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Astro 2012 Press Release

posted Mar 11, 2012, 7:54 AM by Anthony Pisano   [ updated Mar 11, 2012, 7:55 AM ]

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2012


Contact:       Sue Simek, Public Relations Manager
Morris Museum


Morris Museum Astro Day
Reaches for the Stars
Saturday March 24, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.


(Morristown, NJ)— On Saturday, March 24, 2012, the Morris Museum and The Morris Museum Astronomical Society (MMAS) will host a fun-filled family event that will take you out of this world!  Astronomy programs, children’s activities, solar observing and planetarium shows will be scheduled throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with night sky observing of the moon, planets and other celestial objects (weather permitting) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Experts from the MMAS will be on hand to provide lectures, telescope training (bring your family’s telescope), solar observation and night sky observing. Museum educators will lead children’s activities throughout the day. (Details on all programs below).

All Astro Day activities are included with general museum admission ($7 for children, $10 for adults), except for planetarium shows which are $2 per person.

Solar Observation: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Night Sky Observation: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. (weather permitting)

Children’s Activities
Throughout the day children can explore astronomy with activities including:
- Making a unique key chain with UV beads that change color in the sun
- Creating an interplanetary travel poster
- Designing an alien
- Learning about chromatography with the blues and greens of Planet Earth

Planetarium Shows at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. $2 per person

Astronomy Talks:

11:00-11:45 a.m. Eclipses
Paul Blass, Morris Museum Astronomical Society member, will discuss the scientific importance of eclipses. Why, where, and when do eclipses occur, and how are they predicted in advance?

12:00 -12:45 p.m. “Alien Worlds?”
While we once believed the sun was the only star with planets, today we know of hundreds. Is Earth the only planet where life exists? John Scala, Planetarium Director at Lenape Valley Regional High School in Stanhope, NJ will lead a discussion on these newfound worlds, and examine our chances of really being alone in the Universe.

1:00–1:45 p.m. “The End of the World, But Don’t Lose Any Sleep Over It!”
According to the Mayan calendar, December 21, 2012 marks the end of a 5,000 year era. Some are calling this the ‘end of days’. Hear an enlightening talk on the subject by Al Witzgall, longtime member of Amateur Astronomer’s Incorporated in Cranford, NJ, who will consider the science behind this subject.

2:00–2:45 p.m. Solar System Tour – 3D
Get a close-up view of the major planets and their moons in this 3D tour, created using actual images from NASA/ESA missions and flybys. Presentation by MMAS member Krishnadas Kootale.

3:00 – 3:45 p.m. “Asteroid Impact”

Joe Molnar, Morris Museum Astronomical Society member will be speaking on the history of asteroid impacts on the Moon and the Earth

4:00 – 4:45 p.m. “How Telescopes Work”  Presented by MMAS member Joe Molnar will give an inside look at the optical workings of telescopes using lenses and mirrors. 

For more information about Astronomy Day, please email or call 973.971.3718.

About the Morris Museum

The Morris Museum is an award-winning, community-based arts and cultural institution which serves the public through the presentation of high caliber permanent and changing exhibitions in the arts, sciences and humanities.  The Museum also offers educational programs, family events, and is home to the Bickford Theatre and its wide range of performing arts offerings. Continuously serving the public since 1913, the Morris Museum has been designated a Major Arts Institution and has received the New Jersey State Council on the Arts’ Citation of Excellence, among other awards. In 2013 the museum will celebrate its Centennial Anniversary.  These programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; the F.M. Kirby Foundation and the New Jersey Cultural Trust.

The Museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road (at the corner of Columbia Turnpike) in Morristown, NJ, and is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults and $7 for children, students and senior citizens. Admission is always free for museum members and is free to the public every Thursday between 5 and 8 p.m. For more information, call 973-971-3700, or visit or

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