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UW Planetarium Shows Expected to Sell Out This Month

January 8, 2015
group of people watching planetarium show, with planets shown above them
This crowd looks to the heavens during a December star show at the Harry C. Vaughan UW Planetarium. More of the popular star and laser shows are scheduled this month. (UW Photo)

If you have a keen interest in learning more about the Earth’s solar system and other galaxies, one of your New Year’s resolutions might be to avoid procrastination.

When the newly renovated Harry C. Vaughan University of Wyoming Planetarium reopened for star and laser shows in December, it was an immediate smash, with all “star shows” selling out. Eight shows are lined up for this month, and tickets are expected to go fast for the planetarium, which has a seating capacity of 58.

“The three or four star shows we did in December, we sold out every show,” says Travis Laurance, the planetarium’s director. “In some cases, we turned away 30 to 40 people. Even some of our laser shows have been selling out. We’re encouraging people to go to our office to buy tickets in advance.”

Tickets cost $2 for students and $3 for non-students, and can be purchased at the Department of Physics main office, located in Room 204 of the Physical Sciences Building, Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m.-noon. Doors open 20 minutes before each show, where tickets will be sold if available. The planetarium is located in the basement of the Physical Sciences Building.

With the recent renovations, crowds have been drawn to the full-dome shows that now provide immersive 3-D experiences. Traditional star shows have been replaced with far more interactive presentations, similar to an IMAX theater. Laser shows consist of three lasers (red, blue and green) that project graphics on the dome. The lasers are synchronized with music, and pre-programmed graphics and images are displayed.

This month’s planetarium schedule is as follows:

--Myths and Legends: Cassiopeia, Andromeda and Perseus, Friday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m. Constellations allow astronomers to break up the sky into manageable puzzle pieces like regions. Some of these are based on Greek legends, which immortalized the heroes -- mortal and otherwise. Learn about the adventures of Perseus and the dangers of tempting the gods. A Laser Gaga laser show follows at 8 p.m.

--The Solar System, Friday, Jan. 16, 7 p.m. This star show provides a journey through our home solar system from the Sun to our favorite dwarf planet, Pluto. A Country USA laser show follows at 8 p.m.

--Back to the Moon (a full-dome movie) and The Moons of Jupiter, Friday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m. From the time Galileo first observed them through our continuing search for liquid water outside the Earth, the moons of Jupiter have forever changed our perspective of the solar system. Let us explore! The Jimi Hendrix Experience, a laser show, follows at 8 p.m.

--Constellations of the Southern Hemisphere, Friday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m. This program will explore the night sky as seen from the Southern Hemisphere. We will begin our night in Laramie, and then travel south to see a night sky full of unfamiliar stars and constellations. The program will blend science and storytelling in a level appropriate for all backgrounds. A Laser Michael Jackson show follows at 8 p.m.

For more information, go to and click on “Planetarium is Open!” on the left-side navigation bar, call (307) 766-6150 or email

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