Astronomy Day at the California Academy of Sciences

Looking for something fun, outside your normal weekend routine, and even educational?

Check out Astronomy Day at the California Academy of Sciences | calendar.calacademy.org.

jupiter-nasa-2007Yes, this is a shameless plug for an institution I’ve loved and supported for years.

For the first time ever, I made it to their annual Gala celebration last night. It was a massive party – drinks, DJ’s, food, live music, performances, and a lot of tipsy people – to celebrate the institution as well as the Big Money sponsors which help to keep the museum open and research continuing.

Yes, if you didn’t know it, the primary goal of the museum is research. Teaching the public about the natural world is second to that and helps both to fund it and to create excitement for volunteers and new generations of scientists and science-lovers.

Granted, the Gala had me out of my element. Few people were interested in looking at the exhibits and learning about the world. Most – after paying a C-note per ticket – wanted to get their money’s worth in booze (most bar lines averaging 30 minutes or more!), food, and flirting.

Unlike the weekly NightLife events, there were not any theme tables, the rainforest and African Hall were closed, as was the touch tidepool. Also unlike that, most people seemed to be in larger mixed groups rather than pairs or groups of singles.

But just like NightLife, they were out for a good time and science came second – for most.

astronomy-phases-of-the-moon-french-19th-CBut you could find the die hard true blue geeks wandering the aquarium, staring longingly into the Phillipine coral reef tank, or braving the chilly night for some peace on the living roof and to take a peek at the moon and Jupiter through telescopes.

And those telescopes will be back on the roof tomorrow, along with sun-spotters and possibly more, plus talks with real scientists (April 20th: Dr. Gregory T. Delory of UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory will discuss his work with NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE)), updates on the Mars rover‘s expedition, planetarium history, and much more to celebrate ASTRONOMY DAY.

If you’re a lover of the cosmos or just looking for something new to do, it’s worth checking out.

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