Night Skies at the Joel N. Bloom Observatory

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 7:00pm to 10:00pm

  • Adults
  • Families
  • Evening
  • Members
  • Public

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

Space Talk in the Franklin Theater

8:00 pm – The First African American in the Space Program

Richard Paul, one of the authors of We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program, will share the stories of those who broke the color barrier at NASA. As one of the first federal agencies to change its hiring practices, NASA and the men who integrated its ranks showed that the agency was inspirational not just for rocket launches and lunar landings.

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

Activities in Planetarium Hallway

7:00 to 10:00 pm

  • Star Decoder
    There is more to the stars than what we ordinarily see. Learn how we know what is burning in those gaseous celestial bodies.

  • Telescope Dissections
    Telescopes opened up the heavens to observations and discoveries without leaving our home here on Earth. Come explore the science of telescopes and get answers to the questions of “What makes up a telescope?” and “How do telescopes work?”


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 Gemini 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