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'Spotlight on the Stars' week features galaxy of free activities

Joanna Dodder/The Daily Courier<br />Children enjoyed making rockets, spaceships and fanciful hats during past Spotlight on the Stars events.<br />

Joanna Dodder/The Daily Courier<br />Children enjoyed making rockets, spaceships and fanciful hats during past Spotlight on the Stars events.<br />

Telescopes, human sundials, observatory tours, free stuff, science experiments and moon cookies - all are part of the seventh annual "Spotlight on the Stars" week of events April 11-17.

The Prescott Astronomy Club puts on all these free events in conjunction with the Prescott Public Library and the Parks and Recreation Department.

The week kicks off Sunday with "Celebrate the Sun Day" on the Prescott Public Library courtyard and lawn from 1-3 p.m. It features free items to take home, solar telescopes for safe viewing of the sun, human and paper sundials and solar panels from Arizona Public Service.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will conduct an open house at its observatory from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday. It includes tours, telescopes, hands-on activities and a raffle for a free telescope. From Willow Creek Road going north, turn left at the second of three campus entrances (Dan Carrell Drive) and stop at the first building, the visitors center. Signs will point the way. Shuttles will run from the visitors center to the observatory.

An after-school party for all ages from 1-4 p.m. Wednesday at the Prescott Library will feature all kinds of space activities from the NASA Educator Resource Center and the NightSky Network, the Planet Quest game, telescopes and free handouts.

The Lowell Observatory's new Discovery Channel Telescope will be the topic of the "Third Thursday" presentation in the Founders Suite at the library at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Will Grundy from Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff will talk about the telescope and its study of Kuiper Belt Objects.

A big family "Science Fun for Everyone" party takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the library.

Teachers, PTA, PTO and home-school parents are especially invited to stop by the Founders Suite in the library during those hours Saturday, where Mary Lara and Stacy DeVeau will offer lots of free resources about how to host a family science night at your school. Lara is Arizona's NASA/JPL solar system educator and president of the Arizona Science Teachers Association, while DeVeau heads up the NASA Educator Resource Center based in Prescott.

Other family party activities throughout the three-hour event Saturday will include games for preschool kids, making impact craters and comets, demonstrations of the latest Meade telescopes and equipment, a demonstration of solar panels and generators by APS, along with giveaways, and using radio telescopes to view the sun.

Spotlight Week will conclude with a Star Party at the Watson Lake gazebo on Saturday evening. Astronomy Club members will set up telescopes for the public to use from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and offer help with telescope tune-ups at 6:30 p.m. The lake is located off Highway 89 in north Prescott.

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