Note from the organizers:


The third annual Exploring Your Universe event was a hit! Despite poor weather we had over 1500 visitors, who participated in activities, demos, talks, and planetarium shows. You can see photos of the event here! Thank you everyone who attended!

If you would like to know more about our outreach program at UCLA Astronomy Live! then please email us at outreach [at]

Thank you,
Astronomy Live! Outreach Coordinators

Exploring Your Universe 2011

Exploring Your Universe 2011 will take place on Saturday, November 12, 2011 from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm at UCLA's campus (see Visitor Info link above for general directions and scroll down on this page for a detailed campus map specific to this event). This event is FREE of charge to the public and FAMILY-FRIENDLY! We will feature many activities and demonstrations open to the general public (including students), and we plan to have more than last year! Activities for all ages include workshops, faculty and graduate student talks, planetarium shows, solar telescope viewing, comet making, weather tours, dinosaur fossils, physics demos and much more! This event includes participation from Astronomy Live!, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, the CNSI High School NanoScience Program, the Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, ESSN, SMACS, Alpha Chi Sigma, ESUC, and OSA/SPIE. It is sponsored by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, UCLA Center for Student Programming, and each of the departments listed above. This event was developed by graduate students, faculty, and staff in each of the these departments.

Exploring Your Universe will still be held even if there is rain. All outdoor activities will be moved into the Math Sciences Building, the Geology Building, and the Physics and Astronomy Building. The Info Booth will be at the Math Sciences Building. So rain or shine plan on coming, but maybe bring an umbrella just in case!

Event Schedule


The primary event will take place in the Court of Sciences with activities and demos at the Physics and Astronomy Building, Mathematical Sciences Building, Geology Building, and near Kinsey Pavilion. You are welcome to come for any or all of the festivities! Feel free to pick workshops and activities you are interested in attending.


Astronomy (12:00 - 5:00 pm) (Court of Sciences unless otherwise noted):
- How the Sun works and solar telescope viewing
- Stellar Evolution
- Bottle Rockets
- Light and Spectra Lab (Mathematical Sciences 5203)
- Comet Making Demo
- Pocket Solar System and Asteroids
- Constellation Detectives
- Discovery methods for finding new worlds beyond our solar system
- Planetarium Shows (Mathematical Sciences 8th floor): Every half hour starting 12:30 pm! Pick up tickets to planetarium at the Information Booth.

Physics (12:00 - 5:00 pm) (Physics and Astronomy Building - PAB):
- See radiation in a Cloud Chamber
- The science behind Optical Illusions
- Discovering the Speed of Sound
-Electricity and Magnetism
- Physics Demo Shows (rm 1-425): 2:30 -3:30, 4:00 – 5:00
- Singing Tesla Coil Show (rm 1-425): 2:00 – 2:30, 3:30 – 4:00
- Life of Tesla Video (rm 1-425): 5:00 - 6:00

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (meet in lobby of Mathematical Sciences):
- Inside Look at Weather Observations and Forecasting Tour (requires walking up some stairs): 1:00-2:00 pm, 2:30-3:30 pm

Earth and Space Sciences (12:00 - 5:00 pm) (Geology Building):
- Spectacular Rock and Mineral Displays 
- Fossil and Fossil Cast Displays 
- Earthquake Education Demonstrations 
- Stalactite Collection on Display 
- Petrified Wood Collection on Display 
- Understanding Fluid Dynamic Systems 
- Understanding Meteorites and MeteorWrongs 
- Making Fossil Casts 

NASA Mission Representation (12:00-5:00 pm) (Geology Building/ Court of Sciences):
- THEMIS: Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms -
- ARTEMIS: Studying Space Weather -
- Dawn: Investigating the conditions and processes of the solar system's earliest epoch-
- Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment -
- STEREO: Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory -

CEIN - Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (12:00-5:00 pm) (Court of Sciences):
- What is nanoscience, and what is special about nanoscale science and engineering?
- Hands-on activities for all ages.  Q&A with scientists

CNSI High School NanoScience Program (12:00-5:00 pm)(Court of Sciences):
- Learn about nanoscience and nanotechnology. 
- Hands-on activities about Self-Assembly, Superhydrophobic Surfaces, and Magnetic Fluids!

