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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

April 15, 2013
Howard Mooers | Professor of Geology, Planetarium Director | 218-726-7239 |
Cheryl Reitan | Associate Director | External Affairs | 218-726-8996|

UMD Planetarium Celebrates Astronomy Day with Free Events

Duluth, MN — The Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) will observe Astronomy Day on April 20, 2013 with 36 free events.

From 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., children and adults are invited to explore space during planetarium shows and hands-on activities, all exploring the theme, "Colonizing the Solar System."

The Duluth Children's Museum staff have organized games and activities for kids of all ages. Dark-Sky programs and full-dome videos and documentaries will be presented in the planetarium theater on the half-hour. A wide variety of lectures and programs will be held in adjacent lecture halls on topics such as colonizing space, space medicine, aerospace engineering, astrophotography, and mining asteroids.

Two distinguished speakers will add to the line-up. Dr. Matthew Andrews, UMD, will present "Hibernation in Space," a futuristic look at how humans can endure long travel times in space. Dr. George Shaw, professor emeritus, Union College, Schenectady, NY, will present "Terraforming Mars," ideas on how to turn the red planet into an Earth-like environment.

"Astronomy Day explores time and space with hands-on activities and exciting information," said Howard Mooers, R.L. Heller Professor of Geology and director of the UMD planetarium. "Our goal is to combine education and critical thinking with entertainment."

Refreshments will be available. No reservations are needed. For more information contact: 218-726-7129,, or

The April 20 Schedule

Planetarium Dome
10:00 a.m. — We Choose Space Movie
10:30 a.m. — Summer Star Show
11:00 a.m. — Dynamic Earth Movie
11:30 a.m. — Solar System Tour
12 noon — Black Holes Movie
12:30 p.m. — Solar System Tour
1:00 p.m. — We Choose Space Movie
1:30 p.m. — Zodiac Star Show
2:00 p.m. — Dynamic Earth Movie
2:30 p.m. — Solar System Tour
3:00 p.m. — Native American Star Show
3:30 p.m. — Black Holes Movie
4:00 p.m. — Solar System Tour
4:30 p.m. — Summer Star Show
5:00 p.m. — We Choose Space Movie

Marshall W. Alworth Hall 191
10:00 a.m. — Colonizing Space 101
10:30 a.m. — Intelligence beyond Earth
11:00 a.m. — Geology Club Presents: Mining Asteroids
11:30 a.m. — Space Medicine
12 noon — Aerospace Engineering
1:00 p.m. — Astronomy Lessons from Star Wars
1:30 p.m. — Colonizing the Solar System Workshop
3:00 p.m. — Plants in Space
3:30 p.m. — Astrophotography
4:00 p.m. — Family Astronomy Jeopardy
4:30 p.m. — Mythbusters

Marshall W. Alworth Hall 195
10:00 a.m. — Family Astronomy Jeopardy
10:30 a.m. — Future Missions
11:00 a.m. — Pack your bags... (Kid's show)
11:30 a.m. — Exo-Planets
12 noon — Saturn
12:30 p.m. — Terraforming Mars with George Shaw
1:00 p.m. — Plants in Space
2:30 p.m. — Hibernation in Space with Matthew Andrews
3:00 p.m. — Asteroid Mining
3:30 p.m. — Colonizing Space 101
4:00 p.m. — Intelligence beyond Earth
4:30 p.m. — Astronomy Lessons from Star Wars

The Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium attracts nearly 10,000 visitors a year. It has a 30-foot dome and a Spitz A3P star machine, which projects the stars onto the surface of the dome. Installed when the planetarium was built in 1965, the star machine can take viewers to any observing point in the world, projecting nearly 1500 stars. Two free public shows are offered each week and two Saturday full dome projection shows are offered for a small charge. Many events are held during the year.

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