You are currently browsing the archives for the Planetarium category.
This will be the last newsletter that will have the subject ‘News from Your Planetarium’ because the UOG Planetarium has been closed by the university administration. I am spending this month sorting and cleaning and clearing and that brings up one of the things I want to talk about.
I know that many of you are teachers and I have 20 years worth of space-related posters, 8X10 glossies and other teaching materials. I’m hoping that some of you would like them for your classes. Otherwise, they’ll be thrown away. If you’d like to take a look at the materials, please e-mail me a date and time when you can drop by the Planetarium. It must be before the end of this month.
If your major interest in this newsletter was to learn about public Planetarium shows and you no longer want to be on the list, please reply to this e-mail and tell me to remove your name. I will continue to send occasional e-mails about cool things happening in the sky. I’m thinking of using ‘News from the Star Lady’ as the new subject.
And speaking of ‘cool things happening in the sky’ there’s a triple planetary conjunction next week. Scroll down to read more about it. I also have my reflections on 20+ years as the ‘Star Lady’.
And I’d like to thank all of your for your incredible support over the years!
1. Triple planetary conjunction in the pre-dawn sky.
2. Reflections on being ‘The Star Lady’
1. Pre-dawn triple planetary conjunction We have a double planetary conjunction in our early morning sky right now and next week it will go from a double conjunction to a triple. The only slightly bad news is that you have to get up before dawn to see it.
So here’s how you do it. Go outside around 5:15 a.m. any morning this week and face east where the Sun will rise. You’ll see Orion the Hunter close to the eastern horizon and two bright ‘stars’ a little less that two fist-widths to the left of and slightly below his shoulders (toward the north). The bright one is Jupiter, the red one above Jupiter is Mars.
Jupiter and Mars will reach their closest point of approach on Monday, the 22nd of July and Jupiter will pass Mars. If you have a clear view of the eastern horizon this week, you’ll notice another bright star below Mars and Jupiter and that ‘star’ will get closer to them every morning. That should tell you it’s not a star; it’s Mercury and the three planets will dance around each other for the rest of the month. They’ll reach their mutual closest point of approach on the 30th because that’s the day Mercury reaches its farthest distance from the Sun for this trip. It will then race between the Earth and the Sun and disappear from the early morning sky.
The three planets will be joined by a thin crescent Moon on 4 and 5 August. Enjoy the cool pre-dawn hours and enjoy the dance!
2. Reflections on 20+ years as the ‘Star Lady’
So, what do you say when a job you’ve loved for over 20 years is taken away from you? So long and thanks for all the fish? No, you talk about all the good things. You talk about the people who’ve helped you over the years like Barb Slater and Tzippora Steele and Cindy Naval. You talk about the wonderful support you’ve gotten from the staff at the Science Building and the maintenance people. But mainly you talk about the wonderful support you’ve gotten from the people of Guam.
The UOG Planetarium averaged an annual attendance of 10,000 people over the 20+ years since the new Spitz system was installed in 1992 and I became Planetarium Coordinator. I discovered two things very fast. There was no money to purchase shows and many of the commercially produced shows won’t work here anyway because our skies are so different. So I started doing my own shows and produced over 80 shows in the last 20 years.
I did school shows that were specifically designed for elementary grade levels and addressed the content that was taught at those levels. I produced many different shows about our solar system and several that featured the wider universe. I produced shows on our space exploring robots and our own explorations. There were shows that featured the contributions of women to space science and about our future in space. I also produced four seasonal shows about the skies of Guam. They’ve remained among my most popular because they allowed you to appreciate Guam’s wonderful night skies.
There are shows that I’m especially proud of. Tops on this list are the shows produced by groups of high school students. Although the degree of participation varied, for most of the high school produced shows, the students did the research, wrote the script and then did a professional narration job. For some shows, I taught one of the students how to write the program that runs each show automatically.
One high school group produced a live play about the Perseus Legend that was presented in the Planetarium. Photographs of the action were then incorporated into a show that was featured many times both as a public show and to groups of schoolchildren.
And then there were the Legends shows. There was a Legends show every November and they featured sky legends from all over the world. But instead of having older people tell us the stories, as is traditional, the Planetarium legends shows were narrated by little kids.
Over 120 children have been Legends narrators over the years and as you can imagine, many of them have their own kids today. I really wanted to produce a 20th anniversary Legends show that would feature the children of some of the original narrators, but alas, that won’t happen.
I’m also very proud of the contribution the Planetarium made to the traditional navigators. Manny Sikau who tragically died earlier this year, spent many, many hours in the Planetarium looking at the sky as it appears over various islands at various times of the year. It is a great tragedy that this invaluable resource will be lost to the navigators. And it’s an even greater tragedy that it is now lost to the people and schoolchildren of Guam.
