Approximately 4,000 people celebrated a night filled with science that came with a shot of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and a can of ice-cold beer sans the kids.
Advertised as an adult-only experience, the Orlando Science Center held its Science Night Live event on Feb. 20 and included astrophotography presentations, interactive displays, puzzles, trivia and a virtual tour of America's national parks in the CineDome.
Billie D. Davis, a 2008 alumna with a bachelor’s in education, said this was her first time coming to Science Night Live.
“Orlando Science Center comes to my school,” said Davis, a teacher at Imagine School in West Melbourne.
“I brought my fiancee here. We’re having a really great time. When we first got here we went to the observatory. We saw Jupiter, the moon and the Orion Nebula,” Davis said.
The Crosby Observatory was packed with stargazers eagerly awaiting their turn to catch a glimpse of the cosmos.
Another entertaining and visual component of the night was a presentation of striking pictures of night skies capturing millions of stars in the few areas left in America that do not contain light pollution. The presentation was given by Derek Demeter, the Planetarium Director at Seminole State College of Florida.
“Without all that light pollution in places like international parks, we’re able to photograph those objects that we couldn’t do in the city,” Demeter said while showing that even in far distances from light-polluted cities, people could still see a heavy glow of light entering the dark sky causing fewer stars to appear.
“How many of you have ever had the chance to just look up in the sky and ponder the world? That’s something that we’ve lost -- and our sheer amount of discovery. So what I want to ask you all today is to take the next couple of years and plan a trip, plan a road trip, somewhere you could enjoy the night sky. Take a loved one and ponder the universe,” Demeter suggested at the end of his presentation.
Chris Mayhew, the comedy director of UCF's Campus Activities Board, attended the event for the second time.
“It’s a lot of fun to see all the science stuff. Most UCF students don’t know exactly what happens here, especially nights like this,” Mayhew said.
General admission to Science Night Live was $15; however, members enjoyed Science Night Live for free.
Veronica Brezina is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org