MONTGOMERY - Local families can experience the W.A. Gayle Planetarium's new digital projection system and take a closer look at the night sky during the annual Astronomy Day celebration on Saturday, May 10.
The event is held in partnership with the Auburn Astronomical Society and is designed to introduce families to the fun of astronomy.
This is a "rain or shine" event, and admission is free and open to the public. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own telescopes or binoculars as well.
Starting at 5 p.m., members of the Auburn Astronomical Society will conduct a "Telescope Clinic" in which guests can bring malfunctioning or disassembled telescopes for repair. Early visitors will also be able to view the moon and sun through PST solar scopes.
At 6 p.m., guest presenter Ethel Boykin of the Montgomery Botanical Gardens will give an overview of the plans for the botanical gardens in Oak Park.
At 7 p.m., Planetarium Director Rick Evans will take visitors on a "Tour of the Night Sky" using the planetarium's new full-dome digital projection system. Unveiled in March, the upgraded projection system is controlled by computer, with the images of stars and planets emanating from a single projector in the center of the dome, giving viewers the visual experience of zooming in and out of galaxies and planets, circling a planet or traveling through the universe.
In addition to a tour of the solar system, visitors will view two new planetarium programs, "Losing the Dark" and "Two Pieces of Glass."
After sunset, visitors will step outside for a telescopic viewing of the night sky led by the Auburn Astronomical Society with a chance to observe Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter.
The W.A. Gayle Planetarium is located in Oak Park, across from Jackson Hospital and is operated by Troy University for the City of Montgomery. Opened in 1969, it is one of the largest planetariums between Atlanta and New Orleans.
For more information, call (334) 241-4799, or visit the W.A. Gayle Planetarium on Facebook.