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Astronomy Events


Let the countdown begin...

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flies by Pluto on July 14 after a 9 ½ year journey... and we're celebrating!

Come to the Bell Museum on Saturday, July 11, to learn about the New Horizons mission and the science behind Pluto's classification as a dwarf planet with speakers, planetarium shows, and more fun surprises and activities.

Contest! What does Pluto look like? 

Draw your prediction to compare with the best pictures New Horizons returns after the flyby! Contest open July 1 – 11, winners selected July 19. Download the template to get started and for more details. Need inspiration? Visit Pluto Pictures of the Day.

How far away is Pluto, really? 

Construct a walking scale model of the solar system outside in the Bell Museum courtyard.

Discover Pluto

Re-create the "blink plate" method that Clyde Tombaugh used to find Pluto in 1930.

Free ExploraDome shows

Stop by our digital planetarium for a fun, immersive experience. Shows start every 20 minutes from 11 am – 12:20 pm.

Special Guest: Ron Schmit  |  12:00 pm

Ron Schmit is a NASA Solar System Ambassador and the observatory coordinator at Jackson Middle School. He'll join us for a special talk all about Pluto and the New Horizons mission.

Member Exclusive

Members can bring up to 4 friends for free and enjoy DIY edible ice cream comets. Not a member? Join today!


New Horizon's Flyby image courtesy of NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute  

New Horizons

New Horizons is the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. After traveling some 5 billion kilometers (3 billion miles), New Horizons must thread a celestial needle and fly through a circle only 300 kilometers (about 186 miles) in diameter to accomplish its science objectives!

More about the mission


Did you know that, for just a moment near dawn and dusk each day, the world around you will be as bright as the surface of Pluto at noon?

NASA wants your help to celebrate the New Horizons flyby. Take a picture during your local Pluto Time, and share it to social media with the tag #PlutoTime. They'll highlight submissions from around the world in a mosaic image of Pluto and its moons.

Find your #PlutoTime

About Our Speaker

For over 20 years, Ron has been an educator and advocate for astronomy and planetarium programs in the Twin Cities. Ron is a member of the Minnesota Astronomical Society and previously served as an astronomy educator at the Science Museum of Minnesota, Minneapolis Planetarium, and Eisenhower Observatory.