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Physics & Astronomy|College of Arts & Sciences

WELCOME to the Harry C. Vaughan University of Wyoming Planetarium


Summer Astronomy Challenge!

This summer, the planetarium is having a Summer Astronomy Activity Challenge.  Complete the fun activities in our activity book to win awesome prizes!  Running now through September 10th.  Click here to join in on the fun!

Now offering online ticket sales!              

Doors open 20 minutes before show.  There is no admittance once the show starts.

All pre-purchased tickets must be purchased before noon on the Friday of the show. This includes pre-purchased tickets for the Saturday shows. Tickets can be purchased through the following three methods:

Tickets can be purchased at theater (cash or check only); $3 for student and $4 for non-students. Tickets for children under 5 are free.

Tickets can also be purchased at the Physics Department main office in Physical Science room 204 Monday through Thursday from 8-5 and Friday from 8 -4.  We can only accept cash or checks in person. 

Tickets can also be purchased online. Please note that all online tickets are $4, but kids under 5 are still free. Tickets can be picked up at the door 15 minutes prior to the show. Click here to buy tickets online.

Laser light shows will be shown on the 1st Friday of every month at 9:10pm and they are a separate charge from the planetarium show at 8:00.

Tour of STAR Observatory: Weeks without laser light shows will feature an optional Rooftop Telescope Tour! After the planetarium show (and weather permitting) you are invited to the roof of the Physical Science building where you can look through our 16 inch STAR (Student Teaching And Research) Observatory. Please dress warm! The tours will be very informal and you may stay for as long as you like or leave at any time. Tours are free.

We are offering kid themed shows on Saturdays followed by free activities for those interested in staying.  Please note the days.

We are glad to have such a range of young children for our kid-themed shows! Parents, please understand that it can get a little noisy and chaotic at times with so many young kids in a darkened room. We appreciate any help in making these shows enjoyable for all!

Show Schedule


August

Welcome back students!  This month at the planetarium explores a little bit of everything: from the constellations to stars (especially our own Sun), and spaceships such as the exploration of Juno of the gas giant, Jupiter.  Join us at the planetarium to discover the cosmos for yourself!

 

Friday, August 26th   

8pm Stellar Evolution

Do you ever wonder why there is excessive hydrogen and limited amounts of metals in our universe? Or how the physical development of our universe started? The answer is Stars and their extraordinary life cycles.  Watch this show to discover the incredible nature of stars and the role they've played in creating everything we know.  

9pm  Tour of STAR Observatory

 

Saturday, August 27th

11am  Spaceships!

How did we send astronauts to the moon? How did we get close up pictures of Pluto? We did it with spaceships! Through the years, humans have built all sorts of spaceships - giant rockets, tiny robot spaceships, the space shuttle - just to name a few. In this show, we are going to learn all about these real life spaceships, from how they fly through outer space. Stay after the show where you'll get to design and create your very own spaceship!

 

 

September

Light and dark, seen and unseen, theory and reality, past and future.  This month at the UW Planetarium is all about opposites, not only here on Earth but in the entirety of our universe. 

 

Friday, September 2nd

8pm  Gravity Waves

Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity 100 years ago, and like any good theory it provided many testable predictions.  These predictions included gravity waves, ripples in the curvature of space-time generated when massive objects move.  Tonight's presentation will provide an overview of gravity waves and their exciting recent experimental confirmation.

9:10pm  Laser Light Show, Best of Pink Floyd

 

Friday, September 9th

8pm  From Bang to Bust

Philosophers have tackled many difficult questions faced by mankind over the course of civilization, but ultimately the task of answering questions was passed to scientists.  Only recently has a picture evolved of how the universe came to be, how it is now, and even how it may end.  Join us tonight for an introduction to cosmology -- the study of the universe as a whole.

