2024 International Day of Light Celebration

2024 International Day of Light Celebration

Join us Sunday, May 19 at the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium for free planetarium programs for all ages! First come, first seated!

No Registration Required!

Optics and photonics are the science and engineering of light used by everyone, everywhere, every day.

This free, family-friendly STEM event, presented by Optics Valley, offers a captivating experience for all ages. Mark your calendars and get ready to explore the wonders of light with us!

Attention Teachers and Students: This event is a great learning opportunity! 


  • 1:00pm – 5:00pm:  Fun with Optics!

Explore basic optics principles with local experts and enthusiasts at the free, hands-on activity tables inside Flandrau’s lobby area.

  • 2:00 pm:  Incoming! [Full-Dome Show]

Incoming! audiences will discover how asteroids and comets have collided with our planet throughout history, changing the course of life on Earth and shaping the world we know today. Viewers will embark on a dynamic journey on the trail of asteroids and comets, get an up-close look at the advanced technologies that allow scientists to detect asteroids before they reach Earth, and visualize historic space events billions of years in the making—all within an immersive, all-digital dome that brings the captivating story of our cosmic origins to life like never before. Narrated by George Takei, Incoming! explores the past, present, and future of our Solar System and the landmark discoveries scientists have made by sending spacecraft to visit tiny worlds. Perfect for all ages, this full-dome film is followed by a short talk on OSIRIS-REx. Seating is limited to first come, first seated.

Olivia Fehlberg from Edmund Optics is the program host for this full-dome film.

Doors open at 1:45 pm and the show will last from 2:00 pm until 2:50 pm

  • 3:30pm: 5000 Eyes: Mapping the Universe with DESI [Full-Dome Show + Live Speaker]

The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) is creating the most detailed map of our nearby universe. Installed on the Mayall telescope on Kitt Peak in southern Arizona, DESI’s 5000 independently operated robots can measure the light from thousands of galaxies at once. Experience the largest structures in the universe as never seen before by flying through a portion of DESI’s initial data. Join us as we look back in time and explore the science, instrument, and people behind this global endeavor. This full-dome film is recommended for 9th grade and up, and is followed by a live star talk on DESI. Seating is limited to first come, first seated.

Lukas Gruber from Leonardo Electronics is the program host for this full-dome film.

Doors open at 3:15 pm and the show will last from 3:30 pm until 4:20 pm.

Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, 1601 E University Blvd, Tucson

CLICK HERE for Flandrau weekend parking info. Weekend parking is free in the Cherry Garage, south of Flandrau.

The 2:00pm planetarium show, 3:30pm planetarium show + speaker, and hands-on activities in the lobby area are free to the public. Planetarium shows are first come, first seated.

None!  The planetarium shows are free and first come, first seated.

Sponsorship opportunities available now! Click HERE to download for more details.

Contact us at [email protected].

About the International Day of Light

The International Day of Light is a UNESCO global initiative to celebrate light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education, and sustainable development and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications, astronomy, and clean energy. May 16 marks the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960 by physicist and engineer, Theodore Maiman.


1601 E University Blvd
Tucson , AZ 85721


Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium


May 19, 2024


1:00pm - 5:00pm


FREE for everyone. The planetarium shows are free and first come, first seated. No Registration Required.