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UW Planetarium Schedules May Programs

April 27, 2017
two pictures showing constellations
Looking to the night sky, Ursa Major -- the constellation that contains the Big Dipper -- is visible all night and year-round. The present night sky is visible in this two-part image on the top photo. Can you spot the Big Dipper? The stars are slowly moving as they orbit the center of the Milky Way galaxy; in 100,000 years, Ursa Major and the Big Dipper will look different. The stars’ motion after 100,000 years is shown in this image on the bottom. Can you spot the Big Dipper in this image? (UW Planetarium Photo)

May brings the end of the spring semester, but the beginning of a new season of stargazing at the Harry C. Vaughan University of Wyoming Planetarium.

“A new set of seasonal constellations is visible in the early evening; the Earth passes through the dust stream of Halley’s Comet to produce our annual Eta Aquarids meteor shower, and Mercury becomes visible in the early morning with the bright planet Venus,” says Samantha Ogden, planetarium coordinator. “Whether you are staying up late to study for finals or waking up early to wish upon a shooting star, there is something to see any time of night this May.”

Friday planetarium shows during May start at 8 p.m., with a STAR Observatory tour scheduled to follow approximately an hour later. Kid-themed shows are scheduled Saturdays at 11 a.m. The month also includes five Tuesday night shows; they begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets cost $3 for students and $4 for non-students, and 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.-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, which seats 58, is located in the basement of the Physical Sciences Building.

The May planetarium schedule:

-- “This Month’s Sky,” Tuesday, May 2, 7 p.m. As the months and seasons change in Wyoming, new astronomical events occur in the nighttime sky. No matter what time of year, there is always something to see after the sun goes down. From constellations to meteor showers to visible planets, the program acts as a guide to these remarkable events and where to find them.

-- “End-of-the-Year Celebration,” Friday, May 5, 8 p.m. Join the planetarium for an end-of-the-year celebration to relax and enjoy just about everything the UW Planetarium has to offer. The program will close out the school year by touching on all of the favorite topics in this extended planetarium show. A free STAR Observatory tour (weather dependent) follows at 9 p.m.

-- Full-dome movie, “The Search for the Edge of the Solar System,” Tuesday, May 9, 7 p.m. The sun lies at the center of our solar system, and it is orbited by the eight planets and more. What other cosmic objects make up our solar system? And, where does the solar system end? The program will look beyond the orbit of Pluto to discover that the solar system reaches farther than originally thought. The film takes audiences on a journey to where the solar system ends and the interstellar medium begins.

-- “Brilliant Horizons,” Friday, May 12, 8 p.m. It is said that without darkness, we cannot know the light. Light, in the form of electromagnetic radiation, is how to experience and discover our universe. The wonders of the universe could not be explored without the use of electromagnetic radiation, such as ultraviolet, infrared, X-ray and visible light. A free STAR Observatory tour (weather dependent) follows at 9 p.m.

-- “A Stroll Through the Solar System,” Saturday, May 13, 11 a.m. Sun, planets, and moons: There is so much in the Earth’s cosmic neighborhood to explore. Travel the solar system in all its beauty and wonder. After the show, visitors can head outside to walk a scaled distance to Pluto. If the Earth were only a few inches from the sun, how far away would Pluto be? The answer will amaze participants. The solar system walk-through is weather dependent. If the weather is inclement, a pocket solar system activity will take place.

-- “This Month’s Sky,” Tuesday, May 16, 7 p.m. As the months and seasons change in Wyoming, new astronomical events occur in the nighttime sky. No matter what time of year, there is always something to see after the sun goes down. From constellations to meteor showers to visible planets, the program acts as a guide to these events and where to find them.

-- “The Great Giants and Their Children,” Friday, May 19, 8 p.m. The outer four planets of the solar system are known as the “gas giants” due to their tremendous size. With great size comes a pull of gravity so strong that many moons are trapped in orbit around these planets. In fact, Jupiter and Saturn each boast more than 60 moons. A free STAR Observatory tour (weather dependent) follows at 9 p.m.

-- Full-dome movie, “The Search for the Edge of the Solar System,” Tuesday, May 23, 7 p.m. The sun lies at the center of our solar system, and it is orbited by the eight planets and more. What other cosmic objects make up the solar system? And, where does the solar system end? The program will look beyond the orbit of Pluto to discover that the solar system reaches farther than originally thought. The film takes audiences on a journey to where the solar system ends and the interstellar medium begins.

-- “American Astronomy,” Friday, May 26, 8 p.m. It is known that Americans were the first and only nationality to walk on the moon. Or, that America played significant roles in astronomy even before the Constitution was written. The program honors Memorial Day and introduces the history and impact that America has wielded in astronomy and how it is benefiting the public. A free STAR Observatory tour (weather dependent) follows at 9 p.m.

-- “To Infinity and Beyond!” Saturday, May 27, 11 a.m. Looking up at the night sky, you may count a few thousand stars -- if you have the time and patience. But, did you know that the Milky Way galaxy is made of more than 100 billion stars, or, there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the universe? On top of that, the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang. The program will explore deep into the past to discover the age and size of our universe. After the show, patrons can see the expanding universe in their own hands with a stretchy universe slime activity.

-- “This Month’s Sky,” Tuesday, May 30, 7 p.m. As the months and seasons change in Wyoming, new astronomical events occur in the nighttime sky. No matter what time of year, there is always something to see after the sun goes down. From constellations to meteor showers to visible planets, the program acts as a guide to these remarkable events and where to find them.


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