Space Science and Astronomy 
Theatre Program

New Book 2017 - We Are Delighted!

Chris Corbally, SJ
Margaret Boone Rappaport

Our book went online in August 2017 and joined Twitter in September 2017. 


Click to visit us on Twitter @AstronomyPlays
Our hashtag is #SpaceScienceAstronomyTheatre

About the Book

Space Science and Astronomy Theatre contains 12, full instructional packages for 5-minute science performances by students or adults.

Go to the book's web page 
here for more information. 

Continue below for a 
description of our Space Science and Astronomy Theatre Program.

HSP's Space Science and Astronomy Theatre Program

The Human Sentience Project's Space Science and Astronomy Theatre Program seeks to introduce an innovative form of science education to interest young adults in science education and science careers. We address the entire range of occupations involved in "space science" at many levels, including engineers, computer scientists, astronomers, biologists, telescope technicians, public relations staff and museum/planetarium curators. 

Chris Corbally, SJ, and Margaret Boone Rappaport
Chris Corbally and Margaret Boone Rappaport, in Costume for 
"The Appearance of a Guest Star in A.D. 1054" 
a Script on the Sighting of the Supernova Creating the Crab Nebula.
Performed at the Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History, 
New York, New York, on July 8, 2013, and several times since then.

The founders of The Human Sentience Project have formally evaluated scripts among freshmen and sophomore college students in an introductory astronomy course at a junior college, in a comparable class at a university, and for seniors at a high school. Evaluation forms are provided as part of a Space Science and Astronomy Script Package.

Each Space Science and Astronomy Script Instructional Package Includes...
  • The scientific basis for the story in astronomy, history, and culture;
  • List of keywords and new terms for discussion before the performance of the script performance (for students);
  • A script for usually 2 players;
  • Stage directions for a 4 - 5 minute dramatic or comedic presentation;
  • List of discussion questions for students after the performance of the performance;
  • Evaluation forms for students and teachers;

  • Evaluation guide for a de-brief of teachers;
  • Suggested costumes and props for inexpensive productions;

  • Explanation of the sources of tension in the script, and recommendations for expanding the script to other media.

Update: New Script

From time to time, The Human Sentience Project will develop additional space science and astronomy scripts, in addition to the dozen published in 2017. "Cel's Way" is an example.

“Cel’s Way: How the Stars Led One Young Woman to Her Own True Love”  
Characters include CEL, a young woman on the brink of betrothal, and CRO, her father, who is teaching her the ways of The People before she is married. He wants her to marry ANU, who will be headman. She wants to marry BO. They disagree in a heated exchange, but find a resolution. See August and October 2015 performance details on Speaking Events Schedule page of this web site. Click here.

Evaluations of Space Science and Astronomy Scripts

  • January 8, 2014.Pre-evaluation focusing on forms development at a presentation for The Marian Club. See Speaking Events Schedule page. 

  • April 8, 2014. Formal evaluation of three supernovae scripts. Action takes place in A.D. 1054, 2054, and 3054. The evaluation took place at a private high school in the Southwest.

  • October 23, 2014. Formal evaluation of the script, “Adventure to Kepler 11757451, Destined for Exoplanet Havre de Grâce, A.D. 2402,” featuring interstellar travel using an Alcubierre drive. Two astronomy classes, at a community college in Portland, OR.

  • January 22, 2015. Informal evaluation of the skit, "Early Humans at Herto and the Discovery of Wandering Stars [Planets], 160,000 Years Ago," in an introductory Astronomy class at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

Props for AD 1054

Examples of Props 
and Costumes

A time, a culture, and a level of technology can be suggested by simple props.

The following are inexpensive costume pieces for the Script, "The Appearance of a Guest Star of A.D. 1054" (Chinese parasol and traditional Chinese man's hat); and the Script, "The Cassiopean Supernova of A.D. 3054, or, Good News Travels Fast" (the "mod" sunglasses).

These hats are the only props used in the Performance, "How Serendipity Leads to Theory: The A.D. 2054 Eta Carinae Supernova." They are worn to suggest the cold conditions at the European Southern Observatory on the high Andean desert of Chile, as well as the cold conditions in which many astronomers toil. These hats are similar to the style of traditional hats worn by native, Andean Indians.

References Used to Develop Space Science and Astronomy Script Packages

Alcubierre, Miguel. 1994. The Warp Drive: Hyper-Fast Travel within General Relativity. Classical and Quantum Gravity 11: L73-L77.