Environmental Sciences (12:00-5:00 pm) (Court of Sciences):
-Climate Change: Causes & Consequences
-Sustainable Practices
-Solar Power Demo

Chemistry (12:00-5:00 pm) (Court of Sciences):
- Paint your nails using water as an applicator
- Explore the DNA of a strawberry
- And more!

Engineering (12:00-5:00 pm) (Court of Sciences):
- See the Baja Dune-buggy designed and built by students
- Learn about cool things engineers do and the wide scope of engineering

OSA/SPIE (Optical Society of America/The International Society for Optical Engineering)(12:00-5:00 pm) (Court of Sciences):
- Explore how optics work!

SCIENTIFIC TALKS (located in Mathematical Sciences Room 5200):

1:30-2:00 pm: David Jewitt (Earth and Space Sciences)
"DAWN: NASA's Mission to Asteroid VESTA"

2:30-3:00 pm: Richard Kaner (Chemistry)
"Fun With Chemistry"

3:30-4:00 pm: Matthew Malkan (Astronomy)
"Lookback Time: What's New in the Young Universe"

4:30-5:00 pm: Andrea Ghez (Astronomy)
"The Galactic Center Project: Uncovering the Pulse of our Galaxy"


Astronomy (5:00 - 8:00 pm) (Mathematical Sciences 8/9th floor):
- Planetarium Shows (continued)
- Telescopes Viewing (with extra participation from the LA Astronomical Society - TBD

Physics (5:00 - 8:00 pm) (Mathematical Sciences 8/9th floor)
- Shadow Wall
- Light Tunnel

We would like to thank the Groups and Departments involved in Exploring Your Universe 2011: Astronomy Live!, Physics and Astronomy Department, Earth and Space Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, UC CEIN, CNSI High School NanoScience Program, ESSN, SMACS, Alpha Chi Sigma, ESUC, and OSA/SPIE

Information for Visitors

Purchasing Food:

In the Ackerman Student Union, which is very close to the Court of Sciences, there is food for purchase.

Carl's Junior -- A Level -- 8:30am - 6pm
Jamba Juice -- A Level -- 11am - 6pm
Kerckhoff Coffee House -- 2nd Floor -- 8am - 6pm
Sbarro -- 1st Floor --10:30am - 6pm
Panda Express -- 1st Floor -- 10:30am - 6pm
Rubio's -- 1st Floor -- 10:30am - 6pm
Rx Candy Store -- 1st Floor -- 11am - 5pm
Wetzel's Pretzels -- 1st Floor -- 11am - 5pm

Driving and Parking Information:

There are several places to park on campus. If you are driving up Hilgard Avenue, turn left at Manning Drive and then right into Lot 2 at the Pay-By-Space parking. In Pay-By-Space parking it is $11 for all day, but you can also buy passes at half hour increments for less. If you are driving up Westwood Blvd. there is a parking kiosk where you can buy an all day pass for parking in Lot 8 or you can continue past the kiosk and park in the Pay-By-Space in Lot 6.

Exploring Your Universe

Bus Information:

       Recommended Routes: # 761, 2/302, 305

Big Blue Bus (Santa Monica):
       Recommended Routes: # 1, 2, 3, 8, 12

Culver City Bus:
       Recommended Routes: # 6

Parking for Non-City Buses:

There is free bus parking available near the Fowler Museum. To reach this designated bus zone, enter campus from Sunset Blvd. at Westwood Plaza. Take the first right onto Charles Young Drive and park along the right side of the street, across from the athletic fields.


"Exploring Your Universe 2011"

Join our Facebook event

If you have a Facebook account, you are welcome to RSVP by going to our Facebook event page!

Check out our posters:

Exploring Your Universe

(Download above poster)

Exploring Your Universe

(Download above poster)

Exploring Your Universe

(Download above poster)

Exploring Your Universe

(Download above poster)

Exploring Your Universe

(Download above poster)

Exploring Your Universe

(Download above poster)

Exploring Your Universe

(Download above poster)

Exploring Your Universe

(Download above poster)

Exploring Your Universe

(Download above poster)