Pasadena Educates the Community on Space Science During Astronomy Week

Astronomy Week will take place July 14 to July 21. – Courtesy photo

Storytimes, robots, and telescopes will give you a look into the outer reaches of space during Astronomy Week

By Jackie Contreras

In just a few days, the public will be able to experience several space-themed events all around Pasadena. Taking place July 14 to July 21, Astronomy Week aims to celebrate Pasadena’s history in space research and science, as well as inspire people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) no matter their background.

Carnegie Observatories, Caltech Astronomy, the Giant Magellan Telescope, the NASA Exoplanet Program, Pasadena City College, the Pasadena Museum of History, and the Planetary Society are among the many institutions and organizations partaking in this space-filled week. In addition, student STEM leaders from the community will be exhibiting alongside these institutions.

The week opens with AstroFest at the Pasadena Convention Center, where children and adults alike will be able to race robots, take virtual reality tours, learn about telescopes, and stargaze. The rest of the week will feature storytelling, Lego contests, and more chances to look at the night sky.

Though several of the same events from the first Astronomy Week in 2016 are scheduled again this year, AstroFest will double in size with 18 organizations sponsoring over 30 activities, according to Dr. Janice Lee, Astrofest chairperson and Caltech astronomer.

This year’s Astronomy Week announcement came two months after Pasadena’s declaration of STEAM18, an initiative to promote STEM and the arts through diverse events and activities.

In light of the arts portion of STEAM, the Huntington Library is currently showcasing “Radiant Beauty,” a set of astronomical drawings from the 19th century by E.L. Trouvelot, until July 30. Though the arts are not commonly associated with science, Lee says it helps others view astronomy in a different manner.

“Art allows us to communicate the wonders of astronomy, which can sometimes be esoteric, in a visceral, compelling way,” she said in an email.

There will also be an opening reception at the ArtCenter’s Williamson Gallery for the art exhibit “MOONS” on July 20, which will be on display until December.

Caltech will be hosting COSPAR 2018 – an assembly for scientists to exchange information in space research – for the duration of Astronomy Week. It will be the 42nd assembly, and will bring about 3,000 space science professionals and leaders to the city.

Below is the list of events happening across Pasadena during Astronomy Week:

  • July 14: AstroFest and Stargazing, 2-10 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center.
  • July 16: Introduction to the Innovation Lab, 5 p.m. at the Pasadena Central Library.
    • Astronomy on Tap, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Der Wolfskopf.
  • July 17: Astronomy on Tap, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Der Wolfskopf.
  • July 18: Public Lecture by Sara Seager, 8-9:30 p.m. at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
  • July 19: MOONS Exhibit Opening Reception 7-10 p.m. at ArtCenter’s hillside campus.
  • July 20: Public Lecture and Stargazing by Donal O’Sullivan, 8-10 p.m. at Caltech, Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium.
  • July 21: Lego Contest Showcase Day, 2-4:15 p.m. at the Pasadena Central Library.

This series of events will allow scientists and the public to converge and learn about the intricacies of the greater beyond we call space. From learning about the possibilities of living on the moon or other planets, to witnessing a planetarium show, all the activities will provide fun and enjoyment for the whole family. For more information, visit

July 12, 2018

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