November 1, 2009
09-176

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

Celebrate the International Year of Astronomy with Friday Show

VALDOSTA -- Guests at Valdosta State University's planetarium will witness the transformation of astronomy at its upcoming show "Astronomy Grows up -- and out!" at 7:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, in Nevins Hall.

With this and one more show in December, VSU Astronomy will end its celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, which space enthusiasts around the world have commemorated throughout 2009. See below for descriptions of both. Weather permitting, the observation deck will be open with each show for visitors to catch glimpses of Jupiter, the Andromeda Galaxy and other beautiful aspects of the night sky.

“We hope to spark people’s interest in the universe and their place in it. During these shows we make the campus observatory available to viewing skies,” said Dr. Kenneth Rumstay, professor of astronomy.

Located on the third floor of Nevin's Hall, VSU's planetarium serves up to 47 visitors per show with limited parking available in front of Nevins Hall and across North Patterson Street near VSU Admissions. It also caters to schools and civic organizations with groups of 10 or more with two weeks advance notice. Call (229) 333-5752 to make reservations.

** All nights offer shows at 7:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 6
"Astronomy Grows Up -- and Out!"
Dr. Martha Leake will take guests on a journey through time and space as she describes how human explorations and research of the stars and heavens have transformed. From a novice understanding in the early 1900s to a more mature knowledge today, astronomy has made countless innovations in telescopes and research tools, uncovered truths regarding the formation of stars and planets, and become fully engaged in a quest for astronomical wisdom. Join Leake and VSU Astronomy as they celebrate the International Year of Astronomy with this season's second planetarium show.

Friday, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11
"The Star of Bethlehem
Dr. Kenneth Rumstay and Dr. Martha Leake will use the VSU planetarium to recreate the night sky as seen from Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Although the exact year of birth is unknown, Rumstay said the book of Matthew from the Bible gives astrologically significant clues as to how and when the Star of Bethlehem occurred. Join these professors as they recreate the rare triple conjunction of planets that most likely accounted for the appearance of the special star as well as the heavenly host.

Friday, Feb. 19
"Our Journey from Galileo to the Cosmos"
Another review of astronomy's transformation from young knowledge to a mature quest for wisdom. More information will be available closer to the show date.

Friday, April 23
"In 1910: 'An Unaccountable Freak'"
The final show of the planetarium season will celebrate the 1910 passage of Hailey's Comet. More information will be available closer to the show date.