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UW Planetarium Schedule Explores Some Wyoming Themes During February

January 31, 2019
image of constellations Orion and Taurus
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, the UW planetarium will display February’s most famous constellations with heart-shaped stars. The connect-the-heart constellation lines of Orion, the hunter, and Taurus, the bull, can be seen in this image. (UW Planetarium Photo)

Yellowstone National Park and Native American stories of the stars provide some Wyoming flavor to programs at the University of Wyoming Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium during February.

“Welcome back, students. Interested in exploring a little more about our home state? The solar system? What makes up the galaxy?” asks Samantha Ogden, the planetarium’s coordinator. “Join us at the UW planetarium to explore Wyoming, the universe and everything in between.”

Winter hours continue, with Friday night shows 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. The month 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 February planetarium schedule is as follows:

-- “The Weird, Bizarre and Stranger Things of Space,” Friday, Feb. 1, 7 p.m. Astronomers study the universe in hopes of figuring out how everything works. But every once in a while, the universe throws a curveball. Stars the same mass as our sun but the size of Laramie, and planets made entirely of diamonds are just a few of the stranger things this show will explore. 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, Feb. 5, 7 p.m. This program looks at constellations, meteor showers and visible planets.

-- “You Are a Star,” Friday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m. This program tracks energy and matter throughout all space and time to trace it right to you. Discover how and why you are a star.

 -- “Don’t Feed the Geysers,” Saturday, Feb. 9, 11 a.m. Yellowstone National Park is a Wyoming treasure packed with adventure and discoveries to be made, but it also is a place that has to be cared for. This program will explore a brief history of Yellowstone National Park, the marvels it contains and some things to know before that next visit. After the program, visitors can stay to participate in volcanic eruption experiments.

-- “Distant Worlds -- Alien Life?” Tuesday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m. This program looks at constellations, meteor showers and visible planets. 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. 

-- “The Cosmic Cooking Show,” Friday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m. Visitors can discover some of the most important ingredients, or elements, and recipes, or chemical reactions, in our universe. Help set the periodic table. 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.

-- Full-Dome Movie Double Feature: “Mayan Archaeoastronomy” and “From Earth to the Universe,” Tuesday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m. “Mayan Archaeoastronomy: Observers of the Universe” intertwines science and mythology to take viewers on a poetic journey of how the Mayans have viewed and understood the universe throughout their history. “From Earth to the Universe” takes viewers on a journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes.

-- “Native American Skies,” Friday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m. Eighty-eight official constellations piece together the stars, most with a story dating back to Greek mythology. However, the Greeks were not the only civilization to observe and tell stories in stars. This program takes a look close to home to honor the Northern Native American culture and its night sky.

-- “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” Saturday, Feb. 23, 11 a.m. Have you ever wondered where stars come from and what happens at the end of their life cycles? What are they made of or why some are different colors? How do you recognize them in the sky, and why are they important to astronomy? This program will explore the answers to these stellar questions. After the program, visitors can participate in 2-D and 3-D constellation activities.

-- Full-Dome Movie Double Feature: “Mayan Archaeoastronomy” and “Earth to the Universe,” Tuesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m. “Mayan Archaeoastronomy: Observers of the Universe” intertwines science and mythology to take viewers on a poetic journey of how the Mayans have viewed and understood the universe throughout their history. “From Earth to the Universe” takes viewers on a journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes.

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

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