Programs & Events at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
Super Stellar Fridays
On the 1st Friday of the month, 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.
February 1, 2019: To Pluto and Beyond
Dave McDonald was at New Horizons’ mission control for the flyby and the immediate science received back on Earth the day after New Horizons encountered Ultima Thule. Explore the first contact binary, the furthest solar system object ever close-encountered by a spacecraft, the technical achievements of this mission, the future of the mission, and some of the scientists involved with the mission – including Queen Guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May - as Dave McDonald unveils secrets that have been preserved for 4.5 billion years. The New Horizons Mission launched on January 19, 2006; flew by Pluto July 14, 2015 at 3 billion miles from Earth; and just flew by Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) January 1, 2019 - at over 4 billion miles from Earth!
2019 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, 56 New Hampshire children and teens have traveled to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center 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 2019! This scholarship is open to New Hampshire residents age 9-18. Applications for the 2019 round of space camp scholarships are due by March 4, 2019. Applicants will be notified of award status by April 5, 2019 and awards will be presented at AerospaceFest, on Saturday, May 4.
For more information on the Scholarship and to apply, click here.
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: $15 for the first child, $10 for each additional child. Homeschool workshops are offered at three levels: Level 1 (Grades K-2); Level 2 (Grades 3-5); and Level 3 (Grades 6-8). An optional planetarium show will be offered at the conclusion of each program, for an additional $5 per person.
Our focus for the 2018-19 Academic Year will be “To the Universe and Back: Celestial Bodies.” Come explore the size and scale of the cosmos. Beginning with the universe and working our way down to the smallest objects in space, we will be looking at and learning more about the universe, galaxies, black holes, planets, asteroids, comets, and more! This year's program will also feature many custom educator-led shows utilizing our Tonight's Sky, Family of the Sun, and Digital Universe Planetarium programs.
October 11: "What is the Universe?"
How big is the universe? What is it made of? How did it begin? How do we know what we do about the universe? All of these questions and more will be explored as we start this year’s HomeSchool Program off big, the biggest thing out there to be exact. We will delve into the big picture before slowly zooming back down to our little portion of it by the end of the year.
Optional Planetarium Show: Digital Universe Part 1
November 8: "What is a Galaxy?"
Now that we’ve looked at the big picture of the universe, we zoom down to galaxies. What are they? How big are they? How far apart are they? What are the different types of galaxies? In this second session of our Homeschool Program, we will learn about the biggest objects in the universe.
Optional Planetarium Show: Digital Universe: Galaxy Edition
December 13: "What is a Nebula?"
Universe, galaxy, this month we will talk about Nebulae. What are they? What are the different types of Nebulae? How and why do we study them? We’re getting closer to some familiar territory as we study these fascinating clouds of gas and dust in space.
Optional Planetarium Show: Tonight’s Sky: Nebula Edition
January 10: "What are Stars?"
What exactly are stars? What are the different types of stars? How are they born? How do they die? Where does our own star lie in all this? For this session, we will be delving into many of those pinpricks of light in our night sky and what we know about them.
Optional Planetarium Show: Star custom show
February 14: "What is a Solar System?"
What is a solar system? How do they form? What solar systems do we know of besides our own? How does the type of star affect the rest of the solar system?
Optional Planetarium Show: Solar System custom show
March 14: "What are Planets?"
So, now that we know about the universe, galaxies, nebulae, stars, and solar systems, what about planets? What makes a planet a planet? What is a dwarf planet? What types of planets are there?
Optional Planetarium Show: Planets custom show
April 11: "What are Moons?"
We may have gotten to Earth and other planets last month, but planets certainly aren’t the smallest celestial bodies. Let’s talk about moons this month! How is a moon different than a planet? Is our moon “normal”? What do we know about moons near and far? It’s the 50th anniversary of the moon landing this summer! How did we get to the moon?
Optional Planetarium Show: Family of the Sun Moon Edition
May 9: "What are Comets and Asteroids?"
For our final session, we will look at some of the smallest celestial bodies: comets and asteroids. What do we know about them? What are the most famous ones? How do they create meteor showers? Should we be scared?
Optional Planetarium Show: Impact Earth
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.
We offer two ways to achieve your Space Science Badges: a trip to the Discovery Center, or a specialized workshop! Contact our Visitor Services Manager, Linds Jakows at 603-271-7827 x104 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a group trip or one of our workshops.
A trip to the Discovery Center will provide you with all the background you need for your Space Science badges! Interact with our educators and docents to perform a number of activities for your badges such as scale models of the solar system. You are also welcome to bring materials to complete other activities, but we do ask that you help keep the museum clean and let us know ahead of time if possible. A Tonight’s Sky planetarium show is also a great way to check off steps and activities for your badge. Our observatory may or may not be open when you visit based on weather and staff availability (another reason to book a group trip as we will do what we can to have the observatory open while you are here).
Our Super Stellar Friday event on the first Friday of the month is also a great way to check off all these steps! On Super Stellar Fridays, we are open extra hours from 6:30-9:30 P.M. with nighttime observing (weather permitting), a Tonight’s Sky show and a special guest speaker or workshop. Check the calendar for details on the next Super Stellar Friday!
We offer 2 hour workshops for girl scouts that include a 1 hour workshop activity and a planetarium show (Tonight’s Sky is our most recommended, but we can discuss other options to work best for your troop). Our badge-specific workshop offerings currently include:
Solar System Explorers- learn about our little neighborhood of the galaxy in terms of size, scale, and composition. Explore our sun, moon, the planets in our solar system. (Contact us about designing this workshop specifically for your troop. We can adapt this workshop to different ages and discuss what activities we can accomplish in the time allotted.)
Juniors - "Get Moving!" Journey Workshop - learn about energy use and light pollution.
We also offer the following workshops that do not currently fit all the requirements to complete a badge, but do expand on steps within badges and provide an amazing opportunity to delve deeper into space as a troop.
Telescopes 101- learn the basics of optics and telescopes; then, try them out for yourself! (Recommended for grades 4 and up, but we are working on creating age appropriate activities for younger audiences.)
Final Frontier- learn about how astronauts live and work in space and other worlds (Recommended for grades 3 and up)
The Hunt is On! Search for Exoplanets: a brand new workshop for 2019, funded by a mini-fund from NASA Universe of Learning to explore planets that orbit stars other than our own. The workshop consists of an educator led planetarium show and hands-on activities to explore the process of finding these planets and ends with the chance to make your own planet!
*We are currently in the process of adapting these workshops to better fit the new Space Science badges and would love to work with troops on creating the best workshops! Contact us for details.*
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.
Looking for a fun bonding experience with your troop? We offer overnight experiences! Overnights include 2 planetarium shows, snacks, breakfast, and exploration of the entire museum. The cost is $50 per attendee and we require a 45 participant minimum (or $2,250 minimum charge) to book an overnight experience.
To find out more about our scout opportunities or make a reservation, please contact Linds Jakows at (603) 271-7827 ext 104 or email email@example.com