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Big Bear Solar Observatory

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BBSOFor decades, Big Bear Solar Observatory has been on the cutting edge of solar astronomy research. Located on Big Bear Lake, the observatory is home to the world’s largest aperture and highest resolution solar telescope.

During the StarLight Festival, the observatory, which is operated by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, will be offering a limited number of free tours of their impressive facilities. They will also have a presence at the festival’s exhibit grounds where staff members will be at the BBSO-NJIT booth answering questions and showcasing some of the observatory’s stunning high-resolution images. Booth visitors can also view “BBSO Secrets of Our Star,” which is a short documentary produced by the AstronomyOutreach network that details the history and current research at the observatory. 

SEE The BBSO Documentary "The Sun Watchers" on AstronomyOutreachTM network

How to get tickets for the observatory tours

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Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project

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CHSAP Logo

The Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project from Atlanta, GA is a worldwide education nonprofit dedicated to using the amazing power of STEM education in the advanced sciences to uplift individuals and communities across the globe.   Stephen Ramsden, Director and Founder of the program, will be stopping by between an outreach tour of Canada and North Africa before he leaves for Australia for a month of STEM.    

Stephen will have the famous S.U.N.S.P.O.T. van fully loaded with the most advanced portable solar observing, imaging and spectroscopic equipment on Earth, as always, free for all to use.  Free solar observing glasses and handouts will be provided to all in attendance.  Come by and get an up close and personal view of the magnetic ferocity of our nearest star in multiple wavelengths and talk STEM with a world leader in the subject.  Mr. Ramsden will also be in Big Bear Lake for a week before the festival doing outreach events at select local schools.  

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Stephen Ramsden

Stephen W. Ramsden is a retired Air Traffic Controller who, in 2008, founded and continues to direct The Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project from his headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. This 100% grass-roots organization has members in 17 countries and is currently the highest volume hands-on astronomy non-profit in the world.

Stephen and his CBSAP members personally share the Sun, at the eyepiece, with over 250,000 people yearly through state-of-the-art narrowband solar viewing equipment.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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It's not every day that you get to see spacecraft up close, or gaze upon rocks from another world, or investigate a Martian crater in 3D.  Visit the JPL/NASA exhibit in the upstairs lobby of the Northwoods Hotel & Conference Center to see all of these things and more when you attend the StarLight Festival!  Talk to JPL scientists about the following exhibits, and let your imagination soar!

Inflatable Rover

  • A 1/4th scale model of the Herschel Space Observatory, which is currently studying the universe in far infrared and sub-milllimeter wavelengths.
  • A 1/4th scale model of the Planck spacecraft, which measures cosmic background radiation.
  • A 3D mural of the McMurdo crater on Mars.  Use supplied 3D glasses for an incredible view!
  • Rocks and soil from the Moon!  
  • An inflatable model of the Mars rover
  • A mini model of the Mars rover
  • A full-size model of a rover wheel

 

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STEM ZONE

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Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics – These are the cornerstones of our future, and StarLight Festival organizers have made providing family fun in a STEM-focused environment a priority. Located at the heart of the exhibit space, the STEM Zone will offer a versatile slate of available activities that will not disappoint. These engaging events include:

• Saturn and Its Rings: Participants can build and decorate their own model of Saturn complete with rings.

• Martian Landers: Participants can build their own planetary landers complete with a balloon engine.

• Environmental Sampling: Visitors to this station will see how environmental scientists sample the Earth’s environment and have an opportunity to try their hand at the profession.

• Meteroite Hunters:  Attendees can learn from the experts about how meteorites are found and then employ those techniques to find their own.

• Chicken Little: Zone guests will get a crash course in cratering here on Earth and on other rocky worlds. Participants can try to create their own crater as they discover all about meteorite impacts. 

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Bubbleology

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BUBBLEOLOGY celebrates science, art and the ability they have to challenge what we believe is true or even possible.  Discover how bubbles work (science), what bubbles can do (art) and how to continue the experiments on your own at home (fun).

 BUBBLEOLOGY explores the secret world of bubbles with state of the art soap bubble sculptures—some bigger than bathtubs, others are fog-filled spinning geometric shapes!

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Keith Johnson has wrangled bubbles for National Geographic TV, the Discovery Channel, commercials, print ads, movies and audiences across America.  He is hilarious, smart, occasionally irreverent and totally sincere. His enthusiasm is infectious. His lessons are sticky. His performances spark amazing conversations.

RAD - The Robot from Garner Holt Productions

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What would a science celebration be without a robot welcome? StarLight Festival attendees will be treated to a special greeting from RAD the Robot as they visit the STEM Zone throughout the two-day event. This unique robot will be on hand courtesy of Garner Holt Productions, a leading design and production workshop based in California that specializes in animatronics, special effects, interactive attractions and more. 

