Programs & Events at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
On Monday, August 21, please join the Discovery Center and NH Science Teachers Association for a full-day celebration of the Great American Eclipse!
[Please note: We are sold out of eclipse glasses. We will have some on hand for our visitors to share outside on August 21, but we will not be selling them. Our usual admission and planetarium show prices apply - no extra charge for all the eclipse activities! No reservations required for admission to the Discovery Center. Parking is free; if we run out of parking spots, our neighbor NHTI, Concord's Community College, has generously offered to let our patrons park in any of their regular parking spots; please do not park in any reserved spots, and honor the rules for handicapped parking, thanks!]
10:30 AM - 4 PM
Solar-related stations in our Exhibit Galleries with varying activities throughout the day for children & families.
Activities include: Make a pin-hole camera; tour the observatory - weather permitting - to see sunspots and solar flares through our telescopes; solar and eclipse-themed crafts; meet and greet NH Science Teachers Association members; eclipse simulations; experiments with infrared and ultraviolet; spectroscopy; sundials)
Gallery Talk by WMUR Meteorologist Kevin Skarupa: The Nature and Impacts of the Sun
Planetarium Show: The Little Star that Could
NASA Total Eclipse Livestream shown in our Exhibit Galleries
Planetarium Show: Sunstruck - with added info on the eclipse
Gallery Talk with Dr. Art Hammon of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (ret.) and the NH Science Teachers Association: Solar Science and the Interior of Stars
Planetarium Show: Special Eclipse Version of Tonight's Sky
1:27 - 3:57 PM
The Eclipse! Gather outside to watch the partial solar eclipse, guided by educators from the Discovery Center & NH Science Teachers Association - pending clear skies, of course.
We'll watch the Moon slowly block ("eclipse") more and more of our view of the Sun, until we reach the peak of the partial eclipse at 2:45 PM, when a full 62% of the Sun will disappear from view here in NH. Then we'll watch the Sun slowly reappear.
It will be beautiful - BUT REMEMBER to use eclipse glasses to look at the Sun, it is dangerous to view the Sun with the naked eye or even through regular sunglasses. As of Wednesday morning, August 16, the Discovery Center's Science Store has sold out of eclipse glasses; we have no more expected shipments. At our August 21 event, we will have educators guiding our view of the eclipse, with eclipse glasses on hand for Discovery Center visitors to share (but not purchase)!
Gallery Talk with Andrew DiGiovanni of the NH Science Teachers Association:
A Space Bird's Eye View of the Sun-Earth-Moon System
There will be no 2 PM planetarium show
Gallery Live Remote Discussion with Mt. Washington Observatory Weather Observer Tom Padham: A View from the Top - How the crew and visitors to NH's highest peak are celebrating the eclipse, with a virtual tour of the observatory
Planetarium Show: Take Flight
All of the above activities will take place rain or shine, except: If the skies cloud over, we will not be able to watch the eclipse outside or observe the sun through the telescopes in our observatory. So cross your fingers for a sunny day on Monday, August 21, as we get to witness this rare, beautiful and exciting celestial event!
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. 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.
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 26 through August 11. Check out our summer camp page for details!
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 Tonight's Sky planetarium show begins at 7 PM, with the evening's feature presentation starting at 8:15. Recommended for ages 8+. During the summer months, on the 1st Fridays of June, July, August and September, we switch from serious science to classic sci-fi, with vintage creature features beginning at 7 p.m. Our all-inclusive price for Super-Stellar Fridays: Free for members, $10/Adults, $9/Seniors & Students, $7/Children; children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
If the skies are clear, 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.
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.
Homeschool workshops are offered October through May on the second Thursday of the month from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM. You are welcome to just participate in individual sessions or to enroll for the entire series. 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.
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'.
$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.