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The Grand Rapids Public Museum to Host Series of Chaffee Planetarium Virtual Meet-Ups, Kicking off with Exploring Life on Mars


The Grand Rapids Public Museum to Host Series of Chaffee Planetarium Virtual Meet-Ups, Kicking off with Exploring Life on Mars

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) announced today that a series of Backyard Stargazing virtual meet-ups from the GRPM’s Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium will be offered, beginning Thursday, September 10 at 6 p.m., and continuing monthly through December 2020.
On September 10, program participants will journey through the depths of the universe virtually, alongside the GRPM’s Chaffee Planetarium staff, to explore previous missions to Mars and learn about the recently launched Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover. The Perseverance Rover is scheduled to land on Mars in February 2021, and will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.
“The Museum is happy to be expanding our virtual Backyard Stargazing programs to a series for the community to learn and stay up to date on the latest news and popular topics surrounding science and space exploration,” said Dr. Stephanie Ogren, the GRPM’s Vice President of Science and Education. “Our virtual meet-ups are an extension of the Chaffee Planetarium experience, especially while the doors remain closed at this time. The Museum team enjoys sparking curiosity within families of all ages, with a passion for sharing the Planetarium with the community.”
Backyard Stargazing virtual meet-ups are $2 for GRPM members and $4 for the general public. Capacity is limited; early registration is recommended. Only one ticket link is needed per household. Programs begin at 6 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at
Meet-ups take place in a webinar style held via Zoom. Attendees will be able to see the GRPM panelists, but not each other. A brief Q & A session will follow the presentation.
Upcoming Meet-ups.
October 8: OSIRIS-REx Mission.
Go on a space expedition to follow the OSIRIS-REx mission! The spacecraft OSIRIS-REx is in flight to touch down on an asteroid on October 20, 2020, to collect a rock sample before returning to Earth. In this Backyard Stargazing event, learn about its flight and more! The GRPM team will also highlight the great Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, an event that happens once every 20 years and is taking place this December.
November 12: Orion Nebula.
Travel through the cosmos to learn about the life cycles of stars! Explore the Orion Nebula, a stellar nursery where new stars are forming, and more.
December 10: Traveling to Andromeda.
Learn about the Milky Way and journey 2.5 million light years away to explore Earth’s closest neighbor, Andromeda!
The GRPM is Now Open!
The GRPM is currently open and welcoming visitors to explore the three floors of core exhibitions, along with Bodies Revealed – extended through September 27. Limited capacity; advance ticketing is required. Masks are also required during a visit. At this time, the Chaffee Planetarium is temporarily closed. For updates about the planetarium’s reopening and additional details about the updated GRPM visitor experience, visit
Grand Rapids Public Museum
The Grand Rapids Public Museum is an invaluable, publicly-owned institution that is home to more than 250,000 unique artifacts that tell the history of Kent County and beyond, houses the only planetarium in the region, and is responsible for protecting The Mounds, a national historic landmark. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, with its main location in downtown Grand Rapids, MI at 272 Pearl Street, NW. For additional information including hours of operation, admission fees and exhibit/event listings, please visit

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