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Astronomers Without Borders

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When it comes to stargazing, longitude and latitude put major restrictions on what celestial treasures you can see. At the StarLight Festival, visitors to the Astronomers Without Borders exhibit will get the chance to lift those geographic limits by visiting active observing sites around the world in real time via Skype. Some countries already scheduled are Pakistan, Cayman Islands, Vietnam, Kenya, Dubai, Cyprus, Nigeria, and Greece.

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Solar Observing

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Although we track our days by sunrises and sunsets, most people have never really seen the Sun in all its glory. StarLight Festival attendees will get the chance to witness first hand the tumultuous personality of our spectacular star during daily solar observing sessions hosted by astronomers.

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Nighttime Observing

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Although the StarLight Festival will feature famed speakers and loads of STEM activities, the true stars of the event will be found in the eyepieces of shared telescopes of all designs and sizes. Big Bear’s beautiful dark skies will provide dazzling views of the heavens with little interference from the thin waning crescent moon. Attendees can expect to find clusters of telescopes spread throughout the festival space to create one big star party that is not to be missed. 

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Nighttime Observing for People with Physical Limitations

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WHC&TMaking sure all attendees have access to the wonders of the sky is a priority for StarLight Festival organizers. The AstronomyOutreach network is partnering with Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes to provide alternate observational set-ups for people with physical limitations that might make looking through a telescope eyepiece difficult. These accommodations will include using video monitors to broadcast the deep sky object that the telescope is currently focused on. 

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Explore One in the STEM Zone

Stocked with observation aids of all types and engaging hands-on projects, the Explore One tent will be fully equipped to take STEM zone visitors on a journey of discovery. By providing young festival-goers the opportunity to create, explore, learn and play, Explore One’s mix of offerings will emphasize the “fun” in science fundamentals.

As children visit each of the six stages of Explore One’s exploration experience, they will earn a star in a provided passport book that, when filled, can be turned in for a free prize.

Click "Read More" to find out more about the activities available in the Explore One STEM Zone!

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Cosmic Secrets: Here, children will get a first-hand look at how telescopes work and what they can reveal by looking at pre-loaded slides through the eyepieces of various telescopes.

Going the Distance: With this activity, children will gain a better understanding of distance and what it takes to see far by using a range of binoculars to hunt for hidden targets placed at various points around the festival exhibit space.

It’s a Small World: At this table, children will be amazed by the hidden details of the world around us when they view select samples through a range of microscopes. Large images of each subject will be displayed nearby to guide observers through what the scopes are revealing. 

Take Flight: This project will let children put aerodynamic forces into action as they build and customize their own paper airplanes. This hands-on activity will demonstrate the effects of drag, gravity, thrust and lift to show attendees how real airplanes take flight.

Colorful Reflections: In addition to getting a chance to look through a huge kaleidoscope, visitors to this station will create stunning optical patterns, witness how light moves and see the power of reflection in action by building their own kaleidoscope.

Rocket Power: Junior rocket scientists will build their own soaring rocket and then harness the powerful force of air pressure as they launch it using a stomp bladder.

John Safer Galaxy Award for John Dobson

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Whether it was through his accessible telescope design or the sidewalk astronomy movement he launched, the late John Dobson opened up the skies for thousands. At the inaugural StarLight Festival, the AstronomyOutreach network and the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC) will pay tribute to Dobson and his remarkable contributions to amateur astronomy by posthumously honoring him with the first John Safer Galaxy Award.

This lifetime achievement award will be presented by NOVAC representative Arlen Raasch to a member of Dobson’s family on Sunday, May 25th, during a ceremony that will include a brief reflection on Dobson and his legacy by Sidewalk Astronomer Peggy Walker.

The Galaxy Award was designed by acclaimed sculptor John Safer, who is known for creating striking monumental pieces such as “Ascent,” a 75-foot high work that stands at the entrance of the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport. 

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Sidewalk Astronomers

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Since 1968, the Sidewalk Astronomers have been on a mission to expose as many people as possible to the wonders of the sky. In keeping with this, members of the outreach organization will be on hand at the StarLight Festival to host walk-up day and night viewing sessions with a variety of telescopes. They will also be demonstrating the process of building a Dobsonian telescope and giving attendees the opportunity to try their own hand at mirror grinding with provided samples.

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Face Painting

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WHC&TFun face painting by the very talented artist, Valerie Sharpe on Saturday and Sunday. Located at the Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes Exhibit.

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Moon Rocks

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Whether they were scooped up from the lunar surface or drawn from the depths of the Solar System, a collection of moon rocks and meteorites are now destined for the StarLight Festival. The moon rocks that will be on display are part of the 842 pounds of lunar material collected by NASA astronauts on the Apollo missions. Dr. Mike Reynolds, who is an astronomer, educator and Dean of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Florida State College, will be on hand to talk about the samples and his own travels around the world to research meteorites. Exhibit visitors also will have the opportunity to touch rare meteorites, including an impressive 75-pound iron meteorite, a meteorite from the Moon and one from Mars. JPL Exhibit will also have Moon Rock samples available to see.

