First Fridays at Longway Planetarium

Join us every first Friday of the month for talks on astronomy and local science topics. While Longway Planetarium is closed, we will present First Fridays as FREE VIRTUAL EVENTS on Facebook Live.

Tickets: $7 adults, $5 seniors 60+, $5 youth ages 2-11
Genesee County Resident Discount: $3.50 adults, $2.50 seniors 60+, $2.50 youth ages 2-11
Free for members!

The 7:00 p.m. show is always included with your First Friday admission.

First Fridays at Longway Planetarium are funded in part by the Genesee County Arts Education and Cultural Enrichment Millage. Your tax dollars are at work.

Treasures of Orion

FREE VIRTUAL EVENT

Join us on Facebook Live for First Friday! Mike Close will present Treasures of Orion. Orion is the nearest stellar nursery to Earth and gives us a fantastic view of the lifecycle of stars. Mike will give us an in-depth view of the objects in the Orion region, and examine the stellar lifecycle that plays out in the area.

The constellation Orion the Hunter is one of the brightest and most recognizable constellations in the winter skies of the Northern Hemisphere. Orion features in the myths and legends of many cultures; some predating Greco-Roman times. The region of space defined by Orion is blanketed by the Orion Molecular Cloud and is a treasure trove of astronomical objects like the Great Nebula in Orion, the Horsehead Nebula, and the mysterious red hypergiant star Betelgeuse.

Presented by Mike Close
Date: Friday, April 3, 2020
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Facebook Live

RSVP on Facebook Event

Past Topics

Kuhnian Philsophy of Science

Major breakthrough or meaningless metaphysics?

In 1962, Thomas Kuhn published what would become his seminal work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In the subsequent decades, this provocative book would go on to inspire countless debates about the very nature of science itself. Kuhn suggests that there are two types of sciences: normal science and revolutionary science. He claims that the existence of revolutionary science calls into question whether or not science can really be considered a cumulative endeavor. This talk will outline Kuhn’s arguments for his ideas and will invite you to consider where you stand on Kuhn’s philosophies of science.

Date: Friday, March 6, 2020
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Wonders of the Arctic

First Fridays: The Mystery of Betelgeuse

As a star, Betelgeuse is no secret. The incredibly bright shoulder of Orion the Hunter is easy to spot and carries a distinctly red hue. Still, much remains a mystery about this relatively close hypergiant star. Its sheer size makes it difficult to determine its precise distance. This makes other features of this star difficult to determine as well. However, there is no doubt that Betelgeuse is nearing the end of its stellar life cycle, and several months of consistent dimming have brought the timing of its inevitable collapse into question. In this talk, we’ll consider possible causes of this dimming, and the likelihood of seeing the supernova in our lifetime.

Date: Friday, February 7, 2020
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Oceans: Our Blue Planet.

Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada, artist’s impression of the supergiant star Betelgeuse

First Fridays: Coyote the Trickster

Presented by Seven Ponds Nature Center

Coyotes are fascinating creatures and have rightfully earned their name, the Trickster, with their adaptability and flexibility to solve problems. Winter nights are some of the best nights to hear the wild dogs “sing,” and a great time to learn about these amazing dogs. Join Seven Ponds Nature Center’s naturalist as she explores the coyote world, along with the other wild dogs found in Michigan.

Date: Friday, January 3, 2020
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Cosmic Christmas.

First Friday: Astronomy Update 2019

Join planetarium manager Buddy Stark as he walks through just a few of the things we’ve learned about our universe over the course of 2019. We’ll look at Saturn’s 20 newly found moons, helium hydride (and why you should care), an impossible white dwarf star (that exists), a huge puffy Jupiter exoplanet, and more. We’ll also look at some of the human achievements in space and space technology during 2019 including the first female spacewalk, a new spacesuit that’s designed on a per astronaut basis, light sail 2, and the continuing protests in Hawaii about an upcoming telescope. Join us as we look at humanity’s progress over the course of just one year!

