Spacing out

Children’s museum hosts astronomy event

Sierra Lyons, 5, of Negaunee peaks through a telescope with the help of Marquette Astronomical Society member Scott Stobbelaar. The activity was part of the Second Thursday Creativity Series at the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum, which had a “Space!” theme. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — A new community arrival made its appearance during the Second Thursday Creativity Series at the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum.

The Marquette Astronomical Society brought a new telescope, nicknamed “Galileo,” that will go to the Peter White Public Library for public checkout, as is the case with the other telescope it provided the library.

The public appearance was fitting since “Space!” was the theme Thursday night.

MAS member Scott Stobbelaar helped demonstrate the telescope to youngsters who were allowed to take a peek.

“It has a bigger extension,” Stobbelaar said. “We put more lenses on it so it doubles the magnification.”

Since the event took place indoors, the telescope was focused on a moon chart placed near a railing in the museum.

The MAS also brought a display recognizing the Apollo 11 moon landing.

A little demonstration added to the experience as well.

A rock was dropped on dirt containing flour that sprayed up upon impact. It wasn’t the actual moon, but it was a decent simulation.

“When you look at the moon, you see craters,” Stobbelaar said. “You see these rays of white stuff spraying up.”

When a meteor hits it, he said, it sprays the white stuff out and makes the rays.

The demo impressed 3-year-old Deshawn Lyons of Negaunee.

“Do it again,” the boy asked.

Other projects available to kids at various stations Thursday included crafts where they could create alien helmets, planet paintings and a “planet bead” necklace.

The StarLab from the Glenn T. Seaborg Mathematics and Science Center at Northern Michigan University allowed youngsters to take a short tour of the solar system and beyond.

The night’s VIP was Carrie Pearson, author of the new book “Stretch to the Sun: From a Tiny Sprout to the Tallest Tree on Earth” about redwood ecosystems.

UPCM employee Hayley Maskus ran the “Star Bar” in the kitchen area where kids could create their own “space sundaes” with two toppings of their choice.

“We’ve had combinations from bits of brickle with chocolate chips to marshmallow and chocolate chips,” Maskus said.

Coming up at the UPCM is “Hunting for Words” at Literacy Night. Sponsored by the Literacy Legacy Fund of Michigan, the event will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, with free admission, snacks and books.

For more information on the UPCM, located at 123 W. Baraga Ave., visit, call 906-226-3911 or look it up on Facebook.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is