Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids, Meteors Opens at 
the Delaware Museum of Natural History January 30    

Wilmington, DE –  Asteroids and comets have had a significant effect on Earth’s history, and they are likely to influence the future as well. While asteroids and comets are popular subjects for movies such as Armageddon and Deep Impact, they are also playing their own starring role in NASA research.

 
The Delaware Museum of Natural History’s Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids, Meteors shares recent discoveries and cutting-edge planetary science with a variety of interactive, multimedia experiences, ranging from computer-based activities to a larger scale pod where visitors can play the role of explorer-in-training. 
 
Great Balls of Fire was developed by the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning, with funding from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and is sponsored locally by DuPont. 
Additionally, thanks to collaborations with NASA, ILC Dover, Delaware Astronomical Society, Mt Cuba Astronomical Observatory, and Delaware Valley Paleontological Society, the museum is featuring several space-related exhibits to augment Great Balls of Fire, including

  a high-altitude flight suit and a NASA space suit, four different kinds of telescopes for stargazing, meteorite specimens, and photographs by local amateur astronomers of sunspots, Comet Hale-Bopp, Orion Nebula and more.

Great Balls of Fire Interactive activities include:
  • Go on a mission to gather data about asteroids and comets.
  • Operate a blink comparator device to understand one of the tools astronomers use to find Near Earth Objects.
  • Learn how scientists use light curves to determine the shape and movement of asteroids.
  • Save Earth and learn about gravity by trying to divert a “rubble pile” asteroid from impacting our planet.
  • See what would happen if a comet or asteroid hit your town.
  • Shoot a projectile into a water tank and use a Spin Browser to manipulate high speed video of your impact.
  • Examine a collection of rocks and use tests (magnetism, color, density) to determine which is a meteorite.
  • Watch clips from Hollywood movies such as Armageddon and The Empire Strikes Back and determine if they got the science right.
  • Build your own solar system, including asteroid belts and comets, using a 42″ touch-table display.
WHAT: Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids, Meteors
WHERE: Delaware Museum of Natural History, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE, 19807
DATE: January 30 – May 30, 2016
TIME: Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sunday 12-4:30 p.m.
ADMISSION: $9 for adults, $7 for children (3-17), $8 for seniors, FREE for children 2 and younger. FREE for Museum members.
MORE INFO: Visit www.delmnh.org or call (302) 658-9111
Media are invited to attend the members’ preview on Friday, January 29, 5:30-7 p.m. Please contact Jennifer Acord, jacord@delmnh.org for more information.
About the Delaware Museum of Natural History  
As the only natural history museum in the state, the Delaware Museum of Natural History opened its doors in 1972 to excite and inform people about the natural world through exploration and discovery. The museum houses Delaware’s only permanent dinosaur display, surrounded by exhibits of mammals, shells, and other specimens from around the world. The museum stores renowned scientific collections of mollusks and birds, including one of the top-ten mollusk collections in the United States.