BYU planetarium offers view of the universe

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The Royden G. Derrick Planetarium, located on the fourth floor of the Eyring Science Center, offers fun outreach activities and shows to those who want to try a new activity.

Besides helping people get more familiar with the stars, the planetarium also informs the public about the events happening on campus and in the sky.

The transit of Venus is a rare event happening on Tuesday and most people alive today will never have the chance to see it again. “The transit of Venus is a big deal because it only happens once in a lifetime,” said Matthew McNeff , a member of the BYU Astronomy Society. “It will not happen again until 2117.”

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Photo courtesy of BYU Department of Physics and Astronomy
McNeff said people should research the event before watching the transit of Venus to better understand the event and appreciate it more.

McNeff shared an analogycomparing an art museum to the universe. “What would it be like if (people) were to live in a art museum, with lots of beautiful paintings like the Mona Lisa, and they walked by everyday without ever stopping to appreciate the art? It would be a tragedy,” McNeff said.

McNeff said the night sky is full of amazing creations and masterpieces and too many people walk by without ever stopping to take a look. “I hope that things like the transit of Venus can get people to slow down and ponder the wonders of our universe,” McNeff said.

Jeannette Lawler, planetarium supervisor, said people will be able to watch the transition of Venus online. The BYU Astronomy Society will be taking pictures and posting them online starting at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday.

Lawler said the BYU planetarium offers outreach activities and constellation shows for schools, youth, scout groups and community members for less than $2.  She suggested in order to avoid over booking, outreach activities must be  scheduled at least one week in advance but the constellation show does not take reservations.

Jon and Kenna Fairbanks said they wanted something new to do on Friday nights so they searched online for activities in Provo. “The BYU planetarium was one of the first things to do on the list,” Jon Fairbanks said. “We were so excited because it seems to be fun and inexpensive.”

On Friday nights the planetarium presents the constellation show hosted by the BYU Astronomical Society. The constellations show gives tips on how to find the constellations in the night sky. “I like the (the constellation) presentation because it helped me to find other constellations besides the big dipper,” Kenna Fairbanks said.

People who participate in the show are amazed with the presentation and knowledge obtained.

Michael Wright, a junior studying finance said the constellation show takes participants on a journey through the creation of the universe. “It blew my mind,” Wright said. “It is impressive how big the universe is and how much we actually know about it.”

The planetarium is an educational, fun and inexpensive activity helping people understand more about the universe.

 

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