Each year, a global annual celebration of the spectacular cosmos takes place, usually in spring. FSCJ has participated in this celebration for nearly a decade. The 2017 Astronomy Day event was held at Cecil Center.
Astronomy Day featured events and talks by local amateur astronomers with the Northeast Florida Astronomical Society, Museum of Science & History and FSCJ students, through the College’s Transformational Academic Project. Attendees, made up of College students, staff and members of the public, were able to experience what it is like to live and work in space, touch a large meteorite, safely observe the sun, see what might grow on Mars and even create a model of Saturn and its rings.
The highlight of the event was a talk by Astronomy Magazine Senior Editor Michael Bakich on this summer’s solar eclipse. He outlined what will happen during the eclipse and why it is best to travel to the part of totality, as close as Charleston, South Carolina. Bakich quipped, “Going to see a partial solar eclipse, like you will have here in Jacksonville, versus the total solar eclipse, is like going to the Super Bowl and sitting outside in the parking lot versus going inside for the game.”
This event reached across all ages and communities. One young man and his grandfather even drove from Georgia to participate. When seeing the moon for the first time through a telescope, the nine-year old simply shrieked with excitement. A little later, as the young man and his grandfather were leaving, he said he wanted to be the first person on Mars.