April 23 marks International Astronomy day – a day encouraging people to gaze up at the stars. To mark the occasion, members of the Astronomy Club at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) are coordinating a day of free events at UMD’s Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium.
Senior Kim Seifert is helping to organize the events and has been working at the Planetarium for a few years while attending school. “I wasn’t that into astronomy before getting a job here and now I love it,” said Seifert. “Space is endlessly fascinating and visiting the Planetarium can inspire a real sense of wonder for anyone. I hope people that have never visited will take advantage of this free event to check us out and learn more.”
Astronomy Day activities are planned from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and include constellation shows, universe tours, virtual reality demonstrations, full-dome planetarium movies and hands-on workshops. They’ll also be selling pizza and refreshments for those that would like to make a day of it. More information is available via the UMD Events Calendar.
Planetarium Director Marc Seigar is excited to show off the facility’s projection system and software which were significantly upgraded last year. Seigar said, “We’re always looking for ways to reach out to new audiences. With the Planetarium and our new GeoDome, we have great resources available to inspire and educate people of all ages.”
All of the days’ events are free and open to the public. Members of the Arrowhead Astronomical Society will be on hand to help, too. Seifert added, “This is a great way to get kids excited about science and learning about the world around them.”
The Planetarium is part of UMD’s Swenson College of Science and Engineering. The college has about 3,100 undergraduates and 220 graduate students and is home to ten academic departments, as well as the Large Lakes Observatory, the UMD Air Force ROTC program, and the Iron Range Engineering program. SCSE connects students with hands-on research opportunities through its collaboration with multiple research institutions and area businesses. To learn more, visit: http://www.d.umn.edu/scse/.
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