But I’ve had grand fun over the years, teaching the people of Guam about the solar system and the wider universe and about Guam’s incredible night skies. I hope you’ve enjoyed it too!
Look up tonight, the universe awaits you!
Wasn’t the triple conjunction wonderful? I got lots of e-mails and even some phone calls about it. Although we didn’t get to see it every night because of the clouds, it was pretty spectacular.
This month’s public Planetarium shows will be pretty spectacular too!
Since they might be the last ones, you may want to attend. And there’s a bright pass of the International Space Station this Wednesday night. Keep reading and I’ll tell you all about it!
1. Bright pass of the ISS 5 June 2013 7:09-7:15 p.m.
2. June’s public shows
13, 14 and 15 June 2013
1. Bright pass of the ISS 5 June 2013 7:09-7:15 p.m.
There will be a very bright pass of the International Space Station this Wednesday night. The ISS will shine at -3.4 which is only a little dimmer than Venus which shines at -3.8 this month. To spot the ISS Wednesday night, get an accurate time hack for your watch and at about 5 minutes after 7:00 p.m. go out and find Venus.
Although Mercury and Jupiter will still be there, it will probably be too light at that time to spot them. Measure 8 fist-widths to the left of Venus and at 7:09 p.m. you should see the ISS appear at that spot. It will climb almost straight up and by 7:12 p.m. it will be virtually straight overhead. It will then head back downward and will disappear into the Earth’s shadow in the northeastern sky at 7:15 p.m. Don’t forget to wave!
2. Public Planetarium shows 13, 14 and 15 June 2013 Public Planetarium shows for June are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 13, 14 and 15 June at 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. This month we’re featuring 6 different shows.
The 6:30 p.m. show on Thursday night, 13 June, is tailor-made for stargazers. It’s called ‘Summer Skies’ and it’s a lovely romp through Guam’s summer skies. We’ll start with the skies of mid-June and show you how to find the Southern Cross, Scorpius the Scorpion and many, many other things. Then, at 7:00 p.m. we’ll have ‘Quality Time with the Star Lady’
where I attempt to answer your questions about the sky and other space-related issues. But what we’re really doing is stalling for time until it gets dark enough go outside to see how much of it we can find in the real sky.
On Friday night, 14 June, we’re having ‘Tales of the Past’, when we’ll feature two of our wonderful ‘Sky Legends’ shows. These stories about the sky are from all over the world and they are always narrated by local little kids. Since I’ve been producing them for almost 20 years now, we’ll probably feature two shows where the kids aren’t so little anymore!
On Saturday night, 15 June, we’ll have ‘Tales of the Future’ which will showcase two of my most popular shows. At 6:30 p.m. you’ll see ‘Saturday Night in Armstrong City’. You’ll accompany the first graduating class of Edwin Aldrin High School on their senior class trip. The year is 2040 and EAHS is located on the Moon. Then at 7:00 p.m. we’ll slip farther into the future to the year 2080 for ‘Your Grandchildren’s Vacation’; a marvelous romp through the entire solar system. Come all three nights for six different shows! See you then!
The UOG Planetarium is located on the second floor of the Science Building, the first two-story building you encounter when you enter the main campus. The doors open at 6:00 p.m. and since I’m anticipating larger than normal attendance, you might want to come closer to 6:00 p.m.
than to 6:30. Planetarium shows are always free!
Well, that magnificent triple planetary conjunction I mentioned earlier in the month has begun! All you have to do is go outside tonight (and perhaps every night for the next couple of weeks) and watch the magnificent sunset. That way you’ll know where to look. Then go back outside at 7:15 and I hope you have a clear view to the west.
At 7:15, it won’t be quite dark, but you should still see three very bright ‘stars’ close to the horizon where the Sun disappeared. They aren’t stars; the top one is Jupiter, the incredibly bright one below Jupiter is Venus and below Venus, you just might be able to see Mercury.
Mercury moves very fast, and by Friday Mercury and Venus will be side by side and very close together. They will also be much closer to Jupiter.
So go outside at 7:15 every night this week. If you turn around, you’ll see a big triangle of bright stars in the eastern sky. The bottom one on the right isn’t a star: that’s Saturn so you can see four planets. (To see another one, just look down
Take your kids outside and introduce them to celestial mechanics in action. ENJOY!
Welcome to magnificent May! Just a reminder that there’s a partial solar eclipse tomorrow and Public Planetarium shows tonight (and tomorrow night and Saturday night!). And of course, there’s always the Magic Half Hour!
