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UW Planetarium Schedule Over the Moon During October

September 29, 2021
graphic poster with space designs on it
The moon will take center stage at the University of Wyoming Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium during October. “James Webb Space Telescope with Daniel Dale” will discuss the epic mission to send a tennis court-sized observatory past the moon. The program is scheduled Friday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. (UW Planetarium Photo)

The moon will take center stage at the University of Wyoming Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium during October with no fewer than four programs or activities related to Earth’s natural satellite.

“This month, we’ll be having a lot of special events for our audiences. First is ‘Observe the Moon Night.’ Along with thousands of other locations, we’ll be using telescopes, computers, 3D printed media and more to observe the moon Oct. 16,” says Max Gilbraith, the planetarium’s coordinator. “The next weekend, on Oct. 22, the planetarium will be closed as we help out at Jelm Mountain for the annual WIRO open house. Then, the last Friday of the month, we’ll be inviting our faculty director and University of Wyoming astronomer Danny Dale to give a presentation about the exciting launch of the James Webb Space Telescope later this year.”

WIRO is the Wyoming Infrared Observatory.

To get tickets or receive more information about programs, email 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 For a group larger than six, email the planetarium for a private show at Tickets for private shows are the same as the public programs.

A film and special live talk for audiences will be featured each week. The October schedule is:

-- “Meet the Planets,” Friday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m. This program will provide a tour of the sun’s planets and moons. Learn about the discoveries, exploration and feats of technology that have probed the solar system.

-- “From Earth to the Universe,” Saturday, Oct. 2, 2 p.m. The night sky has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and awe for as long as there have been people. A desire to comprehend the universe may well be humanity’s oldest shared intellectual experience. This journey of celestial discovery explores the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes.

-- “Wyoming Skies,” Tuesday, Oct. 5, 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.

-- “Astrobiology,” Friday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m. Is there anybody out there, or are we alone in the universe? The search for extraterrestrial life continues as scientists scour the solar system for signs of ancient or modern signs of life; radio telescopes listen for signs; and next-generation telescopes explore the planets of other star systems.

-- Full-dome movie: “Distant Worlds, Alien Life,” Saturday, Oct. 9, 2 p.m. This film explores one of the most enduring questions of humankind: Are we alone? For millennia, our ancestors watched the stars, questioning the origin and nature of what they saw. Knowing that the universe is a vast place filled with billions of stars and planets, these questions are still asked, with Earth the only planet known to be inhabited.

-- Full-dome movie: “Lunar Exploration: Apollo and Artemis,” Friday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m. See the history of lunar exploration and learn about the newest efforts to get humanity back to the moon.

-- Full-dome movie: “Max Goes to the Moon,” Saturday, Oct. 16, 2 p.m. Max, a dog, and a young girl named Tori take the first trip to the moon since the Apollo era. Along the way, the story sets the stage for the more sophisticated science of the “Big Kid Box” sidebars, which cover topics including “Phases of the Moon,” “Wings in Space?” and “Frisbees and Curve Balls on the Moon” -- explained so that adults and children can learn together about science.

-- “Observe the Moon Night,” Saturday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m. Weather permitting, the S.T.A.R. Observatory on the roof of the Physical Sciences Building will be open to the public for observing the moon. The program is free.

-- “Wyoming Skies,” Tuesday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m. The program provides an exploration of the stars, constellations, planets, meteor showers and other celestial phenomena visible from Wyoming for the season.

-- “WIRO Open House,” Friday, Oct. 22, 6 p.m. The annual WIRO open house at Jelm Mountain is scheduled. There will not be a show at the planetarium that evening. For more information about visiting WIRO, call the UW Department of Physics and Astronomy at (307) 766-6150 or email

-- “James Webb Space Telescope with Daniel Dale,” Friday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m. The next-generation space telescope is set to be launched later this year. The epic mission to send a tennis court-sized observatory past the moon will reveal the mysteries of the universe like never before. Dale, a UW professor of physics and astronomy, will detail the exciting science objectives and the knuckle-biting engineering feats that have gone into our next eyes in the sky.

-- Full-dome movie: “Two Small Pieces of Glass -- The Telescope,” Saturday, Oct. 30, 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.

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.

For more information about the planetarium, go to

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