UM to Host First Public Planetarium Shows Feb. 27

February 24, 2015

MISSOULA – The University of Montana Department of Physics and Astronomy invites the public to its first public planetarium shows on Friday, Feb. 27, in the Payne Family Native American Center Star Gazing Room.

The 50-minute shows begin at 7 and 8 p.m. Tickets cost $6 for adults and $4 for children ages 12 and younger. Tickets are limited and are available for purchase online at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/star-gazing-room-planetarium-shows-tickets-15806065367?ref=ebtnebtckt. Sales end one hour before each show or when sold out.

“We are delighted to be opening the doors of the Star Gazing Room to the public at large,” UM Department of Physics and Astronomy outreach coordinator Mark Reiser said. “It’s an exciting time for our department and hopefully the greater Missoula community.”

Each program will take attendees on a tour of the current night skies of Missoula, pointing out noteworthy objects, constellations, planets or upcoming events visible in the night sky. The show then will shift to an engaging topic, or set of topics, chosen by that evening’s presenter. 

Topics will range from a focus on unique night sky phenomena, our solar system and its exploration, extra-solar planets found within the Milky Way, stellar groupings in our galaxy or large-scale patterns of the universe as a whole.

“Our new digital planetarium is equipped with a cutting-edge, world-class projector,” Reiser said. “It contains a vast amount of real-time date, including positions of real objects throughout the universe. It can easily depict the sky we would see from Missoula 100,000 years in the future and allow us to visit entirely different planets, stars or even galaxies.”

The maximum capacity for public shows is 25 people. Events may sell out quickly. Attendees should plan to be present 10 minutes before the beginning of the show, as the planetarium entrance will be locked after the show begins.

A second evening of programs will be offered at 7 and 8 p.m. Monday, March 23.

“We are thrilled to begin sharing this with the general public, and we thank all those in the Payne Family Native American Center for helping us make this a reality,” Reiser said.

For more information visit http://cas.umt.edu/physics/Outreach/default.php.

Contact: Mark Reiser, UM Department of Physics and Astronomy outreach coordinator, 406-243-2074, mark.reiser@umontana.edu.