As the new year begins, the University of Wyoming Harry C. Vaughn Planetarium has a new schedule with shows highlighting planets and alien life.

The planetarium's winter hours feature Friday night shows starting at 7 p.m. and STAR Observatory tours running from 8-9:30 p.m.

January includes four Tuesday night shows beginning at 7 p.m., and for the kids, there are Saturday children's shows that start at 11 a.m.

“Happy New Year! Classes have not yet started at the university, but the planetarium is open to the public for our Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday shows,” said planetarium coordinator Samantha Ogden in a statement to UW News.

 

Upcoming shows like "How We Blew Up Pluto," "Jupiter the Colossal," and "Constellations Across Cultures" take a closer look at planets and constellations.

"My personal favorite [is] Constellations Across Cultures," Ogden told Laramie Live. "The constellations that we are familiar with, like the Big Dipper or Orion, are from just one part of the world, but there are constellations that are present in the skies from all over the world - all over ancient civilizations - so it takes a closer look at the ways that multiple ancient civilizations viewed the night sky."

For those fascinated by alien life, the planetarium is showing “E.T. and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life” on Friday, Jan. 11, and “Distant Worlds - Alien Life” on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Detailed descriptions of shows are available at wyomingspacegrant.org.

On Tuesday nights there are full-dome movie double features, excluding the first Tuesday of each month when the planetarium hosts This Month's Sky, which Ogden says gives people an opportunity to learn what kinds of things they can expect to see in the night sky for that given month.

Ticket costs are $3 for students and $4 for non-students, and can be purchased on campus at the Department of Physics and Astronomy main office in the Physical Sciences Building, Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. Tickets also can be purchased online by clicking on “Planetarium Schedule.”

Doors open 20 minutes before each show, where tickets will be sold if available. The planetarium, which seats 58, is located in the basement of the Physical Sciences Building.

Shows have not been selling out, but Ogden says attendance has been trending up.