Night Skies at the Joel N. Bloom Observatory

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 7:00pm to 10:00pm

  • Adults
  • Families
  • Evening
  • Members
  • Public

Due to icy conditions, the 5th floor roof observation deck will be closed this evening

Join us for an evening of ‘out of this world’ astronomy activities hosted by Franklin Institute Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts. ‘Night Skies at the Observatory’ is a monthly stargazing event connecting you to celestial objects in the night sky including stars, planets, and nebulae using telescopes in Bloom Observatory and at ‘Ben’s Starlight Lounge’ on our 5th floor rooftop observation deck, featuring a cash bar. Build your own experience from any combination of planetarium shows, a live science talk on astronomy or space science, hands-on astronomy activities and continuous telescopic observing all evening (weather permitting). The program is staffed with knowledgeable observers and free star maps are provided.

Purchase Member Tickets

Purchase Tickets



Shows in Fels Planetarium

  • 7:15 pm – The Sky Tonight
  • ​9:15 pm – To space and back

Please note time and show schedule changes

Space Talk in the Franklin Theater

8:00 pm - NOVA Black Hole Apocalypse Screening & Astronomer Q&A

Presented by WHYY and The Franklin Institute

Black holes have long been a mystery, leaving scientists to wonder where they come from and what happens if you fall into one – until now. Astronomers stand at the edge of discovery, as captured by the NOVA’s new documentary, Black Hole Apocalypse. Hosted by acclaimed astronomer Janna Levin, the film explores the latest research on black holes and their significance in the universe. Join us for a preview screening and Q&A with Levin and The Franklin Institute’s chief astronomer Derrick Pitts, as they discuss the power of black holes and consider if our universe could exist without them.

The Theater is first come and first serve and will open 15 minutes before show time

Activities in Planetarium Hallway

7:00 to 10:00 pm

  • Down the Well
    Black Holes have the strongest gravitational field out of any objects in the universe; the gravitational pull is so strong, not even light can escape it! Our activity will talk about how black holes capture and destroy all matter in their path across the universe.
  • Cause & Effect
    Astronomers know that black holes exist not from directly observing them but from the effects they have on their surroundings. Come join us to learn about why this is and what their cause and effects might mean for universe.


Joel N. Bloom Observatory

7:00 to 10:00 pm

We will be viewing objects in the Perseus, Cygnus, Orion, Pegasus and Taurus Constellations. The Bloom Observatory will have knowledgeable astronomers available to assist in looking through our historic 10” Zeiss refracting telescope and our 9.25” Celestron Deluxe CPC 925 reflecting telescope.

Weather Permitting


Activities in the Space Lounge

7:00 to 10:00 pm

  • 3D Constellation Detective
    Ever wonder what a constellation might look like if you looked at it from a different part of the universe? Check out the constellation Taurus this month as a scaled 3D model.
  • Night Vision Pins
    Learn about light adaptation and make your own souvenir pin to help guide you for a night of stargazing
  • Live ISS & Mars Feeds
    We will have screens set up to show the live feeds coming from the International Space Station and Mars Curiosity Rover and a knowledgeable staff member available to answer questions about them.

Telescope Viewing on the Roof Deck

7:00 to 10:00 pm

We will be viewing objects in the Perseus, Cygnus, Orion, Pegasus and Taurus Constellations. There will be two 8” Celestron CPC 800 reflecting telescopes and two 12” Orion Dobsonian reflecting telescopes set up viewing the heavens with knowledgeable astronomers stationed at every telescope to answer questions and assist guests with looking through the telescopes.

Weather Permitting


  • Observatory and telescope viewing are weather permitting.
  • Planetarium shows and talks have limited seating and are on a first-come, first-served basis. The Planetarium and Theater will open 15 minutes before show times.


  • Thirsty? There is a fifth floor bar in the lounge; cash and credits cards are accepted.
  • The bar does not sell food but there are vending machines located on the first floor.

Purchase Member Tickets

Purchase Tickets

Ticket Prices:

$10 for Non-Members

$5 for Members