Max and Paula Woodworth brought their five young children to experience the Family Earth and Sky Night at the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center Saturday night.
Scott, the oldest at 7, was asked about seeing the moon from telescope of longtime amateur astronomer Jim Cadieux. Then Scott’s little brother Daniel pointed his finger to the sky – and the moon.
“We’ve taken several trips here,” said Paula Woodworth. “There’s a First Monday program for home-schooled children.”
More than 300 adults and
children attended the event. The guest speaker was Russell Romonella, NASA’s director for safety and mission assurance at the John F. Kennedy Space Center. His visit was sponsored by the Astronomy Club of Augusta.
Children also got to see Jupiter and its moons in the DuPont Observatory on the Ruth Patrick roof, shown by another astronomy buff, David Boyd. Children and their parents also could see the planetarium show, “Worlds in Motion” - observing a universe on the move.
Another popular Ruth Patrick “staffer” greeted the kids. Raleigh is an owl who has lived at the facility for the past four years. He was injured in the city of Raleigh – hence his name – and could no longer fly.
Through training from student programs director Deborah McMurtrie, Raleigh has learned to remain on her glove and doesn’t mind when kids come close to say hello.
Earlier, Garrett DeLaughter, 7, took a close look at models of the planets - all of them sized appropriately.
“He has always been treated in the planets,” said his mother, Shannon DeLaughter.
The facility offered many activities Saturday, said the Earth and Sky Night coordinator, John Hutchens.
“I’m thrilled with the turnout,” he said. “We had some help from the Girl Scouts, and the Aiken Master Gardeners also participated.”