Brandt, Timothy D., and David S. Spiegel. 2014, in press. Prospects for Detecting Oxygen, Water, and Chlorophyll in an Exo-Earth. Submitted to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Citation: arXiv:1404.5337 [astro-ph.EP]

Brecher, Kenneth, R. A. Fesen, et al.  1983.  Ancient Records and the Crab Nebula Supernova. The Observatory 103: 106-113.
Chevalier, Roger A. 1977. Was SN 1054 a Type II Supernova? In: Supernovae; Proceedings of a Special IAU Session on Supernovae Held on September 1, 1976, Grenoble, France. David Schramm, ed.  Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company. Pp. 53-61.

Chaisson, Eric, and Steve McMillan. 2010. Astronomy: A Beginner's Guide to the Universe. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Clark, David H., and F. Richard Stephenson. 1977. The Historical Supernovae. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Duyvendak, J. J. L.  1942.  Further Data Bearing on the Identification of the Crab Nebular with the Supernova of 1054 A.D.  Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 54: 91-94.

Field, Stephen L. 2008. Ancient Chinese Divination. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Henshilwood, Christopher S., Francesco d'Errico, Karen L. Van Niekerk, et al. 2011. A 100,000-year-old Ochre-Processing Workshop at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Science 334: 219-222.

Hubble, Edwin. 1928. Novae or Temporary Stars. Astronomical Society of the Pacific Leaflets 1455–58.

Jones, Tom, and Ellen Stofan. 2008. Planetology: Unlocking the Secrets of the Solar System. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society.

Koh Kok Kiang, Trans. 1993. The I Ching; An Illustrated Guide to the Chinese Art of Divination. Singapore: Asiapac.

Lennon, John, and Paul McCartney. 1967. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," a song written for the Beatles' album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. 

Lundmark, Knut. 1921. Suspected New Stars Recorded in Old Chronicles and among Recent Meridian Observations. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 33(195): 225-238.

Mann, Elizabeth. 2000. Machu Picchu; The Story of the Amazing Inkas and Their City in the Clouds. New York: Mikaya Press.

Martocchia, A., and Polcaro, V. F. 2010. GRB 080319b and SN1054. Mem. S.A.It. Suppl. 14, 242-245.

Mauerhan, Jon C., Nathan Smith, et al. 2013. SN2011ht: Confirming a Class of Interacting Supernovae with Plateau Light Curves (Type IIn-P). Location: arXiv:1209.0821 [astro-ph.SR]

Mitton, Simon. 1978. The Crab Nebula. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Pankenier, David W. 2006. Notes on Translations of the East Asian Records Relating to the Supernova of AD 1054. Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage 9(1): 77-82. 

Paramount.  2009.  StarTrek: Motion Picture Trilogy (DVD).  Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan.  Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.  Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Schramm, David N. (Ed.). 1977. Supernovae. Dordrecht: Reidel.

Shaviv, Giora.  2009.  The Life of Stars: The Controversial Inception and Emergence of the Theory of Stellar Structure.  Heidelberg: The Hebrew University Magnes Press and Springer-Verlag.  [Pp. 260-261 on the Crab.]

Smith, Nathan.  2013.  The Crab Nebula and the Class of Type IIn-P Supernovae Caused by Sub-energetic Electron Capture Explosions.  Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.  April. 2011. Recent Eruptions in the Crab Nebula Mystify Astronomers. No. 5., May 12. 

Stephenson, F. Richard. 1974. Historical Observations of Supernovae. Supernovae and Supernovae Remnants, C. B. Cosmovici, ed. Proceedings of the International Conferenceon Supernovae in Lecce, Italy, May 7-11. Dordrecht and Boston: D. Reidel. Pp. 75-85.
Stephenson, F. Richard, and David A. Green. 2003. Was the Supernova of AD 1054 Reported in European History? Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage 6(1): 46-52. 
___________________________________. 2002. Historical Supernovae and Their Remnants. New York: Oxford University Press.

Weiler, Kurt W. 1985. Plerions, Regular and Deluxe. The Crab Nebula and Related Supernova Remnants.  M. C. Kafatos and R. B. C. Henry, eds.  New York: Cambridge University Press.  Pp. 227-239.

White, Tim D., Berhane Asfaw, David DeGusta, Henry Gilbert, Gary D. Richards, Gen Suwa, and F. Clark Howell. 2003. Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Nature 423: 742-747.

Yang, Weide. 1054. Prognostications in Respect of the Emperor [Song huiya]. August 27. [Trans. F.R. Stephenson and D. A. Green, 2002.] 

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