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University of Minnesota Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium


Howard Mooers

Dr. Howard Mooers

Planetarium Director

Dr. Howard Mooers is Director of the Planetarium and Professor and Head of the Department of Geological Sciences. Howard teaches Introduction to Astronomy as well as numerous courses in geology. An avid amateur astronomer since his youth, Howard spends evenings with his 8-year-old daughter in his private observatory.

Shane Loeffler

Program Assistant

Shane is a Geology major at UMD. He is also pursuing an Astronomy minor. A native of the North Shore, he enjoys the outdoors and nature in all of its many forms. He loves science and the cosmic perspective that it brings, especially astronomy. His favorite thing to do is show people how ridiculously weird, enormous, and cool the universe that we're part of is.

Shawn Weddel

Program Assistant

Shawn Weddel studies Earth and Space Science Education at UMD and plans to teach high school and eventually college physical science. An unhealthy obsession with Star Wars lead to severe bouts of excitement, thus enticing his interest in Astronomy. He is made of star stuff, and THAT IS COOL.

Emily Vanlonden

Program Assistant

 Emily is a junior at UMD who is majoring in Geology with two minors in Biology and Astronomy. She enjoys shunning Kim in her spare time for not watching Star Wars. She likes Star Wars. She also swims competitively for North Shore Swim Team and has been into astronomy her whole life.

Kimberly Seifert

Program Assistant

 Kimberly is a freshman at UMD who is studying to get a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Design and Tech. She has recently taken an interest in astronomy, thanks to a close friend. Her favorite part about working at the planetarium is learning new things about space. In her spare time, Kimberly likes to do photography and sing. Her coworkers shun her due to the fact that she has not seen Star Wars.

Aaron Slonecker


Ever since Aaron first watched Star Wars, he has wanted to study the objects and evolution of our solar system. Aaron hails all the way from the West Coast and received his B.S. in Planetary Science and minor in Astrophysics from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2008. In 2013 he received his M.S. in Planetary Science from the University of Minnesota Duluth. After working at the Planetarium as a research assistant beginning in 2011, Aaron now volunteers his time and experience for large Planetarium events like Astronomy Day.

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Last modified on 01/29/14 11:16 AM
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