October 5, 2005

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Sementha Mathews Manager of Public Information and Media Relations, Edtwon A. Myree Student Assistant

Lord of the Rings Comes to VSU

Valdosta State University's planetarium will present "Lord of the Rings: The Cassini Spacecraft at Saturn" Friday, October 7, at 8 p.m. Dr. Martha Leake, planetary scientist in the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences will speak on the mysteries of Saturn, its rings and satellites.

The Cassini spacecraft arrived at Saturn in 2004, but has been transmitting data and photos to Earth since its launch over seven years ago. These images and data have provided a wealth of new information about the ringed plant, its moon and the amazing ring system of this gaseous world. Photos also capture the dance of small satellites as they "make waves" in the rings-thousands of small to large icy chunks in orbit around Saturn.

At the conclusion of the "Lord of the Rings," if weather permits, the observatory will be open for public viewing. Guests will have the opportunity to observe Venus, double stars, star clusters, and galaxies through the new 16-inch reflector and a variety of smaller telescopes.

The planetarium is located in room 3004 in Nevins Hall. Guests should enter Nevins Hall at the southeastern entrance and take the stairs or elevator to the third floor. Due to current construction on campus, no parking is available next to Nevins Hall; however, guests are permitted to park in the Christ Episcopal Church parking lot on the opposite side of Patterson Street during this event.

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