We hosted a “Hasta la Vesta” event to celebrate the Dawn mission moving on from a successful year studying its first target, Vesta, and starting its journey to the second target, Ceres.  We used a lot of resources from NASA’s Hasta La Vesta website:

 We started with an introductory talk on the Solar System, to ensure everyone was clear what asteroids are, and the location of the main asteroid belt.  Since our first visitors were families with young children, the parents teamed up with the children for our “Grape or Raisin” activity.  Here participants compared the attributes of their 2 “samples” in the same way that scientists will be comparing the asteroids Ceres and Vesta!  This activity was enjoyed by all, especially the part that involved eating the samples at the end!


 We then watched a couple of fun music videos (from the Discovery program’s “Space School Musical” ) , as well as the superb “flight over Vesta” video, made using images of Vesta from the Dawn mission .

 By this time, many more visitors had arrived, just in time for the next activity “Active Accretion”.  Here, participants acted as interstellar dust grains orbiting the sun (yes, really!), gradually clumping together  to form planetesimals and then finally, protoplanets!

 Into the Planetarium next for a short presentation on the Dawn mission, followed by a Planetarium show about the solar system.  Unfortunately the weather was too cloudy for any telescope viewing afterwards, but overall, a successful event, which appeared to have been enjoyed by our approximately 30 visitors.


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    About Me

    I am the weekend events coordinator (voluntary position) at the Planetarium Science Centre, Accra, Ghana. We have 2 types of weekend events - meetings of the Astronomical Society of Ghana, and public events, which may include hands-on activities for children, planetarium show or telescope viewing. I am currently studying astronomy online, and also go into schools presenting science and astronomy sessions.


    Location:Accra, Greater Accra