Stargaz­ing at Its Finest

Where Philadelphia - - WHERE NOW PHILADELPHIA -

Summer nights mean starry skies. While drink­ing in the twin­kle of twi­light or catch­ing a flick be­neath moon beams are all well and good in our book, some­times, the best mo­ments are spent sim­ply look­ing up. For a night of ce­les­tial won­der­ment, Night Skies at the Joel N. Bloom Ob­ser­va­tory at The Franklin In­sti­tute (222 North 20th St.) is an ob­vi­ous choice. The event (this month June 8 and 22), led by Chief As­tronomer Der­rick Pitts, af­fords stargaz­ers the chance to view plan­ets and neb­u­lae through high-end, ul­tra-pow­er­ful tele­scopes. The ex­pe­ri­ence is ed­u­ca­tional, too, of­fer­ing cus­tom­iz­a­ble op­tions like plan­e­tar­ium shows, astron­omy ac­tiv­i­ties and live pre­sen­ta­tions. If you’re look­ing merely to rel­ish in the beauty of the night sky, Ben’s Starlight Lounge on the rooftop ob­ser­va­tion deck has a cash bar and a lovely view of the con­stel­la­tions.

Franklin In­sti­tute also fea­tures the im­mer­sive Plan­e­tar­ium. So when Mother Na­ture doesn’t co­op­er­ate, you can still take in the sights of our galaxy. The ex­pan­sive, domed the­ater shows how the night sky would ap­pear with­out the ef­fects of weather, pol­lu­tion and city lights. It’s quite a spectacle!

An­other hot spot for space ex­plo­ration in Philadelphia is the Joseph R. Lynch Ob­ser­va­tory at Drexel Uni­ver­sity (3141 Ch­est­nut St.), which reg­u­larly hosts pub­lic ob­ser­va­tion nights dur­ing which vis­i­tors can view the heav­ens through the city’s largest tele­scope. Plus, the cam­pus of­fers a so­lar tele­scope that al­lows space en­thu­si­asts a peek dur­ing day­light hours.

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