Skip to Main Content

Apply Now to the University of Wyoming apply now

UW Planetarium Schedule Explores Planets and Alien Life in the New Year

December 20, 2018
a planet
Astronomers had no idea what the surface of Pluto looked like until 2015, nine years after its reclassification as a dwarf planet. But discovering its surface features only led to more questions. In January, the UW Planetarium will take a closer look at our solar system to uncover what is known and what questions still need to be answered. (UW Planetarium Photo)

Various planets, alien life and movies are the subjects of programs in the new year at the University of Wyoming Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium.

“Happy New Year! Classes have not yet started at the university, but the planetarium is open to the public for our Tuesday, Friday and Saturday shows,” says Samantha Ogden, the planetarium’s coordinator. “Check out our new year schedule and join us at the planetarium to explore the hidden treasures of the night sky.”

Winter hours continue, with Friday night shows now starting at 7 p.m. and STAR Observatory tours running from 8-9:30 p.m. Kid-themed planetarium shows are Saturdays at 11 a.m. January also includes four 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.-4:30 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m.-noon. Tickets also can be purchased by going online at www.uwyo.edu/physics/ and clicking on “Planetarium Schedule.” 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 January planetarium schedule is as follows:

-- “The Power of a Zero,” Friday, Jan. 4, 7 p.m. The lens through which astrophysicists see the world is hinged upon one zero. This program will explore our universe one order of magnitude at a time, from the smallest of the small, to the entire universe as a whole. The STAR Observatory on the rooftop of the Physical Sciences Building will be open to the public 8-9:30 p.m. Weather permitting, telescopes will be set up to peer into the evening sky.

-- “This Month’s Sky,” Tuesday, Jan. 8, 7 p.m. This program looks at constellations, meteor showers and visible planets.

-- “E.T. and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life,” Friday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m. Good space science fiction usually involves alien life and yet, so far, astronomers have not found signs of extraterrestrial life. Could intelligent life exist and be near enough to contact us? This program will consider the possibilities in our own solar system and beyond.

 -- “How We Blew Up Pluto,” Saturday, Jan. 12, 11 a.m. Discovered in 1930, Pluto was a tiny planet on the edge of our solar system. Since 2006, however, the International Astronomical Union has reclassified Pluto as a “dwarf planet.” This program will remember Pluto’s days as a planet and explore the reasons for its reclassification. Visitors can stay after the program to participate in an exploration of light and color activity.

-- Light and Dark Full-Dome Movie Double Feature: “Seeing” and “Phantom of the Universe,” Tuesday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m. During “Seeing,” ride a photon from its creation and journey across the galaxy to your mind’s eye. From there, witness the conversion to an electrochemical impulse that travels the neural pathways of the brain to create the image your brain sees. “Phantom of the Universe: The Hunt for Dark Matter” reveals the first hints of dark matter’s existence through the eyes of Fritz Zwicky, the scientist who coined the term “dark matter.”

-- “Constellations Across Cultures,” Friday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m. Many of us are familiar with Orion, the Zodiac and several other ancient Greek constellations. However, the ancient Greeks were not the only culture to make science and stories from the stars. This program will travel around the world, exploring the cultural and scientific significance of the night sky to the Incas, the Aboriginal people of Australia and more. The STAR Observatory on the rooftop of the Physical Sciences Building will be open to the public 8-9:30 p.m. Weather permitting, telescopes will be set up to peer into the evening sky.

-- Light and Dark Full-Dome Movie Double Feature: “Seeing” and “Phantom of the Universe,” Tuesday, Jan. 22, 7 p.m. During “Seeing,” ride a photon from its creation and journey across the galaxy to your mind’s eye. From there, witness the conversion to an electrochemical impulse that travels the neural pathways of the brain to create the image the brain sees. “Phantom of the Universe: The Hunt for Dark Matter” reveals the first hints of dark matter’s existence through the eyes of Fritz Zwicky, the scientist who coined the term “dark matter.”

-- “Jupiter the Colossal!,” Friday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m. Jupiter is more than just a planet; it is the center of the largest collection of moons in our solar system. This program explores the largest planet in the solar system and uncovers the fascinating secrets of its moons.

-- “Ice Giants,” Saturday, Jan. 26, 11 a.m. After decades of studying Uranus and Neptune, amazing features of these mysterious ice giant planets have been uncovered. Visitors can learn about the icy hidden gems of our own solar system. Visitors can stay after the program to participate in a solar system scale model activity.

-- “Distant Worlds -- Alien Life,” Tuesday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m. Does alien life exist? This program looks at what it takes for life to develop -- starting with life here on Earth, moving out to the rest of our solar system and traveling on to alien planets that orbit distant stars in our galaxy. 

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

Contact Us

Institutional Communications

Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137

Laramie

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2929

Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window) Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Accreditation | Virtual Tour | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Privacy Policy | Harassment & Discrimination | Accessibility Accessibility information icon