1. Partial solar eclipse tomorrow morning 2. Public Planetarium shows
1. Partial solar eclipse
There will be a partial solar eclipse visible from Guam tomorrow morning, Friday 10 May. It starts at 8:21 a.m., maximum coverage occurs at 9:16 a.m. and the eclipse is over at 10:29 a.m. Here on Guam, the Moon will cover less than a quarter of the Sun’s surface. There will be a substantial ‘bite’ out of the Sun’s right side, but that’s about it. DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN. Look at the small circles under a tree or use a mirror to reflect the Sun’s image onto a wall.
2. Public Planetarium shows
9, 10 and 11 May 2013
At 6:30 we’ll have “What’s Your Sign?” which tells you all about the Zodiac constellations and the difference between astrology and astronomy.
At 7:00 p.m. we’ll have “The Great Cosmic Race” which tells you about the
8 different ways you’re moving as you read this and explains why you don’t know you’re moving.
The doors open at 6:00 and Planetarium shows are free!
THANK YOU for your show suggestions and all your kind words. I’m featuring the top two vote getters this month (and public shows are NEXT
WEEK!) and we’ll feature the rest of them in June. I think there will be six different shows in June and there’s still space so if you have a favorite show, reply to this e-mail and tell me what it is!
Guam’s May skies this year are absolutely awesome! We have the early evening “Magic Half Hour” for the first two weeks of the month and during the last two weeks we’ll have a marvelous TRIPLE planetary conjunction in the western sky. There’s also a partial solar eclipse next week on Friday
10 May. Expect a couple more e-mails from me this month so I can tell you all about it!
Although it may be too cloudy to see it, there’s a bright pass of the International Space Station tonight and it will pass almost directly overhead. Keep reading for viewing directions. There’s also a meteor shower this weekend. The sky is astounding! Look up tonight, the universe awaits you!
1. Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
2. Bright pass of the ISS
3 Public shows
9, 10 and 11 May
1. Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
There’s a fairly active meteor shower this weekend (4 and 5 May).
Although the fat crescent Moon will be right in the middle of things, you still might see meteors, but you have to get up before dawn to do it.
Struggle out of bed around 5:00 a.m. this weekend and find the Moon in the eastern sky. You’re looking for the leftovers of probably the solar system’s most notorious litterbug: Comet Halley. They’re called the Eta Aquarids and the Moon will be in Aquarius on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Eta Aquarids usually produce about a meteor a minute.
2. Bright pass of the ISS tonight!
There will be a bright pass of the International Space Station tonight, 2 May. It’s a good one; the station’s magnitude will be -3.7 which will make it temporarily the brightest object in the sky. As I’ve said before, the ISS is now big enough that it appears as a moving line and not just a dot.
Although it’s completely overcast as I write this, Guam’s clouds can scatter pretty fast. To see the pass if the clouds let you, get a time hack for your watch or phone and go outside at 7:10 p.m. and face where the Sun disappeared. It won’t be quite dark.
Watch the area to the right of and below Jupiter and Capella and the ISS will appear above the western horizon at 7:13 p.m. It will climb virtually straight up from the horizon and by 7:17 p.m. it will be straight up. It will then plunge downward toward the southeastern horizon and at 7:20 it will be close to the Crux the Southern Cross. I sure do hope the clouds let us see this one!
3. Public Shows
9, 10 and 11 May
6:30 p.m. What’s Your Sign?
7:00 p.m. The Great Cosmic Race
Our show at 6:30 p.m. is the marvelous “What’s Your Sign?” You’ll learn where the Zodiac constellations are in the sky and you’ll also learn the difference between astrology and astronomy. But most important, you’ll learn that your Zodiac sign isn’t the one they’ve always told you it was and why that really doesn’t make any difference at all. Don’t miss “What’s Your Sign?”
The winner of the “What’s Your Favorite Show” contest is our 7:00 p.m.
show “The Great Cosmic Race” and is one of my favorites too. It’s the show that tells you all about the eight different ways you’re moving as you’re reading this e-mail and why you don’t know you’re moving.
Please join us next week for “What’s Your Sign?” and “The Great Cosmic Race”. The petition to save the Planetarium will also be available for you to sign.
Jim is, above all, a passionate eco-humanitarian who has developed his own science talk-radio show to inform The DEEP’s listeners about such newsy topics as global warming, shark-finning and reef protection as well as to explore earth’s many underwater and space mysteries.
sailing 12,000 miles and visiting five countries Jim is back here, ready to explore the depths of the ocean to the deepest frontier, space MORE>>
Lady Pam Eastlick is an expert in both the stars
and seas as a graduate of the University of Guam Marine
Lab and the Director of the UOG Planetarium.