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Starry, Starry, Night: A Night of Stargazing, Art, and Science

Start your evening with an out of this world space themed Carillon concert. Enjoy spending the evening walking the gardens underneath the incredible night sky. Starry, Starry Night offers opportunities to explore telescope technology with local astronomers, hear inspiring space-themed presentations, encounter nocturnal animals and create space-themed art. While it’s still light out, you can view the sun through Solar Scopes in the Rondel (the circle by the entrance to the Visitor Center) or on the Oval Lawn.

Know Before You Go:
• Bring your chairs and blankets to enjoy presentations on the Oval Lawn, seating is not provided
• Light is not permitted in the Astronomy Meadow. Use a red flashlight or red headlamp while in the telescope viewing area (red cellophane will be available in limited quantities for free at the event)
• Please dress in weather appropriate clothing as most activities are outside
• Join the fun by dressing up in costume: theme is astronomy

Event Date & Time

Saturday, January 13, 2024
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.


Bok Tower Gardens


Free for members / $20 for non-member adults, $10 for non-member children ages 6 – 17 (includes admission), Free for children 5 and under
No Registration Required

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Schedule of Events

Out of this World Speakers & Presentations

Sharife Gacel
Adventures on the HI-SEAS: Living and Working as an Analog Astronaut
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Oval Lawn Stage

How is living on the Moon like living on Earth? What do astronauts and analog astronauts have in common? What are the skills and equipment used to live in extreme environments that simulate the Moon, Mars, and beyond? Join us for this interactive presentation that explores how space programs across Earth are preparing humans to live and work in space. Find out more information about crew dynamics, problem-solving, and more as Sharife Gacel shares her experience as an analog astronaut at the HI-SEAS facility in Hawaii.

About the speaker:

Sharife Gacel, MS, LMHC, LPC, QS is an Analog Astronaut, NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, and Licensed Mental Health Counselor with a passion for sharing space with others. She served as the Medical Officer at the HI-SEAS habitat in Hawaii as part of the “Lokahi” mission and her ongoing research is, “The Impact of Crew Isolation and Lunar Simulation on Human Behavior.”

She received her Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She also received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Microbiology.

Sharife has a private practice that she founded over 10 years ago and specializes in life transitions and anxiety. She has been selected to participate in 6 NASA Social events. She also manages the social media accounts for her adopted greyhounds Anubis and Cosmos to an audience of 25,000+ people worldwide. Sharife is an amateur astronomer, Divemaster scuba diver, space educator, animal lover, and visual artist. She enjoys watching rocket launches and loves connecting with others about human spaceflight. You can learn more about Sharife and her work on her website, www.thespacetherapist.com.”

Phillip Metzger
The Strange Story of Planets: From Babylonian Astrology to Robotic Missions
6:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Oval Lawn Stage
Is Pluto a planet, and why does it matter? The definition of a planet has changed at least nine times as our knowledge of the cosmos has changed. How we define planets tells a surprising story about our understanding of the cosmos and of our place in it.

About the speaker:

Dr. Philip Metzger is a planetary physicist with the Planetary Science faculty at the University of Central Florida, developing what he calls “Economic Planetary Science” to help humanity’s expansion beyond Earth. He has 30 years’ experience at NASA first as an engineer and then as a physicist, developing and operating spaceflight technologies. He co-founded the NASA KSC Swamp Works, a research and development lab modeled after the Skunkworks and implementing innovation practices borrowed from Silicon Valley. The Swamp Works focuses on technologies for planetary surfaces including mining, manufacturing, and construction using space resources.

Derek Demeter

Exploring the James Webb Space Telescope
8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Oval Lawn Stage

Description: Join Derek Demeter, astronomer and director of the Emil Buehler Planetarium at Seminole State College as he details the amazing recent discoveries and mission objectives of the James Webb Space Telescope. The James Webb Telescope is a next-generation space telescope aimed at exploring many aspects of our cosmos beyond the visible light we see with our eyes.

About the Speaker:

Ever since Derek could remember, he has been looking to the stars. This constant fascination with astronomy gave him the inspiration he needed to soar through the many stellar journeys he has experienced throughout his life. While a student finishing his degrees in Physics and Technical Education he landed a position at the Seminole State College Planetarium in Sanford, Florida. Over much of the last decade, his passion for teaching people about the wonders of the universe has earned him accolades and recognition from the planetarium industry, his peers, and the community. He now works hard presenting programs to both the community at large and to students of all ages. Derek also promotes science beyond the planetarium with his appearances at many other venues such as the Harmony Dark Sky Festival, Cafe Science of Orlando, local libraries, the Central Florida Astronomical Society, and simply setting up a telescope at local shopping centers to give the public a truly “out-of-this world” experience.

Please Note:
Ticket price includes general admission to the Gardens. Tickets are available for purchase at boktower.org, in person at the Visitor Center or by phone at 863-734-1222. All programs and classes promptly begin at stated time and visitors are encouraged to arrive at least 10 minutes before class begins for check-in. Check-in begins 30 minutes prior to the class start time. Culinary events are demonstration based and late arrivals may not be accommodated. For classes held after 5 pm, the entrance gate will stay open for an additional 30 minutes after the start time. Once the gate closes, late arrivals will not be admitted. Due to the nature of culinary events held at the Outdoor Kitchen, Bok Tower Garden may attempt, but cannot guarantee, to accommodate food allergies. Dogs are not permitted at any educational program.