Blast from the Past on October 23!

 

Here’s what we’re working on next:

invite

“Invitation to Stargazing”
October 23, 1:00, 2:30, and 4:00 PM

“Invitation to Stargazing” is a planetarium show written and delivered in September of 1975 by Professor (now Professor Emeritus) Laurence Marschall. Earlier this fall Dr. Marschall kindly recorded his original script for us, and we are preparing a modern digital planetarium presentation to accompany his words from the past. You’ll hear about timeless star lore as well as the vistas of solar system science that were just beginning to be opened by the space probes of the 70s.

The Hatter Planetarium is located on the first floor of Masters Hall. The show is free and the public is welcome. First-come, first-seated; the doors close when the show begins.

No Reservations

Many, many thanks to Kristi Waybright, who took reservations for our first few public shows after our renovation. Having watched our attendance numbers, we’ve decided that system is not needed any longer. Therefore, starting with our October 23 shows, we will revert to our first-come, first-seated policy. Doors will open approximately 20 minutes before show time, and we will continue seating until the 40 seats are filled.

Seats Available Sunday

“The Sky this Month”
Oct 2 1:00, 2:30, and 4:00

After close of reservations yesterday, we still have seats available in all three shows. It’s a great time to see the newly renovated planetarium if you have not already!

Visit our immersive, full-dome digital theater for a guided tour of the current night sky and a review of recent astronomy news. This free program is a live presentation given by Hatter Planetarium director, Ian Clarke. First-come, first-served for the non-reserved seats. Doors close when the show begins.

The Sky this Month: October 2

“The Sky this Month”
Sunday, October 2
1:00, 2:30, and 4:00 PM

Visit our immersive, full-dome digital theater for a guided tour of the current night sky and a review of recent astronomy news. This free program is a live presentation given by Hatter Planetarium director, Ian Clarke.

NOTE: seating is limited to 40 in the newly renovated planetarium classroom. You may reserve a seat by emailing kwaybrig@gettysburg.edu in the Physics Department BEFORE 3PM FRIDAY 9/30. Please specify a show time and arrive at least five minutes before show time to claim your reserved seat. The doors close when the show begins.

September 4 Shows are Booked Full!

Wow! We love the interest in the new planetarium. All seats at the opening shows on Sept 4 are now booked. But you can still reserve a seat on Sept 18. See below.

Two Small Pieces of Glass, PLUS The Sky Tonight SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2016, at 1:00, 2:30, and 4:00 PM.

FEATURE: “Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope” a full-dome video show that “follows two students as they . . .learn the history of the telescope” and explore “the wonder and discovery made by astronomers throughout the last 400 years.” BONUS:  our own full-dome mini-show on the current sky. Total time <40 minutes. Shows at 1:00, 2:30, and 4:00.

NOTE: seating is limited to 40 in the newly renovated planetarium classroom. You may reserve a seat by emailing kwaybrig@gettysburg.edu in the Physics Department BEFORE 3PM FRIDAY 9/16. Please specify a show time and arrive at least five minutes before show time to claim your reserved seat. The doors close when the show begins.

Stars are in the Sky

scidome
The new Hatter Planetarium.

After three days of on-site training, we have the keys to our new Spitz SciDome system, and we can’t wait to welcome you!

 

 

 

First Shows Announced – Sept 4

It’s time! The first shows in the the new digital Hatter Planetarium are on the schedule.

The Sky this Month – LIVE, Sunday, Sept. 4, at 1:00, 2:30, and 4:00 PM.

Visit our immersive, full-dome digital theater for a guided tour of the current night sky and a review of recent astronomy news. This free program is a live presentation given by Hatter Planetarium director, Ian Clarke.

NOTE: seating is limited to 40 in the newly renovated planetarium classroom. You may reserve a seat by emailing kwaybrig@gettysburg.edu in the Physics Department BEFORE 3PM FRIDAY 9/2. Please specify a show time and arrive at least five minutes before show time to claim your reserved seat. The doors close when the show begins.

You can see the rest of the schedule as it’s published here.

Why did the seating capacity go down when we renovated? Crucial to going forward with the upgrade was making the planetarium also function as a classroom. That meant the seating needed to be flexible enough for small group work and test-taking. The function of the room as a theater for public outreach remains very much part of our mission, but not at the expense of the academic use. We’ve compensated by adding multiple showings (which are a lot easier with modern equipment!). As time goes on, we will try to match the number of showings to audience sizes we are actually seeing. You can see the type of seat we have below, and we’ll post photos of the completed planetarium next week.

steelcase

Local Perseid Outlook

You may have heard; on the night of August 11-12 the earth plows into the trail of particles left behind along the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle, resulting in the annual Perseid meteor shower.  The stream of comet dust is denser at some parts of the comet’s 130-year orbit than others, and some meteor experts believe this will be a plentiful year, up to twice the average rate. Now for the reality check: The average observer under average skies may well see less than half of the published hourly rate (called ZHR, which means “zenith hourly rate” observed by an excellent observer under perfect conditions). With the normal Perseid ZHR being 100, and this year’s predicted to be around twice that, an average observer in OK skies might see more than one a minute. That’s still a great show! But wait – these meteors are burning up in the upper atmosphere, high above any cloud cover – that means cloudy skies will spoil the show. Current forecast is for a partly to mostly cloudy night, but we are still a couple days away.

Here’s what to do. First, wait until after moonset (1:08 AM local).  You don’t need moonlight washing out the fainter meteors. Find an unobstructed location as far from lights as possible, allow your eyes to dark-adapt, and just stare up. The meteors  can appear anywhere in the sky, though all true shower members will be traveling away from their namesake constellation, Perseus. Don’t expect Hollywood, and you’ll be happier.

Web Changes on the Way

Not only is our facility moving into the modern age, but so it our website. We are moving out of user-land and onto the official college pages. The old web site has been replaced with an “under construction” message. We will post a link to the new site there, and also on this blog, when it’s live. Speaking of the blog, it will be moving to the college’s Sites at Gettysburg account (WordPress). If all goes well, we should be able to import old posts from this blog and leave it intact during the transition. Time will tell . . .

Along with the old site, our request form for school and community groups is also down. Rest assured, we will continue to offer free shows to school and community groups. However, given the time needed to develop curriculum for the new system, I do not anticipate activating the a new form to accept requests until October, and I expect we will be not be doing any field trip shows until November.

Public shows will resume in September! The schedule will be posted in the next few weeks.