PRESTONSBURG — Big Sandy Community and Technical College’s East Kentucky Science Center celebrated National Astronomy Day with free entry, activities, and several free shows in the planetarium on Saturday.
The center is home to what director Steve Russo calls “the most advanced planetarium in the United States,” which houses roughly $1 million worth of rare, special equipment in conjunction with a 30,000 watt sound system surrounding 85 seats. The day’s shows included SolarQuest, a short film detailing the nature of our sun, and Astronaut, a film that delves into—and simulates for the audience—the training and skills that go into being a spacecraft pilot.
Activities and attractions at the center include a real tire flown in space on one of the Discovery shuttle missions, a closed booth hurricane simulator, an actual iron meteorite, and numerous other hands-on experiments and displays.
Astronomy Day is a nationwide event, and an opportunity, Russo says, for the center to give back to the community by opening its doors for free and allowing visitors of all ages to come see what they have on offer. They also held a free drawing where one lucky winner took home a new telescope.
Over the past few years, Astronomy Day events at the science center have averaged between 200 and 400 visitors. Those interested in learning more about what the East Kentucky Science Center offers can visit bigsandy.kctcs.edu/EKSC or find them on Facebook.