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Planetarium brings springtime stars

The Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences will be hosting “Spring Stargazing” tomorrow.

 There are three public shows at 7 p.m., 8 p.m and 9 p.m. at the VSU Planetarium located in Nevins Hall rm. 3004.

 The recently renovated planetarium is equipped with a Digitarium Kappa digital projector, the first of its kind in the world.

 This facility allows reproduction of the night sky as seen from anywhere on Earth or from the surface of any object in the solar system, and at any time in history, past or future.

 If the weather permits, telescopes will be available on the deck after sunset to monitor the planets, full moon and stars. 

 Spectators will observe the progress of Venus and Jupiter in the west which is setting earlier due to the Sun catching up to both planets.

 “This is the first time I will be attending one of the events hosted at the Planetarium, so I’m excited to see how it goes,” Amy Gonzalez, a junior biology major, said.

 Both Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest stars in the western sky, are situated among the familiar constellations of winter:  Taurus, Orion, Gemini and others.

 But there are two other bright planets among the “spring” constellations further east:  Mars can be found in Leo and Saturn in Virgo. 

 Each planet will be visited in turn, followed by a tour of the springtime stars, including constellations to the north, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

 “With this being the last preview of the academic year, it is expected to be a good turn-out,” Dr. Kenneth Rumstay, professor of astronomy, said.

 “I would like to thank all our patrons for a successful season!”

 The program is free and open to the public, but seating is first come, first served.     With 47 seats per program, viewers can arrive as early as 6 p.m. to sign up for the various shows. 

 Upcoming previews include an exciting astronomical event:  an annular eclipse of the Sun on May 20, visible to some in the western U.S.

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