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4/17 Events at AACC, B&A Trail Are Out of This World

April 1, 2010

      Anne Arundel Community College, Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails Inc. and the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Astrophysics Science Division are offering a full day and night of free, astronomy-related events on Saturday, April 17.

      Start your cosmic day with a 4.7 mile daytime “Planet Walk” on the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail and end it at AACC, where scholars will present two evening multimedia presentations followed by community stargazing.

      The daylong celebration begins at 10 a.m. when those on the Planet Walk can peruse two interpretive sculptures and 10 information stations representing the sun and planets. Each planet station is spaced its proportional distance from the sun along the trail between Glen Burnie and Severna Park.

      From 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., planetary scientists and astronomers from the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, area colleges and universities will be positioned at each station to provide information about that planet and answer questions. Walk or bicycle the course between the sun sculpture, located just south of Aquahart Road behind Harundale Plaza in Glen Burnie and the Pluto sculpture, located just north of the Earleigh Heights Road Ranger Station in Severna Park. Free parking is at each end of the Planet Walk.

      Event organizers suggest participants begin at the sun station. Those completing the Planet Walk can enter a drawing for door prizes that include a telescope and subscriptions to astronomy magazines. The Planet Walk will be canceled in the event of heavy rain.

      At 6 p.m., take your seat in Humanities Building Room 112 on AACC’s Arnold campus for “The Formation of Extrasolar Planets,” a multimedia presentation by Hannah Jang-Condell, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland College Park Department of Astronomy and the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Jang-Condell was a 2008 Kavli Fellow with the National Academy of Sciences and is a Michelson Postdoctoral Fellow at the university.

      At 7 p.m., enjoy the multimedia presentation “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Largest Planetary Ring in the Solar System” by Doug Hamilton, Ph.D., professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland College Park. Hamilton’s research interests focus on planetary science, orbital dynamics and the origin of the solar system. His scholarly articles have appeared in nearly 100 scientific publications.

      From 8-10:30 p.m., head outdoors – weather permitting – for a Community Stargazing Party at the AACC astronomy lab (observatory) located on the rear of parking lot “B.” AACC Astronomy Club members will help participants use the college telescopes and visitors may also bring their own telescopes.

      For additional information, visit, the event Web site, or download the event flier.PDF