Written by Kelly Herbst, Astronomy Curator for the Virginia Living Museum. Updated every two weeks, more or less.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome to my new blog!  Some of you may already know me from years of Skylights columns in the Daily Press, and from weekly Sky Updates on WHRO for years before that.  Since both of those outlets for astronomy information are now gone, I've decided to try my hand at the 21st century version of such things.

My goal is to update this space every other Wednesday with information about the sky, current events in the world of astronomy and space science, things happening at the Virginia Living Museum, and the occasional (okay, probably more than occasional) sci fi movie or book reference.  I hope you'll find it a fun read, and full of information that you can share and enjoy (ha!  First Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference!) with friends and family.

Just to get acquainted a bit more properly, here's a picture of me looking quite commanding at the control desk of the Abbitt Planetarium.  We actually call it the Battle Bridge (and there's your first Star Trek reference!), and it's where I spend a lot of my time.  Come visit sometime!

Actually, come visit this weekend.  This Saturday, June 11, is the second Saturday of the month, and the second Saturday of every month is when the Abbitt Planetarium and Observatory open at night for a Star Party and Laser Light Night.  During this summer, we're expanding the fun with free early evening events in our Conservation Garden, and of course the Wild Side Cafe will be open from 6-10pm.  Observing the night sky is free too (weather permitting), and we'll begin setting up our telescopes around sunset (8:30pm these days).  You're welcome to bring along your own observing equipment if you like, or just drop by and check out the heavens through one of our telescopes.  It's always a fun time.  In the planetarium we'll have Virginia Skies (a live, guided tour of the night sky for that evening) at 7:30pm, Laser U2 (family-friendly) at 8:30pm, Hypnotica (awesome techno music) at 10pm, and finally Pink Floyd's The Wall at 11:30pm.  The shows are $6, or $10 for a double feature (half price for members!).  If you're a 2011 graduate, bring your tassel to the admissions desk and we'll give you a dollar off.

Finally, one thing I couldn't do with Skylights or the Weekly Sky Update was take questions from interested people.  Well, on a blog that's entirely possible!  So please feel free to leave me a comment or a question, and who knows?  You might see your topic show up in future post!

Carpe noctem,


  1. Kelly, this is great! Kumar and I will be there this Saturday night! Can't wait!

  2. Kelly, why is water the determining factor in finding life on other planets? Doesn't that limit our definition of life to a terrestrial, Earthly paradigm? Couldn't other forms of life exist that require a molecule other than water for survival?


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