The Kalamazoo Valley Museum will participate in Statewide Astronomy Night (SWAN) on Friday, April 12, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A number of astronomy-related activities for all ages will be presented and are free to all participants. SWAN is coordinated by Michigan State University’s annual Science Festival.

Venues around the state of Michigan will open their doors to help people see and connect with the beauty and science that lies overhead. Planetarium staff and volunteers will share their knowledge through interactive demonstrations and discussions. Participants will learn about telescopes, make planispheres and moon dials, and see demonstrations of how to observe the Sun safely. Astronomy-themed refreshments will be served.

The evening will feature several free shows in the planetarium. Two Small Pieces of Glass will be showing at 4:30 p.m. This full-dome planetarium show illustrates the history of the telescope, from the early instruments of Lippershey and Gallileo all the way to the Hubble Space Telescope. At 5:15 p.m. the planetarium manager will present a live program with tips about how families may observe and enjoy the night sky together using the naked eye and simple astronomy tools. Max Goes to the Moon, a family show based upon a popular children’s book, will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Wrapping up the evening will be a showing of Dawn of the Space Age at 7:45 p.m. Follow the origins of space exploration starting with the launch of Sputnik in October 1957 and the first Moon landing in 1969, and look ahead to commercial exploration of near-Earth space and the dream of space tourism.

In addition to activities and shows, the Museum will host two guest speakers. Eric Schreur, retired Planetarium Coordinator, will present Night Sky Photography in the Stryker Theater at 5:15 p.m. Topics will include how to capture photos of celestial objects, what type of equipment is needed, and a host of helpful tips that will aid people in photographing the night sky. Also appearing in the Stryker Theater is Glen Swanson, an author and former NASA Historian, who will share Michigan’s Ties to the Space Program at 6:30 p.m. Mr. Swanson will chronicle the contributions of astronauts, people, and businesses that have helped us explore the realm of space.

Events and other sites participating in Michigan State’s Science Festival and SWAN can be found at