Planetarium announces spring semester shows

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Spring semester shows commence in Radford University’s planetarium on Jan. 26.

Regular Tuesday and Thursday evening shows begin at 7 p.m. Saturday morning shows, which are geared toward a younger audience, begin at 10:30 a.m.

The first series of Tuesday/Thursday shows this semester is called “Stellar Origins.” The show was created by Radford University physics major Josh Carroll. Carroll describes his show:

“What are we made of? Where did that stuff come from? How are we here? These are questions that have been asked by humanity throughout the ages. Many answers have been given by many different schools of thought, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that we’ve been able to provide a scientific answer; stars. Come join us in our planetarium as we fly deep into the cosmos and witness the life and death of the celestial furnaces responsible for all that we see. We will explore the early stages of a star’s life, how it sustains itself, its eventual death and what that means for life in the universe as we know it.”

Saturday morning shows, which begin Jan. 28, are called “Earth’s Wild Ride.”

The kid-friendly show imagines Earth as a distant place you once called home but could never visit again. Set on the surface of the Moon in the year 2081, a grandfather, granddaughter and grandson watch a solar eclipse from scenic cliffs overlooking their moon colony.

Conversation leads to contrasts between the moon, the only home the granddaughter knows, and the Earth, where the grandfather has spent most of his life. As they watch the Moon’s shadow move across Earth, the grandfather tells stories of crashing asteroids, erupting volcanoes, roaring dinosaurs, electrifying lightning and booming thunder. Adventure and appreciation for home fill this 20-minute journey back to the Earth.

This semester, the planetarium is also offering on a trial basis Tuesday and Thursday afternoon shows, beginning at 3:30 p.m. The goal is to provide K-12 students another fun after-school option. These shows will welcome all attendees and will take them on various voyages through the night sky, the solar system and the universe.

Parking for the shows is typically available in Lots B or C, next to the planetarium in the Center for the Sciences. For those parking on campus for the 3:30 afternoon shows, metered parking spaces are available in Lots B or C, or free parking passes are available at the “parking” window on the main floor of Heth Hall. A campus and parking map is available here.

Shows are free and open to the public.

— Courtesy of Mary Hardbarger