Port Discovery and NASA invite children, families to learn about light, optics

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— On Sunday, August 2, 2015, Port Discovery Children’s Museum will host its second of four NASA Sunday Experiments, a series of hands-on, inquiry-based activities focused on specific NASA missions from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

The upcoming Sunday Experiment will feature activities to help visitors learn about lights and optics. At NASA, researchers look far, far away to learn about the structure of our universe to understand how stars form and if they have planets that could support life. They also study Earth to see how it is changing. Much of what is known about these things comes from light traveling from these objects to NASA’s optical instruments.

Hands-on activities will teach children how instruments built at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland use optics to unlock the secrets carried in this light.

These instruments help NASA answer the important questions about an object: “what does it look like?” (with imagers, that operate using reflection and refraction), “what is it made of?” (with spectrometers, which spread light into a rainbow using dispersion & diffraction), and “what can we learn about the structure?” (with polarimeters, measuring the light’s polarization).

NASA Sunday Experiments are free with museum admission. Additional Sunday Experiment dates are scheduled for Sunday, August 23, 2015 and Sunday, October 11, 2015.