The Marie Drake Planetarium

Where the stars always shine in Juneau, AK

Newspaper Articles - 2013

Jan. Plametarium included in Community School Express newsletter.

Grant for Planetarium

October 27, Juneau Empire

The Friends of the Marie Drake Planetarium thank the Douglas-Dornan Foundation for a grant toward the purchase of a new digital projector. We also thank the Juneau Community Foundation and Juneau Montessori for their help in obtaining this grant.

We are a small group of volunteers dedicated to Astronomy education in Juneau. We present free public shows for all ages. Our topics range from the light-hearted Astronomy humor to the profound What put the bang in the big bang? We will start doing shows in the valley beginning this October at UAS, but the next show at the Planetarium downtown is on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 6:30 p.m., Mercury and Hermes. For more information, visit or call 523-2844.


Steve Kocsis, Secretary Friends of the Marie Drake Planetarium

Summer Solstice Celebrated

June 20 by Kenneth Rosen for the Juneau Empire 

Eighteen hours, 16 minutes and 32 seconds. Summer begins, but so too does the countdown to winter.


As you read this, the clock has counted away a good portion of the longest day of the year and it's difficult to decide whether to celebrate the gift of longer daylight or bemoan the signaling of an imminent ebb into darkness.

Officially, the Summer Solstice began the astronomical summer here Thursday at 9:04 p.m.

To mark the occasion, Steve Kocsis, a volunteer at the Marie Drake Planetarium, named his new baby pet rat Solstice, which he adopted Thursday. He said he was planning to celebrate with family and friends.

Its an important calendar marker,  Kocsis said. We have few rituals in our culture, so it's nice to celebrate something.

Along with the many others who will likely celebrate the year's longest day, the U.S. Forest Service cautioned bonfire-goers about the recent hot, dry weather circulating through the region and the high fire alerts for areas in the Tongass.

Most fires are human caused. District Ranger Marty Marshall of the U.S. Forest Service Juneau Ranger District said. "people will put their campfire out in good faith, but they don't realize a lot of the dirt here is duff, so the fire can smolder and creep along and a week or two later flame up.

Marshall insisted on the use of established fire rings that reach mineral soil. If fires are going to be built elsewhere, Marshall suggested they be built on areas below mean-high tide.

The beauty of it is, Marshall said, depending on when high-tide occurs, it puts your fire out for you.

Weather for the day will be mild, according to meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with a low chance of rain throughout the day through to the weekend.