ASU Zacheis Planetarium presents Grand Re-opening events

(08-28-2012)

To celebrate its recent renovation, Adam State University's Zacheis Planetarium will host a Grand Re-opening, featuring a series of free movies and star tours for the general public on Friday, Sept. 7, and Saturday, Sept. 8.

Planetarium Director Dr. Robert Astalos, an assoc. professor of physics, said each movie will be followed by a tour of the evening's stars and constellations, as well as a few brief examples of some of the new system's capabilities. Weather permitting, telescopes will be available outside the planetarium for public use before, during, and after the shows - even in the daytime.

The movie schedule for the Grand Reopening is as follows:

Friday, Sept 7:

  • 7 p.m. - Oasis in Space
  • 8 p.m. - Oasis in Space
  • 9 p.m. - Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth's Climate Engine

Saturday, Sept. 8:

  • 3 p.m. - Zula Patrol: Down to Earth (Especially for kids and families)
  • 4 p.m. - IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System
  • 5 p.m. - IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System
  • 7 p.m. - Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth's Climate Engine
  • 8 p.m. - Dynamic Earth: Exploring Earth's Climate Engine
  • 9 p.m. - Oasis in Space

The planetarium's website contains show descriptions under "Movie Library," as well as the schedule of upcoming shows and events for the fall semester under "Scheduled Public Shows." Zacheis Planetarium is located on Richardson Ave, between the Adams State Art Building and School of Business. Parking is available in the new lot at First & Richardson.

Outreach to stimulate career goals

The planetarium's theater was completely gutted, rewired, and repainted during its $400,000 renovation over the summer. That was followed by installation of a brand new, top-of-the-line dome screen, new carpeting, a modern digital, full-dome projection system, and finally, all new seating.

"The Zacheis Planetarium theater can now provide a viewing experience rivaling those found in large museums in major cities all over the world," Astalos said. "Best of all, given ASU's public outreach mission, all planetarium programs will remain free of charge for all visitors."

The renovation was funded as part of a $3.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Hispanic Serving Institutions STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The five-year grant aims to help more Hispanic and low-income students earn a degree in STEM fields.By enhancing the Zacheis Planetarium and expanding its outreach, the university hopes to cultivate more interest in STEM careers and postsecondary education among area youth.

"The field of astronomy lends itself perfectly to this objective, because it connects all STEM disciplines and is historically appealing to K-12 students and the general public," noted Dr. Matt Nehring, professor of physics and chair of the Department of Chemistry, Computer Science and Mathematics. "This will give area students a view into the world of science that may otherwise be inaccessible to them, due to financial and geographical reasons."

While the planetarium's capabilities were greatly increased, the modern seating layout mandated a decrease in the number of available seats. Due to the limited seating, tickets will be required for all shows. Tickets will be available free of charge starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday for the Friday shows, at 2:30 p.m. for the Saturday afternoon shows, and 6:30 p.m. for the Saturday evening shows. There will be a limit of two tickets per person present at the ticket desk.