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Travel the skies with Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences

Sky Over Macon takes museum guests into the solar system and travels through the nightly city stars.

Photo courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Sciences

Sky Over Macon takes museum guests into the solar system and travels through the nightly city stars.

Elliot James, Staff Writer

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This Friday, travel the night with the Museum of Arts and Sciences’ monthly planetarium and observatory event.

Sky Over Macon occurs on the fourth Friday of every month. It allows museum visitors the opportunity to watch a uniquely live planetarium show and take a glimpse of our solar system from a few of the museum’s ten telescopes.

The evening event starts Jan. 27 at 8:00 p.m., with the planetarium show beginning sometime between 8:15-8:30 p.m.

Guests can start arriving as soon as 7:45 p.m. The event concludes at 10 p.m.

The cost of admission is at the museum’s standard rate of $10 for general tickets, $7 for students with ID and children for $5.

“For the price of admission (visitors) get to see the museum and events,” said Paul Fisher, museum science curator.

In addition to the observatory experience and planetarium show, evening guests will be able to visit the entire museum.

Fisher advises that visitors arrive on time.

“You can’t walk in late into a planetarium show,” he said.

Fisher said that the planetarium at the Macon museum on Forsyth Road is around 52 years old.

“I feel lucky here in Macon that we have a planetarium that is active,” he said.

The night-time planetarium shows are unique in that instead of audience members learning a general overview of our solar system, Fisher flys guests through what the sky looks like that evening.

Visitors will literally see what the sky over Macon looks like, according to Fisher.

“If you’ve never seen it, your (jaw) will drop,” he said.

The planetarium only has 122 chairs, so seating is limited.

“I use this event as one of my make-up classes,” said Matthew Marone, Mercer associate professor of physics and educator of astronomy.

Fisher and Marone do recommend this event to college students and not just those studying the sciences.

The museum observatory houses an 8, 10 and 14-inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrains telescopes, 17-inch Dobsonian, and a recently-commissioned Meade LX200, which is a 10-inch commercial telescope – to name a few.

Guests will receive the opportunity to view our solar system through one of these stargazing instruments.  

Marone said that Macon is light polluted.

Light pollution is excessive and inappropriate artificial light, which limits the visibility of the night sky above.

“The view in Macon is terrible,” he said.

Although Marone does bring attention to the light issue in Macon, he does recommend the event.

“I think what they (Museum of Arts and Sciences) do is a very valuable public service,” he said.

According to Marone, the evening opens a new world for the public to gain access to scientific activities they may have read about, but did not know how to experience it themselves.

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