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.
November 2, 2018: Intro to Astrophotography
Have you always wanted to take pictures of the night sky? Attend this introductory primer by Ed Ting on how to get started! Various techniques will be discussed, including: how to take nightscapes, taking pictures of the moon and planets, and how to get started taking deep sky images. You can get started with as little as your cell phone, progress as you take pictures with your DSLR, and beyond. The sky is literally the limit! Approx time: 45 minutes, with 15 minutes for questions and answers.
Ed Ting is a well-known amateur astronomer. His works have appeared in Sky & Telescope, Night Sky, Popular Electronics, Discover, and Popular Mechanics magazines. His writings have been translated into several languages, and he speaks frequently on the topics of astronomy and astrophotography around the nation. He has been on New Hampshire Public Radio, and on Manchester NH community television. His web site, www.scopereviews.com, is a widely-read telescope review web site. Ed is an ACEAP ambassador to Chile, and a 2018 NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador. He is a former Category 3 ranked bicycle racer, and an enthusiastic fudge confectioner. Ed holds a BSEE from the University of Illinois, and an MFA from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where he teaches Memoir Writing, and Astrophotography. In early 2019, he will be a Master’s Degree candidate in Literary Studies at Dartmouth.
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 2 hour workshops for girl scouts that include a 1 hour workshop activity and a planetarium show. Our offerings currently include:
Juniors - "Get Moving!" Journey Workshop - learn about energy use and light pollution.
Telescopes 101- learn the basics of optics and telescopes; then, try them out for yourself! (Recommended for grades 4 and up)
Final Frontier- learn about how astronauts live and work in space and other worlds (Recommended for grades 3 and up)
Solar System Explorers- learn about our little neighborhood of the galaxy in terms of size, scale, and composition (Recommended for our youngest audiences, grades K-3)
We are currently in the process of developing more workshops, particularly those that will line up with the new Astronomy badges currently in development. If you have a particular request, we may be able to tailor a customized workshop.
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 Elizabeth Pappas at 603-271-7827 x 104 or at email@example.com