Date: Friday, December 6, 2019
Time: 6-7 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Cosmic Christmas.

First Fridays: Messengers from Space

Guest Speaker: Mark Jeffery

Guest Speaker Mark Jeffery will highlight the puzzles of nature that meteorites help us investigate, and the quirks of human nature that are sometimes stirred by their arrival. A good number of meteorite specimens will be available for up-close inspection. This will further help us to appreciate both the beauty and the mystery of these ancient travelers.

Date: Friday, November 1, 2019
Time: 6-7 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Oceans: Our Blue Planet.

First Fridays: Light, the Universe and Everything

Guest Speaker: Mike Close

Humanity had little hope of ever understanding the nature or composition of stars until the mid-nineteenth century, when a new device called the spectroscope allowed chemists to understand more about the nature of the elements. It all started with observing and analyzing the light emitted by stars. A few innovative astronomers decided to observe starlight through a spectroscope. Their experiments changed the nature of astronomy forever and ushered in a brand new discipline called astrophysics. This lecture will discuss how spectroscopy allows us to understand the nature and composition of celestial objects; how spectroscopy has changed the study of astronomy; and how amateur astronomers are able to collaborate with professionals to contribute to astronomical research.

Date: Friday, October 4, 2019
Time: 6-7 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Ooky Spooky Light Show.

First Fridays: Water Moons

It used to be the prevailing wisdom was that Earth was the only place in the solar system to consistently harbor liquid water. In the past couple of decades, we have come to realize that may not be the case. Several moons in our solar system appear to have vast oceans of liquid water underneath icy frozen exteriors. This talk will explore several of these moons including Europa, Enceladus, Titan, and Ganymede. We will look at the methods used to find this water so far as well as upcoming NASA missions aimed at exploring these moons further in an attempt to determine which, if any, might also be hospitable to life as we know it.

Date: Friday, September 6, 2019
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Oceans: Our Blue Planet.

First Fridays -- Monarchs: A Vanishing Species

Guest Speaker: Katie McKeirnan of Seven Ponds Nature Center

Monarch Butterflies are one of the most iconic species you can find in your own backyard. These beautiful orange visitors have enchanted us as children and into our adult years. Unfortunately, these awesome creatures of change are facing incredible population losses. With around 90% having vanished in recent years, we can play our part by raising young caterpillars in our own homes. This hour long lecture will focus on the life cycle of a monarch butterfly and how you can start raising and, eventually, releasing them back into the wild.

Date: Friday, August 2, 2019
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. opening night showing of Oceans: Our Blue Planet.

First Fridays: The Apollo Adventures

Last month, we looked at the origin of the United States space program with the Mercury and Gemini projects. This month continues that theme as we turn our eyes to the Apollo program. July 20, 2019 marks 50 years since we first set foot on the moon, and the Apollo program is what got us there. We’ll look at the variety of motivations, hallmark moments, and setbacks in this story. Beginning at the Apollo 1 fire and ending with Gene Cernan’s final words from the surface of the lunar soil, there is much to take away from this grandest of human adventures.

Date: Friday, July 5, 2019
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Journey to Space.

First Fridays: 50 Years of Discovery

Join us as we look at the history of the space race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. In this talk we'll be comparing the achievements of both of these space programs and how the space race still benefits us today. Many of our modern technologies have their roots in this competition between nations. The talk for June will look at many different space programs, but will stop just shy of Apollo—we'll save that for next month when we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Date: Friday, June 7, 2019
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Journey to Space.

FREE! First Fridays: Music Under The Stars

Music Around Town series presented by Flint Institute of Music

Date: Friday, May 3, 2019
Time: Shows at 5:15 and 6:15 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Tickets: Free admission for all; pre-registration is required. Call 810-237-3400 to reserve your seats.

