If you’re in or near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this week, I strongly encourage you to participate in the annual Philadelphia Science Festival, which began on Friday and lasts through the coming weekend. Astronomy magazine and the Astronomy Foundation are each proud to be partners in this big event, which last year drew 120,000 people to celebrate science.
Now in its second year, the festival is a 10-day, community-wide celebration of science that features lectures, debates, hands-on activities, special exhibitions, and a variety of other informal science education activities for Philadelphians of all ages. The festival’s mission is to provide opportunities for all Philadelphia-area residents to engage with and build a community around science, engineering, and technology, and to showcase the role that each plays in the region.
I was made aware of the event through Derrick Pitts, the energetic and knowledgeable astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Derrick is a major part of the festival and participates in several important stargazing events during the 10-day period. Karen Jennings of the Astronomy Foundation, who was instrumental in making this connection, will be on site to participate in this year’s primary stargazing night, Friday, April 27. (Several of us from the magazine will instead be at the Northeast Astronomy Forum at the same time.)
The Philadelphia Science Festival Astronomy Night, on the 27th, will feature observing with numerous telescopes in 23 different locations, including Franklin Square (near the Institute), Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Battleship New Jersey Memorial, Laurel Hill Cemetery, and Swarthmore College.
And now let me put out a plea for astronomy clubs in the Philadelphia area — The Philadelphia Science Festival can still use your help. If you’re willing to bring along a telescope and help share the universe with others, the festival needs you. Please contact Josette Hammerstone at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in finding out more.
Help celebrate astronomy in Philadelphia!