International Day of Light

staff in front of flandrau

International Day of Light
1601 E University Blvd.
Sunday, May 19
1:00 to 5:00 PM

Enjoy free planetarium programs and optics activities for families, teachers, and science enthusiasts of all ages!


Enjoy free planetarium shows and presentations at 2:00 PM and 3:30 PM during this event. 

If you want to visit Flandrau's Science Exhibits during your visit, regular science exhibit admission of $8 for kids, $10 for seniors/military, and $12 for adults applies.

Children playing a digital game at flandrau


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. There’s no better place to celebrate light than in Arizona with our world leaders in optics, photonics, and astronomy!

Optics and photonics are the science and engineering of light used everywhere, every day. Join us on May 19 to explore and discover the world of optics and Arizona’s world leaders in the science of light!

Schedule of Events

Girl at International Day of Light Activity Table

1 to 5PM - Fun with optics


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

Incoming Poster

2PM - Incoming!

Free Fulldome Planetarium Show!

Hosted by Olivia Fehlberg, Edmund Optics

Incoming! audiences 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. This full-dome film is followed by a short talk about OSIRIS-REx craft to visit tiny worlds. Doors open at 1:45 PM and the show will last from 2:00 PM until 2:50 PM.

5000 Eyes planetarium show graphic

3:30PM - 5,000 Eyes

Free Fulldome Planetarium Show!

Hosted by Dr. Lukas Gruber, Leonardo Electronics

Followed by live talk from Dr. Stéphanie Juneau, NSF NOIRLab

The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) is creating the largest and most accurate 3D map of the universe ever recorded. Installed on the Mayall telescope on Kitt Peak in southern Arizona, DESI's 5000 independently operated robotic "eyes" 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 followed by a live star talk on DESI, presented by Dr. Stéphanie Juneau, NOIRLab. Doors open at 3:15PM and the show will last from 3:30PM until 4:20PM.

About Optics Valley

Arizona is home to world-class businesses and scientific and educational institutions with decades of innovation and leadership in optics, photonics and astronomy. Optics Valley is the industry cluster that helps its members thrive through business acceleration, workforce development, startup support, and connections to local and worldwide opportunities. Optics Valley is a committee of the Arizona Technology Council. 

Learn More about Optics Valley


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