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Jefferson Starship Concert - Saturday, May 24th

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Jefferson StarshipA Special Appearance in support of the StarLight Festival. Stone Entertainment presents JEFFERSON STARSHIP with founding members PAUL KANTNER and DAVID FREIBERG plus Grammy Nominated star of "Love, Janis" CATHY RICHARDSON. The STARSHIP continues an astonishing  5 decade odyssey begun by Hall of Fame inductee KANTNER who also founded JEFFERSON AIRPLANE.  The band performs the album Surrealistic Pillow in its entirety.

Saturday Night May 24th only at The CAVE                     Buy Tickets

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Meteor Shower Cruise on Big Bear Lake - Friday, May 23rd

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Witness the birth of the newest meteor shower in style on a cruise aboard the Miss Liberty on Big Bear Lake. In the early morning hours of May 24th, Earth will pass through a stream of dust particles left behind by Comet LINEAR. The resulting meteor shower will likely be spectacular, and Big Bear Lake is in a perfect viewing position. The floating star party, which lasts from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., includes light hors d’oeuvres and a toast with champagne or a delicious hot coffee drink. Cost is $35 per person, and seating is limited. For reservations, call (909) 866-8129.  

Download the official Miss Liberty Meteor Shower flier.

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Meteor Shower Wine Party - Friday, May 23rd

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Celebrate the newest meteor shower in style at the Wolf Creek Resort's comfy & classy Wine Room!  The doors will open at midnight on Friday, May 23rd so that you have time to find the perfect place on the veranda, pour that first glass of wine, and get ready for the celestial fireworks to begin.

Tickets are $65 per person, and include a bottle of wine, a gourmet meat, cheese, fruit & cracker tray, and a souvenir Wine Room glass to commemorate the occasion.  Binoculars will be available for your viewing pleasure, and powerful telescopes, donated by the StarLight Festival, will be on hand to observe the planets and deep-sky objects of the spring sky.

Tickets are available at the door.  For more information call Special Events Director, Heather Blackard, at 909-549-9578.

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Please Note:  Meteor showers are a fickle thing.  Sometimes they out-perform all expectations, even those of scientists, and sometimes...not so much.  Welcome to the world of amateur astronomy!  What we're trying to say is, no one can guarantee that the 209pids will come off as expected, in fact no one can guarantee good weather.  All you can do is enjoy yourself while waiting to see what Mother Nature decides to do, and The Wine Room is a really good place to do that.  

Meteor Watching & Campfire - Friday, May 23rd

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Join the Southern California Mountains Foundation for a free evening under the stars at the Big Bear Discovery Center Amphitheater on Friday, May 23rd at 8pm. Our first Star Party will kick off our campfire series held every Friday and Saturday through Labor Day. This is sure to be an exciting evening as Comet 209P/LINEAR is predicted to shower the night sky with the most "shooting stars" North America has seen in decades.
The campfire will begin at 8pm with a brief presentation about our night skies, including common constellations and stars you may see during your time in Big Bear and continue into the evening with telescopes set up in our large parking lot for public viewing. Bring blankets, chairs and warm layers and set up your own cozy spot to gaze upon the sky above. The Discovery Center will allow guests to stay as late as they like, although please note that bathrooms will be closed at midnight.  Hot chocolate, coffee, snacks and s'mores will on be on sale. All proceeds benefit the Southern California Mountains Foundation and help us reach our mission of "Education, Conservation and Responsible Recreation on Public Lands."
 

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Make a weekend out of what will surely be a once in a lifetime opportunity for a spectacular meteor shower and reserve a campsite at one of the many campgrounds near by.
For more information regarding campgrounds, amenities and cost visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/sbnf/recreation/camping-cabins. You can make reservations online or over the phone at http://www.recreation.gov/ or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
For information on all the fun summer activities happening at the Big Bear Discovery Center visit our website at http://mountainsfoundation.org/big-bear-discovery-center or call us at 909-382-2790. The Discovery Center is closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. 

 

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SPEAKER SCHEDULE

Saturday, May 24th

11:00 - 11:40  -  Bubbleology - Keith Michael Johnson
12:00 -   1:00  -  David Levy & Tim Hunter on Comets
  1:30 -   2:30  -  Mike Senna & R2D2
  3:00 -   4:00 -   Seth Shostak, SETI & Finding ET
  4:30 -   5:30  -  Mike Senna & Wall-e the Robot
  6:00 -   7:00  -  Story Musgrave, Astronaut  

Sunday, May 25th

11:00 - 11:40 -  Bubbleology - Keith Michael Johnson
12:00 -   1:00 -  Mike Senna & R2D2
  1:30 -   2:30 -  Linda Spilker, Cassini & the Secrets of Saturn
  3:00 -   4:00 -  Andre Bormanis, Cosmos, A Space-Time Odyssey
  4:30 -   5:30 -  Ellyne Kinney-Spano, OSIRIS-rEX Mission
  

 

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