LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Visitors to the University of Louisville’s Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium can stargaze Australian style later this month when the planetarium joins a worldwide International Year of Astronomy celebration.
On Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m., the planetarium will offer a look at the night sky “down under” via live satellite uplink with the University of Southern Queensland. UofL physics professor John Kielkopf will lead discussion at the event, which is free and open to the public.
The program also will include a showing of “Journey to Palomar,” a PBS documentary about American astronomer George Ellery Hale’s quest to build some of the world’s largest telescopes. Hale’s efforts spurred new space exploration and led to the installation of a million-pound telescope on Palomar Mountain in California.
The event is part of the planetarium’s Mission Monday series.
“It’s kind of mind boggling to remember that 400 years ago, Galileo Galilei looked through a homemade telescope to see the stars and planets, and now we can sit in comfortable seats in a huge dome and see the same thing,” said Rachel Connolly, planetarium director.
This year’s International Year of Astronomy celebration has spawned several other special events at Rauch, she said. A Feb. 16 program at 7:30 p.m. will focus on the Hubble Telescope, while UofL experts will host several workshops in March for amateur stargazers who have bought or are interesting in buying telescopes, she said.
The telescope workshops will be held at the planetarium from 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. on March 7, July 11, Aug. 1, Oct. 3, Nov. 7 and Dec. 5.
International Year of Astronomy is a global effort launched by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and International Astronomical Union to share the wonders of the universe with the public. An opening ceremony for the event today in Paris was expected to draw thousands of people from more than 100 countries.
For more details on programs at Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium, call 502-852-6664 or see louisville.edu/planetarium/.