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Full-Dome Movies Dominate UW Planetarium Lineup During September

August 26, 2021
night photo of lit windows from outside
In this photo, visitors enjoy a summer evening at the Student Training and Research Observatory on the rooftop of the Physical Sciences Building. Visitors to the UW Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium will have an opportunity, weather permitting, to view the first quarter moon and other celestial objects around sunset from the roof of the Physical Sciences Building during “S.T.A.R. Observing Night!” Saturday, Sept. 11, at 8 p.m. This event is free. (UW Planetarium Photo)

An afternoon or evening at the movies appears to be the programming theme at the University of Wyoming Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium during September.

“We’re going to be highlighting more of our films this month. Each show will be approximately an hour in length with the live presentation that accompanies it,” says Max Gilbraith, the planetarium’s coordinator. “On Saturday, Sept. 11, we’ll be hoping to open up the rooftop observatory for the community for free and, weather permitting, observe the actual night sky, planets and the moon.”

A film and special live talk for audiences will be featured each week.

To get tickets or receive more information about programs, email planetarium@uwyo.edu or leave a voicemail and a call-back phone number at (307) 766-6506. Tickets are $5 for the public and $3 for students, senior citizens, veterans, first responders and those under 18. Seating is free for children under 5.

Reservations or pre-purchase is not required, and walk-ins are welcome. Tickets can be purchased online with a credit card, reserved by email or voicemail, or purchased at the start of the show. Cash or check is accepted at the door. The planetarium, which seats 58, is in the basement of the Physical Sciences Building. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis outside of designated ADA/wheelchair seating. 

To pay for tickets with a credit card, go to https://www.uwyo.edu/uwplanetarium/ticket.aspx.

The September schedule is as follows:

-- Full-dome movie: “From Earth to the Universe,” Friday, Sept. 3, 7 p.m. The night sky has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe for as long as there has been people. This film invites viewers to learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes.

-- Full-dome movie: “Two Small Pieces of Glass -- The Telescope,” Saturday, Sept. 4, 2 p.m. This film follows two students as they interact with a female astronomer at a local star party. Along the way, the students learn the history of the telescope from Galileo’s modifications to a child’s spyglass -- using two small pieces of glass -- to the launch of the NASA/European Space Agency Hubble Space Telescope and the future of astronomy.

-- “Wyoming Skies,” Tuesday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m. This program provides an exploration of the stars, constellations, planets, meteor showers and other celestial phenomena visible from Wyoming for the season.

-- Full-dome movie: “Europe to the Stars,” Friday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m. This film takes viewers on an epic journey behind the scenes at the most productive ground-based observatory in the world -- the European Southern Observatory -- revealing the science, history, technology and the people. This movie focuses on the essential aspects of an astronomical observatory while offering a broader view of how astronomy is conducted.

-- “S.T.A.R. Observing Night!,” Saturday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m. Weather permitting, visitors will enjoy the first quarter moon and other celestial objects around sunset from the roof of the Physical Sciences Building with the use of 8-inch and 16-inch telescopes. This event is free.

-- Full-dome movie: “Dawn of the Space Age,” Friday, Sept. 17, 7 p.m. From the launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, to the magnificent lunar landings and privately operated space flights, viewers will be immersed with this most accurate historic reconstruction of man’s first steps into space.

-- Full-dome movie: “Mexican Archaeoastronomy: Between Space and Time,” Saturday, Sept. 18, 2 p.m. This film illustrates the important role played by astronomical observation for the evolution of pre-Hispanic cultures in central Mexico.

-- “Wyoming Skies,” Tuesday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m. This program provides an exploration of the stars, constellations, planets, meteor showers and other celestial phenomena visible from Wyoming for the season.

-- Full-dome movie: “Dark Matter Mystery,” Friday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m. What keeps galaxies together? What are the building blocks of the universe? What makes the universe look the way it looks today? Approximately one-quarter of the universe is filled with a mysterious glue: dark matter.

-- Full-dome movie: “Out There: Extrasolar Worlds,” Saturday, Sept. 25, 2 p.m. This film features the primitive science fiction of early civilizations; future space missions that will observe the universe in greater-than-ever detail; and the opportunity to travel to the surfaces and oceans of moons in our solar system.

All programs are approximately an hour in length. As time allows, a portion of the show also may focus on a live sky tour or supporting information related to the film’s topic.

If you have a group larger than six, it is recommended to contact the planetarium for a private show at https://uwyo.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bKuqIynOn7gFK2F, Gilbraith says. The rate for private shows is the same as ticket prices for public shows, he says.

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