Don’t miss this very special First Friday event! Flint Symphony Orchestra members will perform inside the dome as the stars twinkle overhead. This event is free to the public. Due to limited seating, pre-registration is required. 7:00 p.m. showing of Journey to Space is free to those attending the 6:15 p.m. show.

Repertoire
Mars, the Bringer of war from The Planets
Jupiter’s Aria from Semele
Symphony #41 “Jupiter” – first movement
Symphony #41 “Jupiter” – finale
Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity from The Planets
Twilight: New Moon
Canzone sotto le stella (Song Under the Stars)
La La Land: City of Stars

Featuring
Zeljko Milicevic and Alesia Byrd Johnson, violins
Janine Bradbury, viola
Irina Tikhonova, cello
Gregg Emerson Powell, bass

First Fridays: Shooting Stars, Meteorites and More

Join Longway Planetarium Executive Director Todd Slisher as he talks about meteors or “shooting stars,” what they are, how best to observe them, and how we’ve classified the meteorites that we’ve found on earth. We will discuss the various meteorite showers each year, and this coming year’s best showers to observe. Todd will also discuss many famous meteorite falls and finds, and will provide an update on NASA’s study of the Michigan/Hamburg meteorite that the Longway team recovered in January 2018.

Date: Friday, April 5, 2019
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. opening night showing of Journey to Space. Be among the first to see the new show!

First Fridays: History of the Milky Way

We live inside the Milky Way galaxy, named for its resemblance to a stream of spilled milk in the sky. Our understanding of the Milky Way has changed significantly throughout history. During this talk, we'll take a look at both the cultural influences and the scientific advances that have shaped our understanding of our own galaxy in space. We have pictures of many galaxies out in the universe, but no complete picture of our own galaxy. We'll talk about why that is the case, and how we can get around that to learn about our larger home in the universe.

Date: Friday, March 1, 2019
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7 p.m. showing of Wonders of the Arctic

First Fridays: Binocular Astronomy

Guest Speaker: Mike Close

Join us for a talk exploring the use of binoculars to observe the stars, planets and other objects in the night sky. This talk will discuss why binoculars are a great tool for beginning and experienced observers, how to choose and use binoculars for astronomy, a tour of objects in the winter sky that can be observed with binoculars, and more! Mike Close is a member of the Seven Ponds Astronomy Club and a planetarium presenter at Longway Planetarium.

Date: Friday, February 1, 2019
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Violent Universe

First Fridays: The Life and Times of Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler

During this talk we will look at the work done by two of the giants of astronomy in our history books: Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler. We will look at their accomplishments in their fields as well as many other aspects of their lives. By looking at who these historic figures were as multidimensional people we can gain a better appreciation for their contributions to our knowledge. Kepler may be the more commonly known figure today but it was Brahe who had the authority during his time. The interplay between his belief structure and that of his pupil Kepler is a fascinating story to be told.

Date: Friday, January 4
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Violent Universe

First Fridays: FIRST Robotics

Guest Speaker: John Wohlfert of FIRST Robotics

Join us for robot demonstrations and a talk by John Wohlfert of FIRST Robotics. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a national non-profit organization that engages kids in kindergarten through high school in exciting, mentor-based, research and robotics programs that help them become science and technology leaders, as well as well-rounded contributors to society.

Date: Friday, December 7, 2018
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of Cosmic Christmas

First Fridays: Astronomy, A Year In Review

Join our planetarium manager Buddy Stark for another year in review. This talk explores what we have learned about our universe since the beginning of 2018 and how our view of our solar system has changed. This year includes interstellar asteroids passing through our solar system, a new moon count for Jupiter, a planet with two south magnetic poles, rovers on asteroids, organic compounds on Mars, heavy molecules on Enceladus, news from LIGO, and more!

Date: Friday, November 2, 2018
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Longway Planetarium
Includes 7:00 p.m. showing of The Queen Light Show: From Mercury with Love

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