Free TAMIU LBV Planetarium Shows, Stargazing, Webcasts This Weekend

Free TAMIU LBV Planetarium Shows,
Stargazing Party, Webcast This Week

Have fun this week as the Texas A&M International University Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium celebrates 100 Hours of Astronomy. The activities start Thursday, April 2 and run through Saturday, April 4 and visitors will have a chance to win prizes during the three days.

“The 100 Hours of Astronomy Cornerstone Project is a worldwide event consisting of public outreach activities, live science center, research observatory webcasts and sidewalk astronomy events,” said Laura C. Jimenez, associate director, LBV Planetarium.

One of the goals of the event is to have as many people as possible look a telescope, just as Galileo did 400 years ago.

“100 Hours of Astronomy will take place from April 2 – 5 when the moon goes from first quarter to gibbous—good phases for early evening observing,” added Jimenez.

The celebration kicks off on Thursday with free admission to shows at the LBV Planetarium. “Star Signs” starts at 7 p.m. and “Planet Quest” at 8 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early as seating will be available on a first come, first served basis.

The LBV Planetarium will host “Around the World in 80 Telescopes,” a live webcast, Friday, April 3 from 3 – 5:45 p.m. The live webcast will feature 80 of the most advanced observatories on and off the planet.

Admission to the webcast is free.

“During the webcast, people can find out what is happening at a research observatory in this country or on the other side of the planet and discover what astronomers are doing in real time,” said Jimenez.

Audiences will have the opportunity to see the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, GALEX, (USA); NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (USA); the Southern African Large Telescope, SALT, (South Africa); NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (USA); Observatoire de Haute-Provence (France); Calar Alto Observatory (Spain); IRAM 30-metre telescope (Spain); Hinode (SOLAR-B) (Japan); and Gran Telescopio Canarias (Spain).

The European Southern Observatory in Germany organized the webcast.

After the Friday webcast, the LBV Planetarium will show “New Horizons” at 6 p.m. and “Extreme Planets” at 7 p.m. General admission is $5 for adults and $4 for children and TAMIU students, faculty, staff and alumni, but that evening, buy one ticket and get one free.

On Saturday the LBV Planetarium will show “Wonders of the Universe” at 6 p.m., “Stars of the Pharaohs” at 7 p.m. and “Planet Quest” at 8 p.m. General admission is $5 for adults and $4 for children and TAMIU students, faculty, staff and alumni. Premium shows are $1 extra.

After the shows, the LBV Planetarium will host the Global Star Party, weather permitting, starting at 8:45 p.m. Admission is free to the Global Star Party.

“At 8:45 p.m. we will join the rest of the globe with a stargazing party that being organized by Sidewalk Astronomers and International Sidewalk Astronomy Night. The Sidewalk Astronomers is an international amateur astronomy organization dedicated to public service. We will join the dedicated community of sidewalk astronomers in reaching out to as many people as possible and share the wonders of the sky,” explained Jimenez.

“Everyone with or without a telescope should come out to join us under the stars and be part of this star party,” she encouraged.

100 Hours of Astronomy is part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 celebration.

For more information, contact Jimenez at 326.2668 or e-mail planetarium@tamiu.edu

For a list of upcoming shows or show schedule, call 326.2444 or click on tamiu.edu/coas/planetarium

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu