Sunday, September 13, 2020

Explore the Universe with the RVCC Planetarium!

Our galleries are dark and our planetarium is quiet. But we're still here for you virtually. 

The Planetarium and Observatory are closed temporarily.

For information and guidance about Covid-19 as it relates to RVCC, click here.

Keep looking up at those lovely skies!

Your friends at RVCC Planetarium


Virtual Field Trips

Teachers, Principals, and Science Supervisors, contact us to schedule virtual field trips for your students. These programs are led by a live Planetarium Educator and include time for Q&A at the end. These programs are available for all ages (PreSchool - Adult), unless otherwise noted.

Fee: $75 for a class (up to 30 students)
Programs run approximately 45 minutes.

·     Rockin' Rocket Ride: Our popular show has an online version. Join us on an adventure into space to learn about the Sun, Moon, and planets. (Grades PreK-K)

·     To the Moon and Back: Begin with a story about the Moon, then watch the Moon change shape in our virtual sky, and pretend to be astronauts who can travel there. (for PreK-Grade 2)

·     Cosmic Address: You probably know your home address, but what about where you live in the Universe? (Grades K-4) MS and HS version coming soon.

·     Our Solar System: go on a tour of the planets in our solar system (Grades K-12)

·     Tonight's Sky: identify stars and constellations we can see tonight and learn some constellation stories that go along with them. (Grades K-12)

·     Patterns in the Sky: The Sun observe the Sun's rising and setting positions through the year. (Grades 2-12)

·     Patterns in the Sky: Moon Phases Why and how does the Moon's shape change? (Grades 2-12)

  • True or False, Astronomy Version: Some statements seem obvious, but are they? We'll explore statements like "brighter stars are closer to us" and "the Moon is only visible at night." (Grades 5-12)


Hello Fall!

The Autumnal Equinox is on September 22, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. EDT. At that time, the Sun's light will be shining onto the Equator. All around our planet, the length of day and night is nearly equal.

In New Jersey, we'll see the Sun reach 50 degrees above our horizon at noon. It doesn't pass directly overhead in New Jersey—ever. Even on the summer solstice, the Sun attains a maximum altitude of 73 degrees, never 90.

Folklore says that you can balance an egg on its end on the Equinox. You can! But you can also do that any day of the year, so give it a try today.

Watch at Home!

We've linked to over a dozen planetarium shows on our website for you to enjoy at home. You can learn about stars and planets, mythology stories, flight, and even the weather! 

The Sky in September

Jupiter and Saturn remain in the evening skies and are now moving closer to one another. They will have an extremely close conjunction in December 2020.

Venus remains in the morning skies throughout the month. Keep an eye on Venus as the Moon passes it before mid-month. The morning of Sept 14 shows a nice pairing of Venus and the Moon only about five degrees apart. Venus passes 2 degrees south (lower right) of the Beehive cluster on September 13. Under sufficiently dark skies, the cluster is visible to the naked eye, though required averted vision to see it. Use binoculars or a telescope to see more detail. Watch as Venus moves closer to the star Regulus throughout September heading to their apparent closest positions early next month. The pair are 30 degrees apart on Sept 6, and end the month only 3 degrees apart.

Earth continues closing in on Mars, causing the Red Planet to brighten from magnitude -1.8 to -2.5 this month.

The Autumnal Equinox is on September 22 at 9:30 a.m. EDT. 

Moon Phases in September

Last Quarter September 10

New Moon September 17

First Quarter September 23

Full Moon October 1 Harvest Moon