BY REBECCA JASULEVICZ
Every semester, school groups, community members, and ESU students bustle to McMunn Planetarium, located in the Hoeffner Science and Technology Building, to be amazed by the wonders of the surrounding night sky.
McMunn Planetarium is utilized for free public shows aimed to educate and entertain thousands. On average, about 5,000 people attend shows in the Planetarium every year.
Using the Planetarium’s projection system, audience members learn about various aspects of astronomy, including galaxies, stars, and the Moon, through a sky show and a professionally produced show.
The sky shows are developed and produced by ESU physics professor Dr. David Buckley.
Dr. Buckley said, “Generally we have a sky show, which tells what’s in the sky that time of year. That’s an in-house produced show, and then we normally have a more professionally produced show that we’ve either gotten with our system or bought from other sources.”
These professionally produced shows come from a variety of sources, such as the American Museum of Natural History, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and a few other institutions.
“Normally we have one for the fall, one for the winter, and one for the spring. It tells you what’s in the sky, a little bit about the various objects that are out there,” Dr. Buckley said.
This semester, there will be eight shows on four different nights, as follows:
February 7, 7:00 & 8:00 PM
“Long Winter Nights and Two Small Pieces of Glass”
March 7, 7:00 & 8:00PM
“Phases of the Moon and Passport to the Universe”
April 4, 7:00 & 8:00 PM
“Stars of Spring and Black Holes”
May 2, 7:00 & 8:00 PM
“KIDS SHOW: Little Star that Could”
After each show, interested audience members may observe the Moon with the use of a telescope, weather permitting.
For students with an interest in astronomy, ESU provides more opportunities to explore the field than just the Planetarium shows.
According to Dr. Buckley, “[Shows are] only a small portion of what we do with the Planetarium. A lot of it is mainly for instruction; I do Astronomy I and Astronomy II classes in there, as well as Astrophysics.”
If students have never explored the field of astronomy, or if they simply have a piqued interest, McMunn Planetarium can be a great resource to utilize.
For this semester’s Planetarium shows, reservations are required, but there is no cost to the general public.
According to Dr. Buckley, “[Tickets are] free. We take reservations the Monday prior to the Friday [of the show], and often times they get reserved in the first hour or two. We only have 75 seats per show.”
Students are encouraged to attend, and reservations can be made through McMunn Planetarium’s page on the ESU website.
Any group inquiries can be e-mailed to email@example.com.
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