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Highland Road Park Observatory

15th Annual


15 May 2021 Schedule


3:00 pm to 7:00 pm = CELESTIAL PERIPHERIALS [various locations]

3:15 pm to 5:15 pm = VIEWING: Sun☉ [Front Viewing Pad]

Our parent star (in the constellation Taurus♉ at this time) is put into focus. For the past few months activity—sunspots and flares—has been increasing, with the most amazing clusters and hedgerows popping up at suprising times. Utilizing a solar telescope we’ll show you an amazing view of the Sun☉ in hydrogen-alpha light. Any sizable flares or prominences occurring at this time will be easily seen! Distance, ~151.2 million kilometers.

3:15 pm to 6:15 pm = SOARR PEGASUS VEHICLE [Southern Treeline]

A brand-new exhibit for IAD!! Air rocket launcher, stomp rockets, recorded audio from the Apollo programs and potentially live audio from the ISS radio frequencies!

3:15 pm to 7:15 pm = RIDING THE RADIO WAVES [under Radio Dish]

The Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club will be on hand teaching how to send one’s name in Morse code, and introducing visitors to the joys of broadcasting over those bands set aside just for “hams.”

3:30 pm to 5:30 pm = RENAISSANCE SUNDIAL [Back Viewing Pad]

We unveil an astounding object that is both scientific timekeeper and work of art-an amazing helical body that reflects a beam of sunlight onto the correct time notch. Feel free to return to it periodically and compare it with your “modern” timepiece. You’ll be surprised by its accuracy.

4:15 pm to 7:15 pm = TRAIN LIKE AN ASTRONAUT [Southern Treeline]

This ground span comprises six fun heart-racing challenges: Crew Strength Training, Do a Spacewalk!, Jump for the Moon, Peake Liftoff!, Agility Astro-Course and The Speed of Light.

4:30 pm to 8:30 pm = ADVENTURE QUEST [instructions and form at Information Table]

The frantic search game is always an IAD favorite. Gather the points to get the prizes—but should you redeem for small prizes as soon as possible, or get more points for higher level prizes? Will someone get the big prizes before you?

4:45 pm to 8:45 pm = VIEWING: Moon [Front Viewing Pad]

During this time our closest celestial companion will be in its waxing crescent phase—illuminated in Gemini♊, just west of the rising Beehive Cluster! Personal binoculars recommended. Distance ~395,000 kilometers.

5:30 pm to 6:00 pm = WARNING—COMET☄ APPROACHING! [Main Floor]

The alert has been sounded! The raw materials of a “dirty snowball” makes one come to life!

6:15 pm to 7:45 pm = SPACE FACES [near Pavilion]

Decorate your face with one of the planets, a comet☄, a galaxy or the Sun☉ or Moon!

6:15 pm to 8:15 pm = MAGNIFICENT MAGNIFICATION [Main Floor]

The Scope-on-a-Rope is in action at this time for visitors to bring small objects—within reason!—to magnify.

8:15 pm to 8:45 pm = FIRE TORNADO [Back Viewing Pad]

A first-time demonstration that is perfect for twilight. BREC Center Supervisor Jordan Cobbs will explain the science behind the tower of spinning fire that’s generated.

8:15 pm to 9:45 pm = PHYSICAL SCIENCE DEMOS [Main Floor]

A half-dozen stunning demonstrations illustrating a variety of universal science concepts will be indoors for interaction.

8:30 pm to 9:00 pm = TWILIGHT SKY TOUR [Back Viewing Pad]

The Big Dipper, Arcturus and Spica…Sirius, Gemini♊ and Leo♌. The denizens of the mid-spring sky appeal to young and old, and you may learn more about them than you thought you could!

8:55 pm to 9:05 pm = VISIBLE PASS: H-IIA 202 ROCKET BODY [Back Viewing Pad]

Rocket bodies have extended lives in orbit around the Earth♁. We can’t tell you when this one will reenter the atmosphere, but at least we can show you at it says hi! {Predicted magnitude 0.6}.

8:45 pm to 10:15 pm = VIEWING: MARS♂ [West Treeline]

The Red Planet is slipping behind the Sun☉, not to be seen again until Halloween. Join us for this last programmed Martian viewing.

9:00 pm to 11:00 pm = VIEWING: BEEHIVE CLUSTER [Front Viewing Pad]

This majestic open cluster is of about 1000 Sun☉-like and other stars. Many of these stars can be seen from Baton Rouge. Personal binoculars recommended. Distance 577 light-years. Magnitude: 4.0.

9:10 pm to 9:20 pm = VISIBLE PASSES: INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION [Back Viewing Pad]

Human beings have been living and working at this orbiting base since the year 2000! Tonight, we wave hello to some of those brave men and women as we see the ISS soar through the Baton Rouge sky. {Predicted magnitude -2.2}.

9:35 pm to 9:45 pm = VISIBLE PASSES: CHANG ZHENG 2C ROCKET BODY [Back Viewing Pad]

A very reliable launch vehicle for China. There are several in low-Earth♁ orbit and we’ll see one before it enters the Earth♁’s shadow! {Predicted magnitude 1.5}.

9:45 pm to 10:00 pm = VIEWING: COMA BERENICES [Back Viewing Pad]

A 10x binocular and a Sky Window will be used to show a picture-perfect view of the cascading beauty known as Coma Berenices.

10:00 pm to 10:30 pm = EVENING SKY TOUR [Back Viewing Pad]

With just your unaided eyes you’ll be able to follow the lead of BREC Education Program Specialist Amy Northrop as she guides you through a wonderland of celestial marvels.

10:30 pm to 11:00 pm = VIEWING: Omega Centauri [location to be revealed]

The legendary globular cluster is notoriously elusive from this latitude. It is IAD tradition to attempt a spotting from a savvy vantage point on the grounds, looking through the gaps in the trees. Believe us, it’s worth it! Distance—hold on to your seat—a whopping 18,000 light years. Personal binoculars strongly recommended.

All viewing is weather permitting.

Binocular checkout from HRPO front desk will be available at 7:30 pm, but there are a limited number. We strongly encourage visitors to bring binoculars.

Astronomy Day

Updated by Frederick J. Barnett on Friday, May 14, 2021, 04:05 PM.

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