You are here

Space Science Events

Starry Nights

2018 Dates and Times:

Dates Observing Event
January 5 6 - 8 p.m. First Friday - Lunar Eclipse Preview
January 31 5 - 7 a.m. Super Blue Moon Eclipse
February 2 6 - 8 p.m. First Friday - Da Vinci: Preview
March 2 7 - 9 p.m. First Friday - Da Vinci: Anatomy
April 6 8 - 9 p.m. First Friday - Da Vinci: Flight
April 18 8 - 9 p.m. Sandia Mt. Stargazing
May 4 8:30 - 9 p.m. First Friday - Da Vinci: Futurist
June 1 8:30 - 9 p.m. First Friday - Da Vinci: Technology
June 30 TBA Asteroid Day
July 6 8:30 - 9 p.m. First Friday - Da Vinci: Earh Sci.
August 3 8:30 - 9 p.m. First Friday: Mars Close Encounter
September 7 8 - 9 p.m. First Friday
September 12 8 - 9 p.m. Sandia Mt. Stargazing
October 5 7 - 9 p.m. First Friday
October 20 TBA Intl. Observe the Moon Night
November 2 7 - 9 p.m. First Friday
November 26 TBA InSight Lands on Mars
December 7 6 - 8 p.m. Old Town Holiday Stroll

In 2018, we're offering monthly night-sky observing opportunities to coincide with museum, local, or international events.  More specific information about each activity will be updated below as the day draws closer.  These events are subject to change and may happen at locations other than the museum.
Members of local astronomy groups will help you study the moon and stars through a variety of telescopes. Each event will feature any visible planets and other interesting objects in the sky.
The observing part of any event may be canceled when the sky is cloudy.  If weather conditions are in question, check the museum's Facebook page for updates an hour before each event is scheduled to begin: https://www.facebook.com/NMMNHS


Upcoming Events

May 4, 2018 - 5:30pm

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science’s next First Friday event jointly celebrates the launch of the next Mars landing mission and “Star Wars” day -May the fourth be with you! During May 4th’s First Friday, patrons will be able to learn about and imagine space exploration and defense. Those visitors who take advantage of discounted prices to see Da Vinci—The Genius that night can also study how Leonardo da Vinci envisioned the future of military operations over 500 years ago.

“We’re very excited to bring aspects of ‘Stars’ and ‘Wars’ together in one exciting evening at the museum,” said Jim Greenhouse, the museum’s space science director. “Fans of science fiction and science fact won’t want to miss this event!”

On May 4 from 5:30 – 9 p.m., admission to Da Vinci—The Genius is discounted by $5, making the final admission charge: Adults $17, Seniors $15 & Children $10. Admission to the museum’s permanent exhibits (excluding Da Vinci—The Genius), is $5 per person, a $3 savings off the usual adult price.

NASA Solar System Ambassador John Brandt will share videos and handouts about the Mars InSight mission, the latest Martian lander. Brandt will also explain the Deep Space Network used to communicate with all missions in the solar system. InSight is scheduled to launch just a few hours after the museum’s First Friday event ends. Find out more from NASA’s webpage:  https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/

Da Vinci – The Genius demonstrates the full scope of Leonardo da Vinci’s remarkable genius as an inventor, artist, anatomist, sculptor, engineer, musician and architect. Guests will enjoy many unique pieces including life-size machine inventions, entertaining animations of da Vinci’s most notable Renaissance works, and an eye-opening, in-depth analysis of his most famous piece, “Mona Lisa.” Visitors will be able to push, pull, crank, and interact with many of these exhibits for a hands-on understanding of the scientific principles behind them.

On May 4 only, the military aspect of the da Vinci exhibit will be enhanced by experts from several organizations at table displays:

  • The Air Force Research Laboratory will showcase Making Light Work with a demonstration on how laser technologies are used to cut through substances like an Imperial blaster;
  • The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History will provide hands-on demonstrations of how the submarine, or what da Vinci called the, "ship to sink ships," uses buoyancy laws to rise and sink on command;
  • The Society of Women Engineers at CNM will explain how physical science is used in military and many other kinds of machines;
  • Lakeshore Learning Store will have an interactive learning display of their products;
  • To top off the evening, characters from Star Wars, who are part of the local 501st Legion, will be roaming throughout the museum!

The DynaTheater will be showing an episode of the Public Broadcasting Service series Secrets of the Dead called The Mona Lisa Mystery. Could there be a second Mona Lisa? In 1913, an interesting portrait surfaced, the so-called "Isleworth Mona Lisa." Using sophisticated scientific analysis, scientists will test both paintings to determine whether Leonardo painted an earlier version of the iconic portrait. Admission to this program is included in da Vinci admission; however, donations are always appreciated. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. and lasts one hour. The DynaTheater concession stand will be open before the showing and close when the video begins.

The Planetarium will present Fractal Friday at the usual times of 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. with the normal admission of: Adults $10, Seniors $7 & Children (3-12) $5. Shows typically sell out in advance, so get your tickets early on the Fractal Foundation’s website: fractalfoundation.org

The Museum Observatory will be open to the night sky for one hour from 8 – 9 p.m., weather permitting, and da Vinci exhibition admission will be required for access.

The Nature Works store will be selling fascinating da Vinci merchandise and other unique gifts from 5:30 – 8 p.m. on this First Friday. The Hope Café will be open continuously from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. that day, so you can enjoy dinner while waiting for the museum to reopen (only the café entrance will be open from 5 – 5:30).

Crack the da Vinci code and get a special discount! On each First Friday through July, a special word based upon a da Vinci invention will unlock a 10 percent discount on a da Vinci audio tour when deliberately said at the tour rental kiosk. The code word for April is “Bombarda.”


June 1, 2018 - 5:30pm

Discover how mechanical technology from the Renaissance is used to explore other planets.


July 6, 2018 - 5:30pm

Learn about da Vinci’s observations on the land, sea, and sky.


data-href="http://www.nmnaturalhistory.org/node/421" data-layout="standard" data-action="like" data-show-faces="true">