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Night Vision: Space Technology Spinoffs

May 24th, 2016

In this week’s installment of our live Night Vision series, we’ll be looking at “Space Technology Spinoffs,” i.e., technology we employ here on Earth that has been derived from technology we invented for space travel.​ (Unless you believe Agent K, of course.)

Many of us have probably heard the elevator pitch for this idea: NASA invented Velcro, Teflon, and Tang, so thanks to their research we can now enjoy non-stick cookware and waterproof pens.

Except… none of those things I’ve just described were invented, or even funded, by NASA!

As it happens, there are lots of popular misconceptions about space technology. In some cases, many think NASA invented technologies that they really didn’t, while numerous actual NASA developments have improved our technology, our economy, and our day-to-day lives in other ways that we often don’t fully appreciate.

This week, we’ll explore how NASA-derived technology touches our lives in our homes, offices, and schools; how it helps keep us safe when we travel, in the air, on the highway, and even on roller coasters; and how it reaches us everywhere from our hospitals, to the orthodontist’s office, to our bedroom furniture.

Night Vision: Space Technology Spinoffs is presented by Nick Jarvis on Thursday, May 26th and Saturday, May 28th, in the Hansen Dome Theater at 6:45pm. Tickets available online​ or at the Clark Planetarium ticket desk. Free for members and $2 for everyone else.


Night Vision: Mars at Opposition

May 17th, 2016

On May 22, 2016, a special event occurs in the night time sky: Earth and Mars will be at opposition. During this opposition, Mars and the sun on are direct opposite sides of the Earth, bring Earth and Mars the closest together they will be for the next two years.

Oppositions not only bring great opportunities to observe the red planet in the night sky, they also afford opportunities for exploration.  Join us for “Night Vision: Mars At Opposition”, as we look how and where to see Mars in the night sky, learn about the amazing discoveries that have been made during Mars oppositions, and more.

Night Vision: Mars at Opposition is presented by Paul Gibbs on Thursday, May 19th and Saturday, May 21st, in the Hansen Dome Theater at 6:45pm. Tickets available online​ or at the Clark Planetarium ticket desk. Free for members and $2 for everyone else.


Night Vision: Amateur Astronomy

May 9th, 2016

What is amateur astronomy?  What can I see in the night sky?  Can I participate without a lot of expensive equipment?  How do I get started?

This presentation will address these questions.  We’ll tour dozens of visible objects outside the solar system – star clusters, nebulae and galaxies – that you can see with small telescopes, binoculars and eyeballs.  Within the solar system, we’ll identify more objects to observe: the sun, moon, planets, and more.  We’ll show you a variety of binoculars and telescopes and note their advantages and disadvantages.  We’ll suggest how to get started, and how to avoid common beginners’ mistakes.

If you want to get started in amateur astronomy, or get more involved – especially if you have a Christmas present telescope in your closet and you’re not sure what to do with it – then you should enjoy this presentation.

Night Vision presents live on Thursday, May 12th and Saturday, May 14th, at 6:45pm in the Hansen Dome Theatre. Tickets are available online or at the Clark Planetarium ticketing desk and are just $2, or free if you’re a member.

This week’s edition of Night Vision is hosted by Clark Planetarium Board Chair, J. Thomas Beckett. Tom is an avid amateur astronomer and has something special in store for visitors to Night Vision in honor of International Astronomy Day, which falls on Saturday, May 14th, 2016.