Sally's Night

On June 18, celebrate how you can shine like Sally Ride.

Join the National Air and Space Museum for Sally's Night to explore the wonder of our universe. Use the Sally's Night Celebration Guide, full of activities for the whole family, to join the celebration from wherever you are, and share on social media how you #ShineLikeSally.

Explore the Celebration Guide

Sally Ride lived her life with extraordinary energy, passion, curiosity and joy. All astronauts lead exciting lives, but some are larger than life even before they reach for the stars. Whether in the classroom or on the tennis court, in the lab or on the launch pad—it was clear from the start that Dr. Ride would reach great heights. 

The evening of June 18 marks the anniversary of just one exciting episode of Sally’s extraordinary life—the first night she looked back at Earth from space and experienced the special exhilaration and joy that energy, focus, and passion can bring to those who reach for the stars. Early interests and clear role models can lead to excellence in any field—particularly science, technology, engineering, and math, where not even the sky's the limit.

This June 18, in celebration of this anniversary, we invite everyone, everywhere to join Sally’s Night. Celebrate and share what about space and science brings you energy, passion, curiosity, and joy.  Whatever your passion, whoever you are, tell us how you #ShineLikeSally on social media and use our celebration guide to explore space and science with your family and friends.

Sally's Night Celebration Guide

Be Inspired Like Sally

As a learner and an educator, Sally understood the power of role models to inspire young people to explore their own interests and talents. Meet these inspiring role models who shine through science. Let us know who inspires you on social media using #ShineLikeSally! 

Sally Ride: Astrophysicist, Astronaut, and Educator

Image credit: NASA
Image credit: NASA

Mae Jemison: Astronaut and Physician

Claudia Alexander: Space Scientist and Author

Image credit: NASA
Image credit: NASA

Madhulika Guhathakurta: Heliophysicist

  • Dr. Lika Guhathakurta studies the Sun, how it works, and how it affects the solar system through space weather.
  • She is a scientist, mission designer, instrument builder, director, manager, and teacher — sometimes all in a single day!
  • Learn more about Guhathakurta in a short Women@NASA video.

Mary Golda Ross: Engineer

Image credit: Society of Women Engineers Photographs, Walter P. Reuther Library
Image credit: American Institute of Physics, Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Henrietta Swan Leavitt: Astronomer

  • Henrietta Swan Leavitt measured the brightness of variable stars over time. She became fascinated with how many variable stars she could find in the Magellanic Clouds.
  • After many years studying these stars she discovered something called the period-luminosity relationship that unlocked a way for astronomers to calculate distances to other galaxies.
  • Explore the Smithsonian Learning Lab about Leavitt.

Mary Fowler: Computer

  • Mary Fowler worked as an astronomical “computer” at the turn of the 20th century. She worked to calculate the most precise distance to the Moon (for that time) using photographs and the position of the stars taken at different locations around the world. 
  • There is no known photograph of Mary Fowler. “Computers” performed important work but were often overlooked because people thought their job wasn’t as important as the work of astronomers.
  • Take a look inside the notebooks of Mary Fowler.
Image credit: John G. Wolbach Library, Harvard College Observatory. Project PHAEDRA.
Image credit: Anacostia Community Museum

Alma Thomas: Artist

Valentina Tereshkova: Cosmonaut

  • Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to go to space on June 16, 1963. 
  • An experienced parachutist with a spirit of adventure, Tereshkova wrote to the Soviet space organization to volunteer as a cosmonaut after she learned about the flight of Gherman Titov in 1961.
  • Discover Tereshkova's story in a blog on the Museum website.
Image credit: RIA Novosti Archive

Explore Like Sally

Sally was a scientist, astronaut, author, and educator. There are so many ways to do the things that Sally and our other role models in science have done! Try these activities together to discover how science can shine in your life. Share your explorations on social media with #ShineLikeSally.

Share Like Sally

Sally loved to share her passion for science with everyone in her life, especially young people. Sharing what you learn — and love — about space helps us remember what we’ve learned, and gets others excited about the topic too! You can have a conversation, write a story, or even record a song to share what you’ve learned. Here are some ways to learn and share science with your friends or family!

Share Through Conversations

Starting a conversation about space and science is a great way to #ShineLikeSally. Questions are our favorite part of conversations with each other, because they give us a chance to listen closely, think together, and potentially discover something new. Pick a question to start, be flexible and patient with where the conversation goes, and remember - no one knows everything, so saying “I don’t know” to a question is okay! Learn more about having conversations in our “Wondering About Astronomy Together” Guide. 

Share Through Stories

Want to find the answers to some of your questions? There are many great resources out there to explore space without leaving Earth! You can find different perspectives about space from both past and present through stories told in movies and books. If you were asked to tell a story about space, what would it be about? Let us know using #ShineLikeSally on social media!

  • Celebrate Sally’s Night by checking out some of our favorite stories about space:
    • Exploring our Solar System by Sally Ride and Tam O'Shaughnessy (2003) tours the planets in our solar system and explores their formation, their conditions today - and the possibility of life in our own neighborhood.
    • Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky (2016) shares the stories of 50 women in science accompanied by whimsical illustrations.
    •  Hidden Figures (2016, 20th Century Fox) explores the stories of the African American women mathematicians that worked at NASA during the early years of the Space Race.
    • Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001, Paramount Network Television, CBS) follows the 24th-century journey of the starship USS Voyager across the Milky Way galaxy. 
  • For our youngest learners - listen to stories from the National Air and Space Museum!

Share Through Art

Art is a great way to share what you’ve learned and love about space and science and get everyone excited about it, too! You can make your own art inspired by space — create a painting, choreograph a dance, or write a song. "Be inspired by these artists to share your own art on Sally’s Night using #ShineLikeSally on social media!

Here are some space-themed artworks that we love.

    Voyage, Geneva Bowers, 2020. Bowers’ work captures the wonder and mystery of the cosmos.

    The Eclipse, Alma Thomas, 1970. Thomas was inspired to create art from nature, the cosmos and music.

    To Lift and Separate, Amber Allen, 2018Allen’s art is inspired by space travel, science and feminism.

    Crab Nebula, Cathrin Machin, 2020. Machin’s art explores the scale of the universe and our place in it.

Don’t forget to continue the celebration with our Sally’s Night playlist!

Thank you for celebrating Sally’s Night with us! Learn more about Sally Ride on our website, including artifacts in our collection.