UCF will host a free Moon Observation Night for children and their families on Saturday, Nov. 1, at the main campus.
From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., observers will have an opportunity to view the moon through several telescopes set up at Knights Plaza near the CFE Arena. Students and professors associated with UCF’s Planetary Sciences Group will be on hand to help viewers decipher the many lunar features they will see through the lens.
There also will be activities geared toward children: star charts, meteorites, demonstrations and other activities, such as “Find the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites on the Moon,” playing off the popular “Where’s Waldo?“ books.
The goal is to share the wonder of astronomy with youngsters and potentially inspire a new generation of space explorers with physics degrees.
“We’re very excited,” said Yan Fernandez, director of the UCF Robinson Observatory and an associate professor of astronomy and physics. “A lot of us remember looking at the night sky through telescopes as children and being in awe of the things we saw, like the moon, our nearest neighbor. We want to make sure children in Central Florida have that same opportunity.”
A similar event last year drew more than 100 people. An observation night was scheduled last month, but rain forced the volunteers to cancel the event.
“Because it gets darker earlier now, we hope to see people who might otherwise would not have been able to visit in September, when the sun sets later, closer to kids’ bedtimes,” Fernandez said. “And the cooler weather should make for crisper views through the telescope.”
The event is free but parking fees apply. To get live updates, especially if the weather is questionable, look for the UCF Robinson Observatory on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UCFObservatory.