th from 10:30am-2pm, families can learn how to find their own shooting star at the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls!  HCC geology instructor Steve Winters will be on hand to teach families about the best places to find micrometeorites and how to sift through sand to find the small, shiny beads!

This is a great way to spark interest in astronomy and geology in young students, and is an opportunity to develop skills and interests together as a family- and it’s a free event. For more information, visit www.greatfallsma.org or call 413-863-367 .


[Photo credit: (ccl) Brian Gudzevich]

Public Night Sky-Gazing at the Springfield Science Museum on May 7th, 2010

Stars Over Springfield at the Springfield Science Museum

Rooftop telescope at the Springfield Science Museum.

The Springfield Science Museum’s large rooftop telescope will be open for public sky-gazing on Friday, May 7th, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. The program will be held rain or shine. If it is overcast, a planetarium show will be presented in place of telescope viewing.

Christopher Lyons, museum astronomy educator, will present “The Life Cycle of Stars.” Stars, like humans, are born, live their lives as adults, and go through major changes as they grow old and finally die. But they do this over a life-span of millions and billions of years. Lyons will explain the out-of-this-world stages and processes of a star’s life.

After the presentation, participants can use the museum telescope to view sights in the night sky, which may include objects such as the moon, a planet, star clusters, a nebula or a galaxy, depending on their visibility. Springfield Stars Club members also set up telescopes outside the museum, weather permitting.

The programs are best suited for families with children ages 8 and older, however younger children are also welcome. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children 17 and under.

The Springfield Science Museum is located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street, off Chestnut Street. Free parking is available in the Edwards Street lots. For information about astronomy programs at the museum, call 413-263-6800, ext. 318.

HFVS Astronomy Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Listen to Podcast:

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW
Astronomy Episode

WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA
Tuesday evening @ 7pm

04/08/08 PLAYLIST

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  • Parker Bent – “Spaceman Steve/Farewell” [Charlie Davidson’s Tricycle Club]
  • Ernie & Neal – “Pluto” [Rock the House]
  • Bill Harley – “Milky Way” [Down in the Backpack]
  • Daddy A Go-Go – “Guitars from Mars” [Big Rock Rooster]
  • Rebecca Frezza – “Space Dog” [Road Trip]
  • Justin Roberts – “Backyard Spaceship” [Way Out]
  • Buckwheat Zydeco – “Space Zydeco” [On a Night Like This]
  • Mr. David – “The Stars are Grains of Sugar” [Jump in the Jumpy House]
  • Milkshake – “Space Song” [Bottle of Sunshine]
  • Rocknocerous – “Pluto” [Dark Side of the Moon Bounce]
  • The Sippy Cups – “I Am a Robot” [Electric Storyland”
  • The B-52’s – “Planet Claire” [The B-52’s]

Interplanet Janet

Remember Interplanet Janet, a School House Rock video that aired in the 70’s between Saturday morning cartoons; back before Pluto was declassified as a planet?

What is Pluto?

My daughter asked what is Pluto now that it is no longer classified as a planet. I did a little poking around and discovered that it’s now considered to be a dwarf planet.

International Astronomy Week

We’ve included a few astronomy links we’ve previously featured in our “Links We Recommend” column on the lower left-hand side of our web site. If you have any other to suggest, please post them below in our comment box.

Photo Credit: (ccl) Olivier

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