Weekend celebration of space and science to open new planetarium
With a series of events in celebration, the Radford University Planetarium will premiere its new state-of-the-art facility in the recently opened Center for the Sciences April 29-30.
The commemorative weekend will feature lectures and special planetarium shows in the just-completed planetarium. Astrophysicists Michelle and Shane Larson will be featured speakers. Michelle Larson is president and CEO of Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, the western hemisphere’s oldest public planetarium, that last year hosted almost a half million visitors. Shane Larson is research associate professor of physics at Northwestern University and a member of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics.
A centerpiece of the College of Science and Technology’s "Science on Display" initiative, the planetarium has 55 new theater-style seats, all digital projection and surround-sound systems and a full catalog of shows and educational presentations. The upgrade completes a 16-year run in the basement of Reed-Curie Hall that was visited by more than 40,000 visitors.
“We are excited for this new educational tool that will be used for not only astronomy and physics, but also for other disciplines that need to show their own images and videos in a big way,” said Professor of Physics and Planetarium Director Rhett Herman. “We will greatly expand our offerings for the campus community and beyond.”
The commemorative weekend will begin April 29 at 3:15 p.m. with a meet-and-greet with both Michelle and Shane Larson prior to Shane’s 4 p.m. lecture, “The Dawn of Gravitational Wave Astronomy.” At 7:30 p.m., The planetarium will feature a dedication show with special comments by Michelle Larson. The dedication show will be “The Violent Universe,” narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The show immerses the audience into deep space across the domed screen and provides an intense introduction to a fascinating realm of science. The general show at 8:45 p.m. will be "The Secret Lives of Stars," also narrated by Stewart.
On April 30, the planetarium will host its first kids’ show at 10 a.m. for families with children. The show will be followed by activities sponsored by Macaroni Kid NRV whose mission is to provide family friendly events and information. Michelle Larson will deliver a lecture about her work in science education outreach, titled “Science Has a Story to Tell” at 12:30 p.m., followed by shows at 2, 3 and 4 p.m.
For more information regarding the new planetarium please visit their website.