9pm  Tour of STAR Observatory

 

Saturday, September 10th

11am  Solar System Giants

Today's show will explore the GIANT planets of our solar system!  From the coldest Ice Giants, to the largest storms and the most breathtaking rings, today's show will take your breath away.  Prepare for a show of massive proportions!  After the show, you will have a chance to make and decorate your own telescope to scan the evening skies for these gas giants yourself!

 

Friday, September 16th

8pm  Water Around the Worlds

Safely inside the Habitable Zone of our solar system, the Earth has a perfect environment for liquid water: not too hot and not too cold.  And as astronomers search the galaxy for signs of life, they are looking for Earth-like planets with perfect conditions for liquid water.  But the Earth is not the only object in our solar system's history to harbor liquid water.  Other planets and even moons in our solar system show signs of water.  Tonight we will discover where and why liquid water exists in our solar system and the potential these worlds of water have for extraterrestrial life!

9pm Tour of STAR Observatory

 

Friday, September 23rd

8pm  Greek Mythology

Since the dawn of human kind, we have raised our eyes to the heavens to divine the stars' place in the sky, and therefore our place in the universe.  The people of ancient Greece greatly influenced the progress of these observations, leaving lore of heroes, villains, gods, and men within the stars.  Join us tonight to see the ancient Greek's place in history immortalized in the constellations we see to this day.

9pm Tour of STAR Observatory

 

Saturday, September 24th

11am  Light

Light is knowledge.  We can't fly everywhere we want to go in space, it's simply too big.  So how do we know what Jupiter looks like or what stars are made up of?  Through the magical and wonderful nature of light!  Watch this show to see how light works and to see the highly decorated and colorful universe that we live in.  After the show, prepare to make your own spectroscope to experiment and discover light for yourself.

                       

Friday, September 30th

8pm  Dark: The Movie

There's something mysterious lurking in our universe -- it permeates all of space, holds entire galaxies together, and makes up 80% of the mass of the universe.  Yet we cannot see it.  This is the mystery of Dark Matter and it is the biggest astrophysical problem of our time.  In this full dome movie, we will explain and explore the nature of Dark Matter with real supercomputer simulations done by Dr. Alan Duffy from the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research.  Join us as we search for Dark Matter in order to unlock the secrets of the unseen universe.

9pm Tour of STAR Observatory

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Information for Groups:

All private shows will be $50. Payments can be made by cash, check, voucher or IDR.  Sorry, we cannot accept credit cards.

The University of Wyoming Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium is a great place to bring your class, club, or entire grade.

Our shows are typically one hour long although it is very easy for us to modify the time as needed.

Learning about the planets or stars? Constellations? Galaxies? Let us know and we can cater our shows to your topic. We also always offer general sky shows for a great introduction to astronomy.

Please call 307-766-6150 or email planetarium@uwyo.edu for more information or to set up a show.

For parking information please contact Transit and Parking Service at 307-766-9800 or visit their webpage at:

http://www.uwyo.edu/tap/parking/parkingoptions.html

Directions:

The University of Wyoming Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium is located in the basement of the Physical Science building. Enter the Physical Science building at the SW entrance, go down the stairs and follow the signs pointing to the planetarium.

University of Wyoming map: http://www.uwyo.edu/uw/tour/_files/docs/uw-laramie-campus.pdf

Physical Science is located at D 10 in the above map.

About Harry C. Vaughan:

The planetarium has been renamed in honor of the Windy Ridge Foundation’s owner, who was a professor of meteorology in the Iowa State Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences. Vaughn taught courses in meteorology, earth sciences and agronomy there. Before teaching at Iowa State, he worked at the Ames Laboratory.

Upon retirement, Vaughn moved to Laramie, where he befriended a number of faculty members in UW’s Department of Atmospheric Science. He devoted his time to his love of astronomy and built a personal observatory in his backyard to make his own astronomical observations and also mentored UW students.

 

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Funds from the telescope raffle were used to purchase food and toys for the Laramie Animal Shelter.

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One of the recipients of the Animal Shelter donation.
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