March 21, 2016

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Planetarium Presents Juno: Unlocking Jupiter’s Secrets March 25

Image Credit: Artist concept of Juno by NASA/JPL

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State University Planetarium will present Juno: Unlocking Jupiter’s Secrets at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m. on Friday, March 25. The presentation is free of charge and open to the public.

Juno: Unlocking Jupiter’s Secrets will begin with a look at the wonders that adorn the early spring sky, including star clusters, nebulae, and the planet Jupiter, shared Dr. Kenneth S. Rumstay, professor of physics and astronomy at VSU. Afterwards, Dr. Dereth J. Drake, an assistant professor of physics at VSU, will discuss what has been described as “the year’s most exciting planetary mission.”

“Half a billion miles from Earth and 11 times larger, Jupiter is a colossal giant whose remote distance has made it difficult to study, until now,” Rumstay shared. “NASA’s Juno spacecraft is on its way to discover the mysteries of this planet. From determining the origins of its polar auroras to revealing the planet’s deep structure, this spacecraft carries an advanced scientific payload capable of studying the planet.

“In this presentation, we will discover what scientists already know about Jupiter and its formation in the early solar system, learn what big questions still need answers, and see how Juno’s scientific instruments will help us answer these and more questions about the giant of the solar system.”

Seating for each of the three presentations is limited to 47 guests. Free admission tickets will be distributed beginning at 6 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis at the VSU Planetarium and are limited to seven per person.

The VSU Observatory will be open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., weather permitting, allowing guests the opportunity to view the wonders of the heavens.

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.

Planetarium public outreach shows are appropriate for children ages 5 and up.

The 2015-2016 Planetarium season will conclude with The Radio Universe on Friday, April 15.

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

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Did You Know?

Juno launched on Aug. 5, 2011, and is scheduled to arrive at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. It will orbit the planet for 20 months, leaving in February 2018. The goal of this mission is to improve NASA’s understanding of the solar system’s beginnings by revealing the origin and evolution of Jupiter. Specifically, Juno will determine how much water is in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which will help determine which planet formation theory is correct or if new theories are needed; look deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere to measure composition, temperature, cloud motions, and other properties; map Jupiter’s magnetic and gravity fields, revealing the planet’s deep structure; explore and study Jupiter’s magnetosphere near the planet’s poles, especially the auroras, or Jupiter’s northern and southern lights, which will provide new insight into how the planet’s enormous magnetic force field affects its atmosphere.  


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