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Asteroids, Mars and Little Green Men Highlight March Planetarium Shows

February 26, 2015
man at planetrium control board with star field displayed above him
Travis Laurance, director of the Harry C. Vaughan UW Planetarium, operates the control board during a recent star show. (UW Photo)

With programs focusing on asteroids, Mars and little green men, you might think the University of Wyoming was the setting for the newest SyFy Channel movie. Rather, they are just some of the latest subjects that will be discussed during planetarium shows in March.

“Our March shows will take our audiences beyond Earth, to interesting places within our solar system and beyond,” says Travis Laurance, the planetarium’s director. “We’ll explore giant rocks flying through our solar system, one a red dusty rock we call Mars. We will look at how Earth fits into the cosmos and ask the question, ‘Are we alone in space?’ We also will have a kid-friendly Saturday show dedicated to explaining what we see in the night sky.”

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, which seats 58, is located in the basement of the Physical Sciences Building.

Since the renovations were finished last November, the full-dome shows 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.

The March planetarium schedule is as follows:

-- Asteroids, KBOs and the Oort Cloud, Friday, March 6, 7 p.m. Fly though the solar system to explore and study some of the smaller objects of our stellar neighborhood, both near and far. A Legends laser show follows at 8:20 p.m.

-- Pale Blue Dot, Friday, March 13, 7 p.m. How big is our universe and where do we stand in the cosmic expanse? This show will help viewers wrap their minds around how truly small that “Pale Blue Dot” that we live on is, and how much more there is left to discover. A Led Zeppelin Unbound laser show follows at 8:20 p.m.

-- Introduction to Astronomy, Saturday, March 14, 4 p.m. When you look up at our night sky, what do you see? This afternoon show, geared toward kids, introduces them to these objects and more as they explore the galaxy and university beyond.

-- Little Green Men: Alien Life, Friday, March 20, 7 p.m. The prospect of intelligent life somewhere in the galaxy piques the interests of many different types of scientists and the public. The first radio-pulsating star discovered was called LGM-1 due to the difficulty in explaining a naturally occurring, hyper-regular signal. This program will explore the search for alien life and how it crosses the fields of physics, astronomy, biology and chemistry. A Michael Jackson laser show follows at 8:20 p.m.

-- Mars: The Mysterious Red Planet, Friday, March 27, 7 p.m. Mars has been the focal point for myths, superstitions and hoaxes for centuries. What makes this planet so fascinating? And what do we really know about our red neighbor? A Laser Gaga show follows at 8:20 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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