Plutopalooza at the Planetarium

The New Horizons spacecraft, launched in January 2006, will fly by Pluto tomorrow morning, passing within 7,800 miles of the surface of Pluto and traveling in excess of 30,000 miles per hour. The spacecraft’s antenna is scheduled to be pointed back towards Earth, and New Horizons will “phone home” with the signal, expected to arrive at Earth near 8 p.m. CDT.

Stop by the Staerkel Planetarium Tuesday, July 14, any time from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and help us commemorate the big event! All ages welcome! PLUS, we’ll have Pluto-related shows on Friday!

Plutopalooza Open House!
Tuesday, July 14 • 6-8:30 p.m.
The planetarium will project the NASA New Horizons press conference on the dome; the public is invited to attend this free, open-house-format viewing. Static displays in the planetarium lobby will depict Pluto’s size and distance from the Sun. Kids will be able to see if they can “discover” Pluto in the stars, to see how high they could jump on Pluto, and to take home New Horizons stickers, while supplies last. The planetarium will also display the locally-produced musical “Found and Lost: The Story of Pluto” in the lobby.

Friday, July 17 • 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Staerkel Planetarium’s regular Friday night show lineup will have a “Pluto twist” to it. At 7 p.m., “Prairie Skies” will show the audience the summer constellations and where Pluto is located in the sky. At 8 p.m., “New Horizons: Expedition to Pluto” will be shown on the dome. Both programs will display days-old high-resolution images from NASA’s New Horizons fly-by. Tickets will be sold at the door 30 minutes before each show and are $5 for adults and $4 for students, senior citizens, and children under 12. Those who purchase both shows receive the second show at half price!

[New Horizons image courtesy of NASA.]

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