RU Planetarium opens the sky to the RU community


The Radford University Planetarium is again sharing the wonders of the night sky and astronomy with the university and community this semester.

Through Thursday, Jan. 29, the RU Planetarium will host "Night Sky Tours." The show uses a star projector to dramatically illustrate what is currently in the sky - visible planets in the evening and early morning and prominent constellations. "Night Sky Tours" runs on Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and the first Kid's show of 2015 will be on Saturday, Jan. 31, at 10:30 a.m.

Beginning on Saturday, Jan 31, and running through Feb. 14, the RU Planetarium will host a double feature – a shorter "Night Sky Tour" and the full-dome show "It's About Time." In "It's About Time," audiences accompany future tourists by space elevator to a geosynchronous space station from which they peer through the time-spanning Einstein Space Telescope to the galactic far reaches and beyond. The show is appropriate for all ages and is produced by Discovery Dome.

Beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 17, and running through March 5, the RU Planetarium will feature "Amazing Astronomers of Antiquity." The show may contain some surprises for audiences, said RU Planetarium Director and Professor of Physics Rhett Herman.

"Amazing Astronomers of Antiquity" shows that over 2,000 years ago ancient astronomers knew the Earth was round and the length of the year to the precision of our modern calendar, had measured the Earth's diameter and distance from the sun, had created an accurate star map with magnitudes and had developed a method for predicting eclipses.  Even then, ancient sailors navigated by the stars and some astronomers thought that the Earth orbited the Sun, long before it was conventional knowledge. Produced by Discovery Dome, "Amazing Astronomers of Antiquity" is a 21-minute journey of discovery that visits the Greek Pantheon, the great library of Alexandria, the streets of Leptis Magna, Naples, the Mediterranean Ocean and an Egyptian pyramid.


The night sky, as seen in the RU Planetarium

The Planetarium will be closed over spring break, March 7-15, and shows resume on Tuesday, March 17.

The RU Planetarium offers 32 reclined planetarium seats within its 24-foot diameter dome and can accommodate up to 45 people. To visit the planetarium at times other than its regularly scheduled showtimes or with a group, contact Herman.

All shows are free and open to the public. The planetarium is located in Curie Hall Room 43. Enter through Reed Hall from the main campus and follow the signs in the building. A complete RU Planetarium schedule can be found on the planetarium homepage.

Jan 27, 2015