Acadia Night Sky Festival Events at the Jesup

Join the Jesup Memorial Library for a series of talks and programs during the Acadia Night Sky Festival.

First, on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m., join Dr. Scott J. Kenyon, an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, for “Pluto Strikes Back.” Kenyon will show images from the New Horizons flyby of the Pluto-Charon binary planet and will discuss how these results help us understand how all planets form. Kenyon uses observations and numerical simulations to study the formation of stars and planetary systems.

Then on Sunday, Sept. 9, there are a series of programs at the library beginning at 9 a.m.

At 9 a.m., join Northern Stars Planetarium in their inflatable planetarium for “Our Family in the Sky.” In this show, which is suitable for kids in kindergarten through second grade, Mr. Sun guides children through a tour of the Solar System. Learn about planets, comets, asteroids, the Moon, and a constellation. Then at 10:30 a.m. kids in grades three through eight can enjoy “Exploring our Solar System.” Learn more about planets and “dwarf planets,” both as seen in the night sky and as visited by space probes. While both of these programs are geared towards children they are suitable for all ages. Both programs are limited to 55 participants and there is no admittance once the show begins.

At 1 p.m. Wally Funk will talk about her time as one of the “Mercury 13” and how she keeps her dream of space travel alive. The “Mercury 13” were a group of 13 women who underwent the same physiological screening tests as the astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959 for Project Mercury. However, none of these women went into space. Funk was the first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, the first civilian flight instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and the first Federal Aviation Agency inspector. After the Mercury 13 program was canceled, she became a Goodwill Ambassador, flying over 80,000 miles throughout the world. She was the first woman to finish the FAA General Aviation and has over 19,000 flight hours. She has taught more than 3,000 students how to fly. In 2012, she put money down to be one of the first people to fly into space via Virgin Galactic.

Then at 2:30 p.m. join Bob Veilleux as he talks about meteorites. Vielleux will have numerous meteorites on hand that you can see, hold and talk about. He also encourages attendees to bring along any suspected meteorites to have them verified. Vielleux has been an amateur astronomer and photographer of the night sky for over thirty years and some of his pictures of the Northern Lights were published in both Astronomy and Sky & Telescope. He and his wife were Campground Hosts at Chaco Canyon National Historical Park in New Mexico, where he presented night sky programs at the Chaco Canyon Observatory. Vielleux has been an avid meteorite collector for many years and has a collection of over 350 meteorites from all over the Earth, as well as a few small samples from both Mars and the Moon.

Finally, at 3:45 p.m., join Astronomy Volunteer in the Park Jon Thomas, for “Beyond Hubble.” Soon after the Hubble Space Telescope became operational in 1994, astronomers began planning its successor. Now known as the James Webb Space Telescope, it will be larger and have instruments that are sensitive to longer wavelengths. The Webb Telescope will search for the first stars and galaxies in the very early universe and investigate the potential for life. This talk will discuss the key components of the Webb Telescope, the reason for its unique location in space and some of its major scientific goals.