FARMINGTON — The sky will be the limit Saturday evening at the Farmington Museum, as the museum presents "Astronomy Night," a free family-oriented event that will offer a glimpse into the heavens and give kids hands-on activities to help them learn about space.

Utilizing the museum's mobile Stardome, which is an inflatable planetarium -- equipped with a projector -- that can hold thirty or forty people at a time, visitors will have a chance to take a tour through the solar system and learn about the night sky.

Donna Thatcher, coordinator for the Riverside Nature Center, will be discussing how the sky changes at night and throughout the year, and will point out the various constellations. Thatcher will also discuss traditional Greek and Roman legends about the constellations, and will present some versions from other cultures, such as the Philippines. She will also tell some constellation stories from the Navajo culture.

"Telling the stories of the constellations helps you remember them -- if you remember the story and how the constellations are related to each other, it helps you to find them in the sky," said Thatcher.

Thatcher said that in the Navajo culture, origin stories and stories about ancient history can only be told during the winter months.

"Only after the first snowfall and before the first thunder, so because it's winter I can include a few Navajo stories," she said.

In addition to the Stardome presentations, stations will be set up throughout the museum for kids to learn about other aspects of space and space travel. Samples of space food will be available to try, and kids can also test their hand strength and try on the bulky gloves that astronauts use in space. The museum also plans to offer a live Internet question and answer session with Christopher Blair from the Johnson Space Center.

"We will also be making our own simple constellations that you can see by shining a flashlight on the ceiling, and there will be telescopes outside set up on the terrace to view the night sky," said Cherie Powell, education coordinator for the E-3 Children's Museum. "We will also use marshmallows to show what happens in a vacuum, and will make paper rockets. It will be a nice drop-in family activity."


What: Farmington Museum’s Astronomy Night

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Farmington Museum, 3041 E. Main St.

Cost: Free

More info: Call 505-599-1174, or visit

Leigh Black Irvin covers health for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4610 and Follow her @irvindailytimes on Twitter.