Many of you are probably familiar with the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) and its spectacular location in the Berkeley hills. During the day, the LHS provides a delightful scientific treat topped with a cherry-perfect view of the Bay Area. At night, however, that spectacular view takes on a new character: the city lights twinkle below, an earthly reflection of the domed star-sprinkled sky above. The view is, in a word, inspiring.
That view is exactly what inspired the free public stargazing nights that the LHS runs on the 1st and 3rd Saturday nights of each month, year-round. Stargazing hours are 9-11 pm from April 1 to September 14 and from 8-10 pm from September 15 to March 31. When these evenings are clear, amateur astronomers run guided night sky tours of the universe through telescopes. Star charts are also provided so that visitors can learn how to navigate the constellations on their own.
The LHS Stargazing program also maintains an educational Twitter page with new astronomy-related feed posted daily. The page currently follows 87 other science-related Twitter feeds, too, just in case you really feel like geeking out!
So take the kids, take your Saturday night date, or take your friends, just don’t forget to take your coat—the evening Bay Area winds can be especially chilly up in the hills! I also suggest bringing a thermos of hot cocoa with mini marshmallows and your own binoculars, if you have them. Ask the astronomers on hand to show you a few binary star systems and you’ll realize you don’t even need a telescope to explore on your own.
P.S. Are Saturday nights too chilly for you? Then learn about the universe indoors at the LHS’s new 45-seat planetarium with audience-participation programs presented on weekends all year and on most holidays. There are also daily programs presented during the summer and selected weeks in the winter and spring. Tickets are $4 at the Front Information Desk. You can even book the planetarium for your next birthday party!