UW Planetarium September Programs Provide an Eclectic Mix

The Hubble Space Telescope moves slowly away from the space shuttle Discovery.

The Hubble Space Telescope is seen here moving slowly away from the space shuttle Discovery following the Service Mission 2 in 1997. The Hubble Space Telescope has enabled some of the most profound astronomical discoveries since its launch in 1990. Future space-based telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope will provide astronomers with the tools to make the next generation of revolutionary scientific discoveries. (ESA/Hubble Photo)

With the school year starting at the University of Wyoming, the Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium has an eclectic lineup of programs for returning students.

“We have a lot of really great shows planned for the start of the fall semester, including everything from the ‘Science of Science Fiction’ to the engineering behind the scientific instruments like the Hubble Space Telescope that allow us to explore the universe,” says Jordan Turner, the planetarium’s interim coordinator. “Come learn about the constellations, our sun, our solar system, the Milky Way galaxy and beyond. And then get outside while it’s still warm to explore that night sky for yourself.”

Friday night shows start at 8 p.m., and STAR Observatory star parties run from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Kid-themed planetarium shows are Saturdays at 11 a.m. The month also includes four Tuesday night shows; they begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $3 for students and $4 for nonstudents. Tickets can be purchased at the Department of Physics and Astronomy main office, located in Room 204 of the Physical Sciences Building, Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m.-noon. Tickets also can be purchased by going online at http://wyomingspacegrant.org/planetarium/shows/ and clicking on “Purchase tickets online with a credit card.” Doors open 20 minutes before the show, where tickets will be sold if available. The planetarium, which seats 58, is located in the basement of the Physical Sciences Building.

The September planetarium schedule is as follows:

— “This Month’s Sky,” Tuesday, Sept. 3, 7 p.m. September in Laramie means lots of students, football and, of course, beautiful, clear night skies. Look out for some amazing celestial events, such as the conjunction of the moon and Jupiter, Neptune at its brightest and the September equinox.

— “The Science of Science Fiction,” Friday, Sept. 6, 8 p.m. This program will cover favorite sci-fi tropes and inventions for their real-world counterparts. The STAR Observatory on the rooftop of the Physical Sciences Building will be open to the public for a “star party” from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Weather permitting, telescopes will be set up to peer into the evening sky.

— Full-dome movie: “Dawn of the Space Age,” Tuesday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m. From the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, to the magnificent lunar landings and privately operated space flights, visitors will be immersed in this historic reconstruction of man’s first steps into space.

— “Constellations Across Cultures,” Friday, Sept. 13, 8 p.m. This program will offer a detailed look at the constellations that are known and loved, and how they are depicted differently across different cultures.

— “Space is Art,” Saturday, Sept. 14, 11 a.m. For many years, people have looked up into the sky and have been inspired by the magnificent things they’ve seen there. This program will look at some of the incredible art that has come about, thanks to space.

— “Laser Queen,” Saturday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m. This program takes the fun, lively and rhythmic music of Queen and blends it with the eccentric and attention-grabbing visual of the planetarium’s own laser program. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

— Full-dome movie: “Cosmic Origins Spectrograph,” Tuesday, Sept. 17, 7 p.m. This film highlights the current research of Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, the last instrument installed by the NASA astronauts. COS has provided an unprecedented view into the vast spaces between galaxies that surround our own Milky Way.  

— “Into the Wild Blue Yonder,” Friday, Sept. 20, 8 p.m. This program will explore the solar system we call home and beyond. Visitors will learn about the groundbreaking scientific instruments made in the past century and in the future. The STAR Observatory on the rooftop of the Physical Sciences Building will be open to the public for a “star party” from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Weather permitting, telescopes will be set up to peer into the evening sky.

— Full-dome movie: “Dawn of the Space Age,” Tuesday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m. From the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, to the magnificent lunar landings and privately operated space flights, visitors will be immersed in this historic reconstruction of man’s first steps into space.

— “You Are a Star,” Friday, Sept. 27, 8 p.m. This program tracks energy and matter throughout all of time and space to trace it right to you. Discover how and why you are a star.

— “A Special Star,” Saturday, Sept. 28, 11 a.m. This program explores why the sun is such a special star.

— “Laser Queen,” Saturday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. This program takes the fun, lively and rhythmic music of Queen and blends it with the eccentric and attention-grabbing visual of the planetarium’s own laser program. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

For more detailed descriptions of these programs, go to www.wyomingspacegrant.org/planetarium/shows/.

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