Night Skies in the Observatory

Tuesday, August 14, 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.



Shows in Fels Planetarium

7:15 pm –The Sky Tonight
8:15 pm – To Space and Back 
9:15 pm – The Sky Tonight 

Space Talk in the Franklin Theater

8:00 – Dillon Brout, University of Pennsylvania
"Discovering the First-Ever Binary Neutron Star Collision"
The first ever observations of two colliding neutron stars on August 17th 2017 marked the beginning of a new era of Astrophysics and Cosmology. University of Pennsylvania graduate student Dillon Brout will talk about his team's search to find these colliding stars and re-enact the exciting moments of the discovery, the scientific breakthroughs that resulted, as well as prospects for the future.

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

  • Blast Off!
    Get a little boost as we explore the physics that allows rockets to launch into space. 
  • 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.


Joel M. Bloom Observatory
7:00 to 10:00 pm

We will be viewing the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Featured constellations will be Ursa Major, Cygnus, Lyra, Aquila, Sagittarius, Scorpius, Pegasus, and Andromeda.  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 Cygnus 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 
  • Space 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 the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Featured constellations will be Ursa Major, Cygnus, Lyra, Aquila, Sagittarius, Scorpius, Pegasus, and Andromeda. 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 credit 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