McMunn Planetarium shoots for the stars


Asst. News Editor

On March 7, ESU showed “Phases of the Moon” and “Passport to the Universe” in McMunn Planetarium, hosted by ESU physics professor Dr. David Buckley.

The “Phases of the Moon” program explained what happens to the moon in the time span of about one month. The program went through all of the moon’s phases, including the new moon, the waxing crescent, the half moon, and the waxing gibbous, as well as the crescent’s and gibbous’ waning counterparts.

The other program, “Passport to the Universe,” created by the American Museum of Natural History and narrated by Tom Hanks, showed where Earth fits into the universe. This presentation opened with pictures of the constellations, such as Orion, the Big Dipper, and the Little Dipper.

The Earth is located in a solar system revolving around the Sun, which is located in the Milky Way Galaxy. A neighboring galaxy is called the Andromeda Galaxy.  The galaxy is a part of the local group called the Virgo Cluster. This local group is part of a larger group called the Virgo Super Cluster.

Rachel Hornak, a freshman early education major at ESU, attended Friday’s programs with her mother and said that the programs were “informative and entertaining.”  She continued to say, “We enjoyed what we watched and thought that the size of our galaxy and universe was mind boggling.”

Darci Ackerman, a local community member, attended with her family.  She said, “It was the second show our family attended.  Professor Buckley has given us an informative and entertaining Friday evening.”

Ackerman continued, “That ESU and the professor do this for our community is wonderful. We plan on attending as many as we can. We especially enjoyed learning about the phases of the moon; it was a learning experience. As an adult, I learned so much about why and when we see and don’t see the moon.”

These shows are free and open to the public. On April 4, at 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM there will be showings of “Stars of Spring and Black Holes.

On May 2, at 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM there will be a kid’s show entitled “The Little Star That Could.”  After each of these shows, there will be an opportunity to view the moon — weather permitting.

In order to be able to attend, register online and print tickets.  There is a limit of four tickets per person, as seating is limited.  While the programs are suitable for children, the planetarium will be dark during both of the shows.

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