GRAVETTE -- The Gravette Public Library hosted its fourth Moon Over Main Street event Saturday evening, Nov. 13, with about 70 persons attending. Members of the Sugar Creek Astronomical Society brought telescopes that were set up on Main Street and the streetlights were dimmed to allow better viewing of the night sky.
Adults and youngsters alike enjoyed looking through the telescopes, searching for and identifying the various planets and stars. Members of the astronomical society were on hand to assist by answering questions and helping viewers locate the visible space objects. Guests could visit the library for star charts which also helped in their search.
Exhibits were set up inside the
library providing information about the James Webb Space Telescope which is scheduled to launch on Dec. 18 in French Guiana. The 13,700-pound telescope will use infrared technology and will be able to see farther than the Hubble Telescope currently in orbit. It will also be better able to penetrate the dust and debris floating in space which will result in sharper images. A video presentation allowed visitors to view scenes of how the telescope will unfold and prepare for use after its launch.
Other exhibits allowed viewers to track the orbits of planets, comets, asteroids and spacecraft through NASA's Eyes, an interactive computer visualization, and displayed NASA-issued gloves that the astronauts wear on their missions. Youngsters were able to put on the gloves and try to write their names, giving them a feel for how tasks are performed while in space.
A series of videos showing Indian legends about the planets and stars was available for viewing. These Star Stories, provided through the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of the American Indian, featured legends from the Arkikara, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Chipewayan, Ho-Chunk, Chippewa, Cree, Mohawk and Paiute tribes. They were shown in recognition of November being Native American Heritage Month.
Visitors were served hot spiced cider, Moon Pies and Milky War bars, and children were given free art kits.
This year's Moon Over Main Street event was a part of the [email protected] space science program and was funded through a $1,600 grant from NASA. It is the first of a series of events that are part of the NASA program. Other activities will include distributing "Look Up! Explore Our Universe" Take & Make kits in December, a "First Images" event in early 2022 featuring images sent back from the James Webb telescope, and the "Oceans of Possibilities" reading program in the summer of 2022.