January 22, 2015

Whitney N. Yarber, Information Specialist II

VSU Planetarium Presents Orion’s Realm Jan. 30

VALDOSTA  — The Valdosta State University Planetarium will present Orion’s Realm, the fourth show of its public outreach season, on Friday, Jan. 30.

“This is the International Year of Light, a global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how optical technologies affect our world,” shared Dr. Kenneth Rumstay, a professor in the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences. “Our program will begin with a brief full-dome video, courtesy of the International Dark-Sky Association. The acclaimed ‘Losing the Dark’ illustrates how light pollution adversely affects our health, our personal security, and our enjoyment of the starry sky. However, simple solutions for mitigating light pollution are offered.

“We then turn our attention to our own sky. In midwinter, our evening sky is dominated by the magnificent constellation Orion. One of the most recognized of all celestial patterns — second perhaps only to the Big Dipper — Orion the hunter has featured in mythology for over two millennia. For the modern astronomer, it is home to a myriad of fascinating objects, including the two most famous of the nebulae. The Great Nebula of Orion, visible to the unaided eye despite its 1,500-light-year distance, is the closest stellar nursery to us. Just three degrees to the north lies the Horsehead Nebula, a dark cloud providing the raw materials for future stellar generations. Famous for its shape, this nebula is one of the most difficult objects to see, even in large telescopes.”

Shows will begin at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m. Admission is free of charge. Seating is limited to 47 guests per show, and tickets will be distributed beginning at 6 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are limited to seven per person. The rooftop observatory will be open after each show, weather permitting.

Located on the third floor of Nevins Hall, the VSU Planetarium underwent extensive renovations during the summer of 2011 and now includes a Digitarium Kappa digital projector, which can reproduce the night sky as seen from anywhere on Earth or from the surface of any object in the solar system, at any time in history, past or future. This technology is the first of its kind in the world.

Limited parking will be available in front of Nevins Hall and across Patterson Street.

Public outreach shows are appropriate for children ages 5 and up.

Contact the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences at (229) 333-5752 for more information.

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Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

Public outreach initiatives such as that offered by the Planetarium help the university meet the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.