Programs & Events at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
Super Stellar Fridays
On the 1st Friday of the month, from October through May, enjoy an evening of astronomy with Discovery Center educators and special guest speakers. Topics vary, covering new discoveries, historical events, scientific concepts and more. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Our evening's feature presentation begins at 7 PM, followed by an optional Tonight's Sky planetarium show. Recommended for ages 8+. Our all-inclusive price for Super-Stellar Fridays: Free for members, $11.50/Adults, $10.50/Seniors & Students, $8.50/Children; children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
If the skies are clear, not only will our observatory be open, but members of the NH Astronomical Society will be out on the Discovery Center's southside front lawn, ready to provide a FREE skywatch. Gaze through their telescopes - or your own - at the wonders of the night sky. The skywatch begins at dusk during daylight savings time or 7 PM during standard time.
March 2, 2018: The Life & Times of Sir William Herschel
Sir William Herschel visits the Discovery Center, as re-enacted by Discovery Center Educator, R.P. Hale, in this multi-media presentation of his life and times, using visual imagery, harpsichord and dulcimer. A few of Herschel's accomplishments included the discovery the planet Uranus and several moons of Saturn, infrared radiation, and the nature of our own Galaxy as an "island universe." With his sister Caroline, the first professional woman astronomer, he built the world's then largest telescope and found that the Sun orbits within our Galaxy. His music was admired by Mozart, and Haydn's "Creation Symphony" was inspired by his own observation through Herschel's Great Telescope. Mr. Hale will perform music written by Herschel on period instruments, and he will begin the evening by presenting an 18th-century version of "Tonight's Sky."
April 6, 2018: The New Moon
Dr. Andrew Jordan (Research Scientist at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at UNH) is part of the team operating NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO. He will explain how LRO has transformed our view of the Moon and how UNH's instrument on LRO--the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER)--has revealed how the Moon interacts with its environment.
2018 Alex Higgins Memorial Space Camp Scholarship
Train to be an astronaut, an airplane pilot or a robotics engineer in a five-day immersive, intensive educational, and FUN camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center! Since 2001, 53 New Hampshire children and teens have traveled to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL, for a week of simulated astronaut or pilot training, thanks to the Alex Higgins Memorial Space Camp Scholarship. Three more will get to go in 2018! Apply now! This scholarship is open to New Hampshire residents age 9-18. See the application for more details.
Summer STEM Day Camps
Does your child or teen love space? Our seven Summer STEM Day Camps offer a full week of exciting hands-on science and engineering adventures for kids ages 5 - 14, from June 25 through August 10.
June 25 – June 29 Destination: Earth (ages 10-14)
July 9 – July 13 Coding, and Programming, and Robots… Oh Yes! (ages 10-14)
July 16 – July 20 Junior Flyers on Earth and Beyond! (ages 5-7)
July 23 – July 27 Engineering Expedition (ages 10-14)
July 30 – August 3 Astronomy 101 (ages 8-12)
August 6 – August 10 Blast off! (ages 8-12)
For more information, check out our STEM Summer Day Camps Page.
Can't come to us? We can come to you!
We will adjust the content of any of our programs to suit your students' grade level. The programs actively involve your students in exciting, enjoyable learning experiences. Some involve hands-on activities for every student. Others utilize volunteers from the audience. We will be happy to answer questions after each show. Name a topic in space science and we'll deliver a program to your students in a fun and educational way! Learn more about all the outreach possibilities.
Juniors - "Get Moving!" Journey Workshop - learn about energy use and light pollution.
A 2-hour workshop can be tailored for all Girl Scout pathways to help complete new badges and journeys in the “Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting” and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Topics currently include Telescopes 101 and Living and Working in Space, but we are developing more, Workshop includes a planetarium show and hands-on activities.
- Astronomy Merit Badge
- Aviation Merit Badge
- Space Exploration Merit Badge
We can also help with Cub Scouting! Please call and we will help set up the perfect workshop for your troop.
Homeschool workshops are offered October through May on the second Thursday of the month from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM. You are welcome to enroll in individual sessions, by the term (Term 1: October, November, December; Term 2: January, February; Term 3: March, April, May), or for the entire series. Payment is required in order to reserve a spot. Homeschool workshops are offered at three levels: Level 1 (Grades 1-3); Level 2 (Grades 4-6); and Level 3 (Grades 7-8). An optional planetarium show will be offered at the conclusion of each program, for an additional $5 per person. Contact Elizabeth Pappas to register at email@example.com or (603) 271-7827 x104. The deadline to register is 24 hours before the program.
Our focus for the 2017-18 Academic Year will be on Solar System Exploration, with a focus on our system's planets and moons and the space missions that have enabled us to learn about our 'neighbors in space'.
February 8, 2018: 2040: Manned Missions to Mars
NASA has set its sight on Mars—aiming to put astronaut boots on the ground in the early 2040s. But, the trip to Mars is going to take years of planning and also the development of new systems.
Optional planetarium show: Ice Worlds
March 8, 2018: Exploring the Outer Solar System
Our understanding of objects in the outer Solar System has expanded with missions to Jupiter, Pluto—and even a comet. Learn what missions like New Horizons, Juno, and Philae missions taught us and what tools are on-board space probes. How do we get all that information back? Join us to find out!
Optional planetarium show: Family of the Sun, part 2
April 12, 2018: Peering out into the Universe
We’ve learned all about our solar system, but what’s outside of it? How do we study stars? How does our star compare to others? What tools do we use to study these stars? What is in our galaxy? The universe? How do we study it? Learn what scientists are currently doing to better understand the universe and our place in it.
Optional planetarium show: From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA
May 10, 2018: Careers in Space
Becoming an astronaut is not the only path to a truly stellar career! This final session will explore the many different ways you can contribute to our understanding of space. Guest speakers from local industries and universities will share how they reached for the stars and landed in their jobs.
Optional planetarium show: Space School
$15 per student; $10 for each additional student from the same immediate family.
Parent educators accompanying students in the workshops are free.
Planetarium show following each workshop: $5 per person, free for children ages 0-2
Please note: While they are welcome in the planetarium shows following the workshops, we are unable to accommodate younger siblings in the workshops. We delight in having babies and toddlers visit the Discovery Center, but find that they are distracting to the students and instructors in our intensive 90-minute homeschool workshops. The Discovery Center is not open for visits on Thursdays so exhibits will not be on; but parents who are not joining their children in the workshops are welcome to find a comfy spot in our galleries to play with their younger children, read or use our free WiFi.