Learn more about the sky on astronomy day

Family-friendly event features activities, lectures, workshops and stargazing

Greater Victoria residents are invited to get a closer view of space as the University of Victoria hosts its annual Astronomy Day celebration featuring Bob McDonald, host of CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks, April 28.

The event features family-friendly activities throughout the day, including telescope making, solar viewing, astrophotography workshops, hourly lectures, and an outdoor planetary walk.

In the evening (weather permitting), guests can stargaze through a large, 32-inch telescope on the roof of the Bob Wright Centre.

McDonald will share his views on how space has evolved during his lifetime, in a presentation titled Vacations in Space: The Hottest Holiday Spots in the Solar System.

“As a journalist, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the exploration of our solar system by robot,” he said. “I wanted to give a little travelogue of how I’ve felt like a passenger on Columbus’ ship as we’ve explored new worlds.”

McDonald will have pictures of discoveries, such as Mars’ pink sky, Jupiter’s ring, and volcanoes and oceans located on moons, to share.

He encourages folks to come out and celebrate because there is a lot to learn about our universe.

“There’s so much we don’t know about our universe … 95 per cent of the universe is something totally mysterious to us,” McDonald said.

We need to realize how small and precious Earth is, and we need to take care of our planet because it’s the only planet humans can live on, he added.

Astronomy Day runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with evening activities from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., at UVic’s Bob Wright Centre, located east of the Elliott Building and south of parking lot B.

McDonald’s speech starts at 7:30 p.m. in room A104 of the Centre.

All-day parking is available for $2.25 but admission to the event is free.

For more information, visit victoria.rasc.ca/events/AstroDay/2012.