“Welcome to the Arlington Planetarium,” said Maria Dittrich, one of the Friends of the David M. Brown Arlington Planetarium opening up the Friends’ first weekend of programming first event for 2014-15 school year. “After tonight’s shows, I hope to see you back for tomorrow’s events. In addition to our full-dome shows, we’re going to have activities outside. We’re going to make rockets, we’ll have a demonstration of making ice cream with nitrogen, and we’ll even have an appearance by Sir Isaac Newton,” she continued.
The title of the Friends’ initial weekend was, “The Friends Fantastic Fall Fundraising Festival” which spanned from Sep. 19-21. The weekend started on Sep. 21 with showings of the full domed shows Marquest narrated by Patrick Stewart, and Oasis in Space.
On Sep. 22, the Friends’ featured a host of activities outside of the planetarium prior the full dome shows. There was live music courtesy of the Yorktown Yahoos, a demonstration of nitrogen ice cream making followed by an opportunity to taste the results, and finally a demonstration of how to make “child-safe rockets.” Lastly patrons were able to interact with and ask questions of Sir Isaac Newton, founder of the Law Relativity, portrayed by Friends’ board member and Physics teacher Dean Howarth.
Saturday’s full dome shows were Black Holes: the Other Side of Infinity narrated by Liam Neeson, and The Exploding Universe. Following the shows, the attendees also had the opportunity to stargaze and look at outer space through telescopes available outside of the planetarium.
On Sep. 21, there was a screening of Stars: The Powerhouses of the Universe and the Magic Treehouse Space Mission.
The Friends will host events at the David M. Brown Arlington Planetarium one weekend out of every month for the calendar school year which are geared towards all ages, but particularly towards getting young people interested in STEM careers and fields. Each weekend will have a theme which will focus on an area of the world of Astronomy, Astrophysics or another area of STEM. Many of the weekends will feature guest speakers who are on the forefront of the worlds of Astronomy and Astrophysics whether it be through a research or engineering capacity or astronauts who have participated in actual space missions.
Founded in 2010, the Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that raises funds to make the Planetarium even better, and to enhance science education in Arlington County. The Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium has an all-volunteer Board of Directors and Advisory Council. For more information about Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium, please visit www.friendsoftheplanetarium.org.